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March 24, 2009

Decreased Need for Power Puts Billerica Plant on Hold

by at 10:02 am.

In a rather sudden turn of events, we hear that the plans for a Billerica power plant are on hold due to decreased demands for power in the New England area. From Billericapowerplant.com, an opposition group:

In an interesting turn of events last week relating to the Billerica power plant proposal, the plant developer ran an ad in the Lowell Sun proclaiming victory with the EFSB decision to site the plant.  And on the next day, also in the Sun, Joe Fitzpatrick, CEO of DG Clean Power, admitted that the plant would likely be delayed for some time due to decreasing demand for power overall and specifically for plants like this one.  Click here [PDF] to see the ad that ran in the SunClick here to read the article in the Sun.  A second article in the Tewksbury Town Crier quotes ISO-NE’s spokesperson stating that there was far  more capacity than demand in the recent ISO-NE auction.  There is also commentary from the other partner in DG Clean Power, Ed Liston.  Click here to read the Crier article.

Now, obviously the economic downturn has a lot to do with the decreased demand, but so do efforts to conserve, and as the national and state initiatives ramp up to push conservation (and there is a lot of low-hanging fruit) and increase the use of renewables like wind and solar, demand will only decrease further. It was always bunk that “we’ll continue to need more power” in the short run - the line that the plant’s proponents liked to push. “It’ll take time for renewables to reduce the demand for carbon-based power” said they. Well, they are wrong, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that we can easily, if we put our minds to accomplishing it, start reducing demand for CO2-based energy, deliberately and systematically. And will be, because the alternative is to let the planet warm even more than it has and will.

7 Responses to “Decreased Need for Power Puts Billerica Plant on Hold”

  1. Winston Says:

    This is great news, and I hope we’ll see more like it in the years ahead.

    While the economic downturn may have something to do with the declining energy demand, energy efficiency is a key part as well– and perhaps a bigger one. Governor Patrick said that, after the passage of last year’s green communities act, we would meet all of Massachusetts’ additional energy demand with efficiency. To translate that, all of the new energy we need, we’ll get from reducing energy waste in other places.

    So we don’t need new power plants because we’re eliminating waste and using the energy we already have in smarter, more efficient ways. Combine that with the requirement that we go from 3% renewables now to 15% renewables in 2020 and we’re in a position where we don’t need new plants, and renewables are replacing the dirtiest plants that we’re using now.

    Now many of the regulations from the green communities act and the global warming solutions act are being drafted now, so we’re not out of the woods yet and need the public to continue to weigh in with our decision-makers, but we should be on a path to make Massachusetts a leader in building the clean energy economy. Add in millions of economic stimulus dollars for transit, home weatherization and clean energy projects and this year could be the one where we begin to repower Massachusetts with 100% clean renewable energy.

    Keep your fingers crossed– or even better– glued to the phone dialing the numbers of your senators and representatives to get your voice heard.

    Winston Vaughan
    Field Organizer, Environment Massachusetts

  2. Maggie Says:

    I have been wondering for a while now if the former Lowell dump could be used for wind turbines. Or if they could be put along the river . If so, could the energy be used for Lowell. Any thoughts?

  3. Kim Says:

    This is a great example of how energy effeciency is really stopping the building of fossil burning power plants. I am excited to see that clean energy is much more then a promise now.

  4. Shawn Says:

    How dare you think of putting wind turbines on the old Lowell Dump.. that would destroy the pristine view and harm all the birds that fly through that area!!!

  5. Paige Says:

    Let’s all remember that conservations and decreased demand has to reach beyond the economic downturn. We have to work even harder to make good choices so that when things pick up, we don’t put demand right back up where it was. But for right now, the power just isn’t needed.

  6. -b Says:

    I’ve come to learn that those turbines can be very loud. At one time I had though putting a few turbines at the top of Christian Hill might be a good idea, but now that I realize how loud they are I’ve changed my mind.

    The dump might be a better location, but there are still some residential areas that border it.

    It seems like the best place for turbines might be sites like Cape Wind and the one proposed off the South Coast / Buzzard’s Bay area. No residents to worry about there, and lots of wind.

    In any event, I’m happy to hear the news about the power plant. I am really opposed to any new power generation that isn’t renewable or nuclear.

    I also give credit to Deval for his lofty goals. I really don’t think we’ll ever reach the 15% goal, but I give him a big thumbs up for the requirement.

  7. Caroline Says:

    This is simply the Wizard of Oz approach - pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. DG wants everyone to forget about it, while he goes about getting his permits. They have changed the layout of the plant (which significantly affect noise, visual, air, site selection and potentially safety), they still do not have a “buffer”, they have switched to wastewater (yet another recent change) , and they expect the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) to be complete on May 15th. DG is still moving thru there approval process (federal, state/environmental, air plan approval & town boards). They still do not have a complete and accurate site plant, however, He is teeing himself up to secure the investors, build the plant and turn it on as soon as possible. We still are following his moves very closely - at this the only thing that will stop him is delaying each and every move with our experts, at every turn….Don’t believe what you read.

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