SESD to Build $5 million power plant

As reported in the Salem News:

The organization that operates the sewerage system for five North Shore communities is planning to spend $4 million to $5 million on a new power plant.

The plant, called a combined heat and power plant, is designed to save money through improved energy efficiency, said Alan Taubert, executive director of the South Essex Sewerage District.

“In the long haul, this thing’s going to pay for itself very quickly,” Taubert said.

The South Essex Sewerage District treats about 30 million gallons of wastewater per day at its treatment plant on Fort Avenue in Salem. The five member communities pay an annual assessment for the service depending on usage, ranging from $2 million by Marblehead to $9 million by Peabody.

Those communities will also pay for the new power plant based on the same proportions. Beverly’s engineering director, Mike Collins, told the City Council that Beverly’s share will be more than $1 million. Read more.

 

EPA Releases New Regulations on Carbon Emissions

In its effort to promote the new EPA regulations on carbon emissions, the White House has a new infographic. The public comment period is open, and anyone can submit comments here.

epa carbon infographic

 

Price Tag on Carbon

The New York Times provides an in-depth look at how systems carbon pricing systems are working in California, New England, and Europe.

KEWAUNEE, Wis. — Bryan T. Pagel, a dairy farmer, watched as a glistening slurry of cow manure disappeared down a culvert. If recycling the waste on his family’s farm would help to save the world, he was happy to go along.

Out back, machinery was breaking down the manure and capturing a byproduct called methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A huge Caterpillar engine roared as it burned the methane to generate electricity, keeping it out of the atmosphere.

The $3.2 million system also reduces odors at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, one of the largest in Wisconsin, but it would not have been built without a surprising source of funds: a California initiative that is investing in carefully chosen projects, even ones far beyond its borders, to reduce emissions as part of the battle against climate change.

“When they came out here and told us they were willing to send us checks, we were thrilled,” Mr. Pagel said.

California’s program is the latest incarnation of an increasingly popular — and much debated — mechanism that has emerged as one of the primary weapons against global warming. From China to Norway, Kazakhstan to the Northeastern United States, governments are requiring industries to buy permits allowing them to emit set levels of greenhouse gases. Under these plans, the allowable levels of pollution are steadily reduced and the cost of permits rises, creating an economic incentive for companies to cut emissions. Read more.

 

National Climate Report: Regional Impacts

This graphic tells the story of climate change as we are experiencing it today. Not in the future!

nca_regions

CREDIT: 2014 National Climate Assessment

 

Climate Change in Northeast: Floods, Heatwaves , and more …

Reporting on the latest governmental report on climate change, the Boston Globe reports:

The Northeast is bearing the brunt of climate change in the nation, assaulted by heat waves, torrential rains, and flooding that are the result of human action, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

Over the past century, temperatures in Northeastern states have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit, and if heat-trapping gases increase at current rates, warming could spike as much as 10 degrees by the 2080s, prolonging bouts of extreme heat, taxing electrical systems, and disrupting ecosystems.

 In the same time, the region’s precipitation has risen by more than 10 percentand the worst storms here have brought significantly more rain and snow — a surge of more than 70 percent over the past 50 years and significantly more than other parts of the country.

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MA House Passes Gas Leaks Bill

In a unanimous vote, the House passed a bill to require utility companies to stop leaks from their gas lines. As reported in the Boston Globe (2/13/2014),

Boston’s gas pipelines are riddled with thousands of small leaks — often the cause of the occasional rotten-egg-like whiff of mercaptan-laced gas that passerbys smell. Federal and state legislators have called for fixes, citing both safety concerns and the amount of money lost from leaking gas that never gets to consumers.

State Representative Lori Ehrlich, the Marblehead Democrat who filed the bill, said she was delighted at this step toward addressing the problem.

“The law has permitted gas companies to merely monitor more than 20,000 gas leaks throughout the Commonwealth,” Ehrlich said in a statement. “These unrepaired methane leaks waste almost $40 million of a natural resource annually, and often lead to deadly explosions.’’

SAFE has been a strong proponent of fixing the gas links, particularly in light of the proposal to build a new gas-generation power plant in Salem.

CLF and Footprint Close to Agreement

The Salem News (2/12/14) reports that Conservation Law Foundation and Footprint Power are close to announcing a settlement in CLF’s lawsuit challenging Footprint’s effort to site a new gas plant in Salem.

In a joint motion filed yesterday with a state board, the New Jersey power plant developer and the Massachusetts environmental organization said they “believe that they may be able to reach a settlement” in the contentious case that has been fought at public hearings, before state boards, in court filings and at private meetings.

If a settlement is not reached, arguments in the case will begin March 4 before the Massachusetts Supreme Judical Court. Read more.