Palmer Renewable Energy – Vic Gatto’s comments (Feb. 26) touting the quality of the controversial wood-burning plant he wants to build in East Springfield are full of lies and misinformation. Gatto begins by claiming that trees will create “clean green energy,” but the truth is that clean energy never leaves the pipeline. He wants you to believe that because the tree is licensed, it is not polluting.
Let’s see the truth. Under a 2011 operating permit from MassDEP, Palmer Renewable Energy burns nearly a ton of green wood chips per minute, 24 hours a day, requiring vents more than 20 stories tall to help disperse pollutants. Even with “modern” pollution control, the plant emits more than 200 tons of air pollution every year, including more than 33 tons of environmental pollution, which is now associated with a high risk of death from. Covid19. . These emissions, along with emissions from increased truck traffic and “fugitive” emissions from on-site wood and ash storage, all contribute to the health risks this plant will pose to surrounding communities.
For twelve years, the residents of Springfield and the surrounding community have made the tree’s opposition clear. Springfield residents experience high rates of hospitalization for asthma and heart attacks, poor air quality and poor access to health care, according to data from the state’s Environmental Health Monitor. “The proposed biomass facility in Springfield could endanger the health of an environmentally sensitive community considered the nation’s ‘asthma capital,'” wrote Attorney General Maura Healey. Mount Tom, another place that claims to use “advanced” pollution control – and is tired of being treated like a wasteland.
In addition to downplaying the health risks, Gatto continues to make unproven claims about the climate benefits of his project. Gatto claims that burning solid “waste,” such as tree cuttings, produces less greenhouse gas pollution “compared to letting it rot into methane in the soil.” This is incorrect – and not supported by the DOER Gatto study. Burning 1 ton of green wood immediately releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The same ton, if left to decompose naturally, will slowly release carbon dioxide over 10-25 years, returning the carbon to the soil and forest environment. Methane – a gas that makes the atmosphere warmer – is only produced when there is no oxygen. In fact, the 30-foot pile of 5,000 tons of wood chips that Palmer will be able to store on site under the operating permit is likely to create low-oxygen conditions that produce more methane than chopping wood. and leave them in the forest to rot.
Although the Palmer developers have so far won in court, they need access to federal and state renewable energy subsidies to make their projects financially viable. In it, they found a willing ally in Governor Charlie Baker and his top adviser, DOER Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. At Palmer’s urging, and against opposition from citizens, environmental groups and elected officials across the state, the Baker administration plans to restore Massachusetts’ existing scientific protections to make polluting biofuel plants like Palmer’s eligible for millions of dollars. Every year through government bond rates.
Instead of wasting clean energy incentives on biofuels, the Baker administration should direct these subsidies to green, clean and carbon-free energy production. The public can comment directly at www.notoxicbiomass.org and send a strong message to Governor Baker that the people of Massachusetts do not want to support Palmer’s polluting energy. Springfield residents will be the first and worst affected by this proposal, but we all stand to lose if we allow our clean energy dollars to support fake climate solutions like biofuels.
Note to readers: If you make a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission. A 6-megawatt solar array at the former Palmer Metropolitan Airport is currently operating, providing energy savings to the cities of Leicester and Spencer and Worcester State University.
The project is expected to generate enough electricity for 1,000 homes and offset 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. , you will also pay $2 million in taxes to the city of Palmer over 20 years.
It is the first and largest facility built through a government program that encourages waste disposal and brownfield solar development. The Second Renewable Solar Energy Credit Program is designed to encourage the reuse of refinery equipment under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Palmer Airport has been cleaned up after 75 years of operation since the 1920s and “is a perfect example of what SREC II was designed to accomplish with the goal of placing large solar arrays in suitable locations throughout the Commonwealth,” the developer said. .
The facility, built by Borrego Solar, is financed, owned and operated by Syncarpha Capital. Landowner JenJill LLC of Wilbraham purchased the land and paid for its cleanup and will benefit from a long-term lease on the land.
Massachusetts Renewable Energy, a limited liability company, has ensured site inspections and lease negotiations, permit management, initiated the process of connecting to the national grid, established Worcester State University as a major supplier of energy, and earned recognition from the Department. Solar energy loan resources.
The company has leased 105 acres at the old airport and will use about 22 acres to build solar panels.
“We are proud of what has been accomplished at the Airport and the great things that have come from this project,” said Brian Kopperl, Managing Partner of REM. He said National Grid customers will benefit from grid improvements and substations paid for by the project, and that solar energy sold on National Grid for the next 30 years will help them fulfill their clean energy obligations under the Green Community Act. in 2008.
Palmer also signed a lease with Syncarpha last year to build a 5-megawatt array on the former landfill.
Note to readers: If you make a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission. Rendering of the completed Russell Biomass proposal, above, and the proposed Palmer Renewable Energy Plant in East Springfield. A set of illustrations provided by Russell Biomass and Palmer Renewable Energy
SPRINGFIELD – The cancellation of a biomass project in Russell does not affect plans for a wood-burning plant in East Springfield proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy, according to the developer’s attorney.
But opponents of the proposed $150 million biotech project on Page Boulevard said Wednesday there appears to be no environmental or economic case for the project to move forward. The proposed project has led to lawsuits by the company and opponents.
The comments follow news last week that Russell Biomass LLC has canceled its bid for a $165 million, 50-megawatt power plant in Russell. A company official said in a letter to Russell’s board that the project was “technically and economically unfeasible” because Biomass rules can be changed under the state Department of Energy.
“The new state energy regulations do not affect Palmer Renewable Energy’s business model,” said Frank Fitzgerald, the company’s attorney. “The PRE program does not rely on tax credits that are affected by state regulations.”
Michaelann Bewsee, director of Arise for Social Justice, one of the groups fighting the Springfield plant, said the legal battle is ongoing.
For a company that considers all options, “I hope that one of the options that it considers is to eliminate the biomass plant plan, the negatives are greater than the benefits of our city,” said Bewsee.
Palmer Renewable Energy is proposing a 35-megawatt plant at Page Boulevard and Cadwell Drive that would generate electricity from green wood chips.
Fitzgerald said the renewable energy tax credit was “not critical to the project”. He declined to comment further unless legal proceedings are ongoing.
Susan Reid, who represents the Conservative Legal Foundation, another opposition group, said there was no way the company could operate by Dec. 31, 2013, which she described as the deadline to receive federal tax breaks and incentives.
“I can’t think of any situation where the PRE (program) could be ready,” Reid said. “Bottom line: PRE doesn’t make sense, economically, environmentally, or from a public health perspective.”
The state Department of Environmental Protection has approved an air permit for the Springfield project, saying it meets all regulatory and environmental standards. The company also obtained local planning permission to start work, but these permissions were blocked by the Planning Appeal Board.
Opponents appealed the state air permit, and Palmer Renewable Energy filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the county board’s decision.
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