Power Plant Info 7 09 08pdf


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Power Plant Info 7 09 08pdf

  1. 1. POWER PLANT INFO We acknowledge, but do not generally accept the po- April 2008 - Power Plant Forum sition of DG CLEAN POWER LLC that the Energy Billerica Town Hall Center will not greatly compromise the quality of air. We are greatly concerned with the impact of any re- Residents from Billerica, Chelmsford, Lowell sulting increase in the discharge of “fine particulate and several other communities took the matter” and other pollutants into the air during the operation of the Energy Center. podium to voice concerns and questions on the gas-fired power plant being proposed by While the projected concentrations are below the DG Clean Power. current standards, even a limited examination of recent asthma related studies and documentation re- veals a marked increase in asthma and asthma re- Nora Fiore of Billerica brought her son lated deaths over the last decade or more. Nicholas to the microphone and asked the en- vironmental engineers if they could tell them This is generally attributed to the increased dis- charge of fine particulate matter into the environ- that their asthma wasn’t going to get worse if ment. Dr. Ernest Wu, one of the members of our the plant was built. board is a pediatrician and has personal knowledge Dr. Jack Spengler(Environmental Health and of this increase in asthma among children over the Engineering) told her he could not say it last ten to fifteen years. wouldn’t. Increased fine particle matter has also, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, been demon- strated to make lakes an streams acidic, deplete nu- Rui Vieira, a Billerica resident, also has a child trients in soil, and generally and adversely affect the with asthma, and asked with the potential to in- diversity of ecosystems. Examining the immediate crease the carbon dioxide in the air, would it geographical areas surrounding the proposed result in more trips to the emergency room. Energy Center, the possibility of such contamination “With the air quality we have now, you tell me cannot be ignored. we’re putting in a plant that will double the pol- Peter Dulchinos lution?” asked Vierra. “You say the effects are Chairman -Chelmsford Board of Health minimal. We need a risk assessment.” 3/31/08 Foremost, I find that this power plant would have significant negative environmental impacts to our community. No one can dispute that the technology still does not exist to make power plants environmentally friendly and safe. That being said, it is my understanding that the power generated by this particular power plant will not even benefit this region. In fact, it has been suggested that the power generated by this facility would be directed to another state. If this is the case, why would we in this region bear the risks associated with this plant without receiving any of the benefits of the production? Let it be built in the region in which it is going to be supplying its power. It is completely unreasonable to ask our community to bear the risk of proximity to this facility without an assurance that they will benefit directly and substantially from the plant’s production. There have also been questions raised concerning the amount of harmful emissions from the plant’s smokestacks. With the plan being the being operational 2300 hours per year with an allowance for 200 hours of operation on diesel fuel, this raises serious questions as to the impact on our air quality. Many in the community are afflicted with ailments that are exacerbated by any decrease in air quality, and area residents deserve independent valida- tion that they will not be adversely affected if this plant is ultimately operating in its proposed location. Philip M. Eliopoulos Chelmsford Board of Selectmen February 13, 2008
  2. 2. N E W S U P DAT E S F R O M B I L L E R I C A P OW E R P L A N T. O R G Please share with your friends, family, and neighbors. www.BillericaPowerPlant.org July 6 2008 The Massachusetts legislature continued its trend of voting against amendments intended to protect con- stituents from the effects of fossil fuel burning facilities. An amendment from Senator Timilty of Walpole, which was similar to Representative Miceli’s amendment for our area, was voted down. This legislative session is now over. Efforts will begin again when the session re-opens. Send Senate President Therese Murray an e-mail ( Therese.Murray@state.ma.us ) expressing your thoughts on the legis- lature’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of the residents of the Commonwealth, consistent with the vision that the Governor and his administration have laid out. The Air Quality and Health Evaluation prepared by EH&E (Environmental Health and Engineering), the firm hired by Billerica to assess the health and safety impacts of the proposed plant, reveals many concerns with the proposal. An article in the Billerica Minuteman highlights some of these concerns. Hearings at the EFSB(Energy Facilities Siting Board) have been re-opened; the first session begins on Wednesday, July 9th at 10:00AM at One South Station, Boston. These hearings are open to the public. Interestingly, Montgomery Energy, the financial entity behind the proposed plant, has engaged the services of Scott Harshbarger, former MA Attorney General, for representation at the EFSB. This a curious move for Mr. Harshbarger given his chairmanship of the pro bono practice at Proskauer Rose and his previous record of public defense. ******************************** ******************************** http://www.lowellsun.com/local/ci_9815780 Developer seeks variance for Billerica power plant By Jennifer Myers, jmyers@lowellsun.com Article Last Updated: 07/08/2008 BILLERICA -- The Board of Health is taking its time in reviewing plans for the proposed Billerica Energy Center, a 348-megawatt natural gas-fired peaking power plant proposed for North Billerica. The proponent, DG Clean Power LLC, has filed its notice of intent, with the Board of Health, Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board, to begin the local permitting phase of the project.
  3. 3. The developers are requesting a variance from the Board of Health for work to be done within the flood plain. Health Director Rich Berube said the board is awaiting a report from their consulting engineer, Mike Schrader from Woodward & Curran before proceeding. quot;There are a lot of issues here,quot; Berube said. quot;We are going to proceed very carefully to make sure we are covering all of the bases. There is a lot of material to go through and we don't want to rush anything.quot; Berube added that he is not sure of the timeline, but that when a hearing on the project is scheduled it will be the only item on the board's agenda and it will be held in the Town Hall auditorium. The Conservation Commission is expected to discuss the notice of intent on July 16, and a preliminary meeting with the Planning Board is scheduled for July 28. ************************************ L etter to the Editor Power plant should not be built in Billerica The Lowell Sun Article Last Updated: 07/03/2008 In response to Mr. Perron's letter to the editor, I'd like to clarify some of his statements. I've lived in Billerica for over 40 years and am one-third of a mile from this proposed power plant. The fact is, we've paid competitive prices for our homes, and they were not less expensive because of the area. We've been here long before this power-plant proposal and considered commercial property in this area, but not in the realm of heavy industrial such as a power plant. What opportunities and future does a polluting power plant bring to Billerica? Who would want to move here in this unhealthy environment? There will be no employment from this project, as it is to be unmanned. The future is to conserve, use green energy and not pollute. Has Mr. Perron looked into the fact that ISO (Independent System Operators) of New England has stated we have enough power through 2008 and beyond? Does he realize there are 12,000 MW of power waiting to be put on the grid from Quebec Hydro? This type of energy is clean; no pollutants, no emissions, no harmful toxins going into the atmosphere. There is no carbon diox - ide being emitted; but Dr. Spengler, a consultant hired by DG Clean Power, states the CO2 emis - sions will double if this power plant is permitted. Mr. Perron also states quot;our children will need this power.quot; Our children don't need this power, but they do need a healthy neighborhood and community to live and play in. Is it worth the risk to them, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems in Billerica and the Merrimack Valley area? My neighbor has pulmonary fibrosis, and breathing in CO2 is a death sentence for her. Has Mr. Perron had documentation we will really be getting $1.5 million in tax revenue? Those are numbers tossed around by DG Clean Power to quot;tweakquot; our town officials into believing it will happen.
  4. 4. DG Clean Power is requesting 2,300 hours of operation per year that quot;generatesquot; more than electricity ... a financial profit in the vicinity of $80 million a year! The fact is that Billerica is in a Stage II mandatory water ban. Why is it even being considered to allow DG Clean Power 40 million gallons per year of our town allotment of water to use for this project? Without that amount being used, the town will exceed our permit use by 2011. I don't know where Mr. Perron looked for his facts, because recent articles in The Sun (March 26-27) stated a positive opinion. That's all it is -- opinions, not facts! And yes, the Billerica Mall does need upgrading, but nothing as massive as a Home Depot in the center of our quot;Yankee Doodlequot; town. DONALD J. GADBOIS Billerica ******************************** ******************************** I N T OW N N E W S : Aggregate plan still concerns residents By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Tue Jul 01, 2008 CHELMSFORD - The Board of Selectmen continued its public hearing on Aggregate Industries’ request to in- crease its fuel storage capacity at its Littleton Road site and heard again from residents who are determined to stop the plan. “We are custodians of the town,” said Littleton Road resident Tom Fall. “Are we going to leave a town that’s great for making asphalt or a town for raising families?” As they have done at the previous sessions, residents urged the selectmen to consider what impact the plant’s changes could have on the health of its neighbors. Although they cannot prove a link between the smoke that emits from the plant’s chimneys
  5. 5. and the number of people with cancer who live in the mobile home park across the street, residents believe expanded fuel capacity means more production and more pollutants in the air. Officials from Aggregate stressed they would agree to a volunteer production cap and limit its capacity to what is currently allowed. Any changes to production output would require Aggregate to return to the selectmen for approval. Board of Selectmen Chairman Phil Eliopoulos told the packed meeting room board mem- bers will be meeting with officials from the Department of Environmental Protection to review the documents Aggregate has provided in its application. “Our goal is to use the application on the tanks to make things better,” said Eliopoulos. Even if the plant adheres to DEP standards, residents who live closest to the facility say they are tired of the odors which come from the plant, truck traffic along Littleton Road and the ever-present black soot that seems to rain down on their cars and homes each night. “A couple of weeks ago the smell was so bad I had to get in my car and get out of where I live,” said Littleton Road resident Brian McKenney. “These people are entitled to make a buck, but I don’t want to live like that.” Eliopoulos said if the board agrees to the changes, it would make sure Aggregate does a few things to appease its neighbors. He said the company should set up a telephone hotline so residents who have concerns can lodge complaints with the facility. And, although not enforceable, the board would ask a sign be placed at the plant directing trucks to take a right onto Littleton Road to get to Interstate 495 through Westford. The board could also require the company to add a masking agent to its product to elimi- nate the odors, said Eliopoulos. Some residents didn’t believe cosmetic changes addressed their issues. “We’ll be smelling roses but are we still going to get cancer? Is it still going to leave black (soot) on our windows?” asked Littleton Road resident John Wojcik. “I want something safe in the air.” The board continued the public hearing on the plan until July 21. Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at chelmsford@cnc.com
  6. 6. FlashBack From March 2008 EDITORIAL Energy Security and the Billerica Power Plant By Fred Marcks Much attention has been given to energy security and terrorism, especially recently in light of the proposed Billerica Power Plant. Unfortunately, many people misinterpret legitimate security assessments as examples of exaggerated threats popularized by the politics of the post-September 11 United States. I write this article in the hopes of bringing the conversation back to a productive level with objective descriptions, facts and simple common sense. First, it is important to note that terrorists aren't the only ones who can terrorize. Threats against the energy sector are diverse and include energy company employ- ees, disenchanted residents and environmental fanatics. Energy security experts agree that four fundamental justifications motivate threats against energy infrastruc- ture. First, to cause damage to an important element of our economy; Second, dis- gruntled employees or disenchanted citizens seek retaliation or quot;to settle a scorequot; over a specific demand, issue or general or personal grievance; Third, a desire to cause a company or government to seem incapable of protecting resources and citi- zens; and Fourth, a fundamental desire to spread panic by exploiting infrastructure vulnerabilities that impact daily life. People, however, are not the only ones that create tragedy, as was demonstrated by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. Katrina wreaked havoc on gas/oil refineries and pipelines with costly spillover effects in the regional and national economy. Lastly, a future characterized by energy volatility, re- source shortages and conflict virtually guarantees consistent threats to our energy infrastructure. One of the most significant and relevant security threats is the vulnerability of energy companies' information technology systems. I have elected not to describe in detail the name or operational capacity of this system for security reasons, but consistent industry evidence indicates continued vulnerability. For example, in June 2001, the US National Petroleum Council produced a report, quot;Securing Oil and Natural Gas Infra- structure in the New Economy,quot; that concluded that the biggest threat to the energy industry was posed by telecommunications and an over-dependence on information
  7. 7. technology. Particularly concerning is the ease by which vendors and others outside of energy companies have access to these systems. The report concluded: quot;Cyber- terrorism could shut down the oil industry, as well as many other business sectors, and that can put you out of business. These are vulnerabilities that the industry needs to address.quot; How is this relevant to the Billerica Power Plant? Like other company managers, pro- ponents of the Billerica plant have opted for cost-effective “virtual staffing” via online monitoring. It is the vast use of remotely operated systems that makes these entities so vulnerable, because these systems control flow of fuels, emissions, turbines, chemical storage and pipelines. The energy industry has avoided changes to remote systems as they have helped companies achieved greater efficiencies and higher profits by having off-site computer monitoring instead of technical staff on location. To make matters worse, it is not uncommon for these operating systems to be linked into financial systems, fuel suppliers and transportation vendors. This online linkage may generate cost savings for the company; however, it also makes these systems the weakest link in the cyber-chain. Energy companies have long detected attempts by hackers to break into their operations through these systems. Just because no major disaster has occurred does not mean that they cannot or will not happen. In 2001, police in the Midwest stopped six men who were exploring energy facility lo- cations and had in their possession photographs and details of a major pipeline system. In an actual incident that same year, a gunshot caused more than 6,800 bar- rels of crude oil to spill from a major pipeline into the surrounding environment. As a result, the system was shut-down for three and a half days, causing widespread dis- tribution interruptions and increases in the cost of oil. The FBI has issued several warnings about attacks on natural gas pipelines and gas facilities. Confirming that people with sinister goals are actively targeting the energy industry's computer systems, the New York Times reported: quot;computers that control the electric power system around the nation have been probed from the Middle East, and terror- ists may have inspected the physical equipment.quot; The Times noted that while nuclear power plants are perhaps the most attractive targets, power plants and pipelines were not far behind. The reality is that federal officials continue to urge energy companies that generate, transmit and distribute electricity to take steps to increase security. In light of these concerns, managers of energy power plants need to conduct detailed risk assessments to identify and prioritize potential vulnerabilities. According to the proponents of the Billerica Power Plant, no risks exist and they have informed resi- dents and officials that no negative results could occur in case of an accident, act of sabotage or act of vandalism. Having a high-handed attitude towards the safety and well-being of residents and the environment is wrong. Marketing and public-relations efforts have no place in responsible security management discussions. Risk assess- ments identify potential risks, establish risk boundaries, evaluate ramifications and create prevention plans. None of this has been done to satisfy the many security and
  8. 8. environmental concerns raised by opponents of the Billerica project. Instead, propo- nents of the facility committed to “briefing public-safety personnel about our plans,” which include a worst-case scenario that identifies “no risks.” Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 7 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 identified seventeen critical infrastructure and key resource sectors that require protective actions for a terrorist attack or other hazards. Those sectors included: energy; public health; water; information technology; industrial facilities with chemi- cals and pipeline systems. The Billerica Power Plant represents each of these sectors. What is important to question is why the project was proposed the way it was. The ve- racity to the claim that “we need more power” is questionable. Massachusetts has a stable (or declining) population and has witnessed significant improvements in con- servation. The Merrimack Valley was witnessed 0.04% population growth since 2000. The only organizations lobbying for more growth is the energy industry and the energy management company that has a financial interest in increasing production. Despite the fact that more environmentally friendly technology exists to meet the demand of increased energy consumption, the proposed Billerica “peaking plant” fa- cility is among the least efficient and most polluting options available. Because peak- ing plants are run at inconsistent times, developers do not build them to make them as efficient as a base load power plant. In addition, more efficient equipment and fuels cannot be used in peaking plants because fluctuating conditions can strain the equipment. Peaking power plants are typically twice as polluting as base load plants that run constantly and owners of peaking plants often request permission to run the facilities far in excess of their original permit, generating increased and unanticipated emissions. Nitrogen Oxide emissions can be substantial from peaking plants; other pollutants emitted include carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic com- pounds and sulfur dioxide. While some residents are satisfied that the facility will generate electricity by burning natural gas instead of coal, the fact remains that creating electricity by burning fossil- fuels is the wrong direction for Massachusetts. Because natural gas is increasingly used, it has become more expensive and additional imports have been sought. Natu- ral gas imports into the US are expected to grow by at least 8.2% a year over the coming decade. This highly volatile fuel source virtually guarantees that electricity costs will increase exponentially, adding further burdens to already struggling resi- dents saddled with rising costs of living. From a security standpoint, in an era of in- creased terrorism, creating more opportunities for terrorists to strike our vulnerable energy infrastructure, especially when they are located near residential neighbor- hoods is a mistake we cannot afford. As we enter an era of limited resources and energy volatility, the archaic and flawed North East Grid, the system that provides our electricity, is in dire need of modernization and technology that will help it function more safely, more effectively and with less impact from traditional energy volatility. The energy industry has already demonstrated that they will continue to build what is most profitable to them. It is up to a robust political process and informed voters to
  9. 9. ensure that sustainable facilities such as Grid Energy Storage options are mandated. These opportunities are significantly more environmentally-friendly and are far safer than traditional fossil-fuel plants. These facilities store excess energy during the ma- jority of operation and, during times of peak demand, release electricity into the system. Grid Energy Storage facilities can also use photovoltaic cells to further maxi- mize efficiency and create “free” electricity. For those who remain skeptics this approach or who doubt security risks, a disaster scenario was developed for Massachusetts by James Fay, of the Massachusetts Insti- tute of Technology. A former chairman of the Massachusetts Port Authority and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Professor Fay remains concerned about energy security. His model predicts large areas of Rhode Island and Massachu- setts being devastated by an attack on or accident at a natural gas facility. Specifi- cally, Professor Fay described the vulnerabilities of the transport and storage terminal in Everett, where supplies for the Billerica Plant originate. Even if the facility in Billerica is not targeted specifically, electricity rates would skyrocket if any sub- stantial event occurred at a natural gas facility in the Eastern United States. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, recognizing the potential for economic and physical devastation, stopped natural gas transport and storage in Boston Harbor citing safety concerns. quot;Everyone should be concerned about it because the Coast Guard, Boston fire department and other agencies do not have the equipment if something did happen with…natural gas. Everyone says there is no problems, but what happens when something does happen?quot; Menino was quoted as saying at the time of his deci- sion. Joining Menino were representatives of many Boston-area communities who unsuccessfully attempted to stop natural gas operations in the area after September 11, 2001. Professor Fay of MIT agrees. quot;Federal officials are in a state of denial right now. One must question our own emergency response capabilities if the Mayor of Boston feels that his city is ill-equipped to handle the problem. Hopefully, this report will provide residents with the beginnings of a complete under- standing of this issue, leaving out the biased and money-fueled public relations agenda of the Billerica Power Plant proponents. It is important to remember that they are in business to promote and construct these plants. They seek only to establish and expand their bottom-line. They can use negative labels and tired innuendo to crit- icize public input and to deflect questions, but the fact remains that their mandate is not to protect you, but to prioritize profits. As a public policy consultant, I am con- cerned with effectively protecting the hugely important energy sector from the threat of terrorism and, as tragically demonstrated by Hurricane Katrina, natural hazards such as hurricanes. Further, I aim to provide public policy solutions that respect and preserve our envi- ronment and quality of life so that you, as voters, feel empowered to facilitate progress in our political system. Teddy Roosevelt argued that protecting our environ- mental resources was our greatest challenge and that it underlies all other public challenges facing America. In order to preserve our quality of life and the well-being
  10. 10. of future generations, we must enact and support sustainability policies that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Considering these facts, I cannot support the Billerica Power Plant because I believe that it is ill-conceived and unsafe. In response, I encourage all resi- dents and town and state officials to work together to ensure that safer, more environ- mentally-friendly programs be our first priority.