BARNSTABLE — Critics on Thursday expressed concern that the Cape Cod Commission’s revised regional plan doesn’t go far enough to reduce the effects of climate change on the region in the years ahead.
Last fall, as the commission was putting the final touches on the latest update of its regional planning policies guiding development and environmental protection, an international climate change panel warned that the next dozen years would determine whether the world avoided a worst-case scenario in terms of global warming.
Kristy Senatori, the commission’s executive director, said the news from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change helped shape the rewrite of the regional policy plan, which is required at least every five years.
The updated plan proposed a number of local climate change initiatives such as developing a baseline of the Cape’s greenhouse gas emissions to measure the effectiveness of reduction strategies, finding locations for new electric vehicle charging stations and utility-scale solar arrays and energy storage, and encouraging towns to seek state Green Communities designation. (read more)
PLYMOUTH — Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which weathered four-plus decades of nor’easters, protests and lawsuits, in the end could not withstand energy market forces and the costs of operating an aging plant.
The state’s only nuclear plant, which provided about 17 percent of the electrical power to Massachusetts, will shut down permanently Friday.
Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner-operator, announced plans to shutter the 680 MW reactor in October 2015, one month after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission categorized it as one of the worst-run plants in the country.
The plant climbed back into Category 1 — requiring the least federal oversight — in March after undergoing thousands of hours of inspections and addressing hundreds of items on a checklist of violations.
But it still limped to the finish line, never returning to full power after shutting down May 17 because of problems with a pump that delivers water to the cooling system — the latest in a long series of manual shutdowns in the last five years. (read more)
Charlton residents voice concern over proposed liquid natural gas plant on Route 169 (Worcester Telegram 5/30/19)
CHARLTON – The plan to develop a $100 million liquid natural gas plant along the “energy corridor” on Route 169 met resistance from residents at a state public hearing Wednesday.
Liberty Energy Trust, operating under Northeast Energy Center LLC, seeks to construct an LNG plant on 12 acres at 304 Southbridge Rd, near Millennium Power on Route 169.
The company seeks state Energy Facilities Siting Board approval to develop the plant that will liquify, store and load natural gas into trucks. The company also seeks exemptions from Charlton zoning bylaws.
One Siting Board requirement is that the applicant must demonstrate the project is reasonably necessary for the convenience and welfare of the public.
About 100 people attended the Siting Board’s second public hearing in town, at Charlton Middle School on Wednesday.
Matthew H. Taylor, partner NEC, said additional engineering and assessments after the first public hearing in November led to a preferred location change from Route 20 to Route 169, where the company has a purchase agreement with the owner, Incom Inc.
Tuesday night, the Town Council voted to approve an electrical aggregation program called the Watertown Electricity Choice program. In September 2017, the council voted to develop a municipal electricity aggregation program. Town Energy Manager Ed Lewis presented the program the town developed at last night’s meeting.
What is electricity aggregation?
There are three ways to purchase electricity.A utility company, in Watertown’s case Eversource, can purchase electricity on your behalf. This is also known as basic service and is the most common option.
City officials released the official Envision Cambridge citywide plans earlier this month after three years of community meetings and planning.
The 214 page document will act as a roadmap officials can follow to get to the year 2030, according to a PDF of Envision Cambridge posted on the Community Development Department’s website. The plan outlines the city’s core values including livability, diversity and equity, economic opportunity, sustainability and resilience, community health and wellbeing, and learning, and recommend 55 strategies and 183 new, expanded or modified actions “to achieve the community’s vision across six domains of action: Climate [and] Environment, Community Wellbeing, Economy, Housing, Mobility, and Urban Form.”
Among the many goals are achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, ensuring all Cambridge residents are protected from environmental impacts and benefit equally from environmental resources, ending race-based disparities and achieving racial equity, ensure local businesses of different types, sizes, and growth stages are able to start, grow, and remain in Cambridge, and eliminate racial, gender, and other disparities in economic opportunity.
WESTON - Selectmen voted unanimously last week to spend up to $30,000 for Bob Ackley of Gas Safety Inc. to further study natural gas leaks in town.
Ackley said the purpose of the study is to “show we can save trees, reduce greenhouse gas and make a safe community where people aren’t worried about gas.”
In February, selectmen approved spending $3,500 for an initial audit by Ackley. Using a Cavity Ringdown Spectrometer, he found far more leaks than National Grid had reported.
“It’s quite alarming in some ways to know we possibly have 334 unrepaired gas leaks in our town,” said Liz Steel, a member of Sustainable Weston Action Group (SWAG).
Pigeon Hill Road was found to have many leaks, and one massive gas leak at Winter and Bogle streets has migrated more than 5,000 square feet and damaged trees.
“This one leak location had six affected trees and three stumps,” said Ackley. “So any gas leak that’s migrating into the roots of a tree should be repaired right away.”
Steel said residents in that area who were interviewed said the gas smell is “just horrendous.” (read more)
AMHERST — Two dozen people urged energy officials Thursday to stick with rules they believe made Massachusetts an environmental leader early this decade, after controversy over proposed biomass plants led to a groundbreaking study on the impact of burning wood to generate electricity.
Changing rules now, they told a hearing called by the state Department of Energy Resources, would accelerate the climate crisis, reward dirty energy generators and advance a proposed biomass plant that would threaten public health in Western Massachusetts.
"I did not think we'd be back here," said Mary S. Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity in Pelham, who testified against the new rules in the second of four planned hearings.
The DOER is taking comment on draft regulations that would change the circumstances under which biomass would be eligible for subsidies under what's known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The move followed a state law change last year that said use of renewable fuels covered by the standard must increase 2 percent annually from 2020 to 2029, instead of by 1 percent. (read more)
The Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS) is requesting State Ethics Commission Executive Director David Wilson to investigate the recent departure of Secretary of Energy and Environment Matthew Beaton.
Beaton recently accepted employment as senior vice-president of renewable energy and emerging technology with TRC Environmental, a Woburn-based firm that has done work for Spectra Energy Enbridge and its subsidiary, Algonquin Gas Transmission.
Spectra Enbridge and Algonquin are seeking to construct a 7,700 horsepower compressor station in the Fore River Basin.
FRRACS leader Alice Arena stated she is concerned about a potential violation of the state’s conflict of interest laws by Beaton when he accepted employment with TRC Environmental, which is overseeing the cleanup of contaminants at the proposed compressor station site. (read more)
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