Agency Head Voices Opposition To Proposed Weymouth Compressor Station
by Barbara Moran, WBUR
February 7, 2019
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) Executive Director Marc Draisen told WBUR that his agency does not support construction of the compressor station in North Weymouth, citing concerns about climate resilience and public safety.
The surprising comments come about a month after the MAPC released its Health Impact Assessment (HIA) concluding that emissions from the compressor station are "not likely to cause health effects" to the surrounding community.
Despite the findings in the health assessment, Draisen says his agency has “deep reservations about the compressor that don't happen to be related to the air quality issues at the time of normal operations.” Draisen says these concerns fell outside the purview of his agency’s analysis. He is calling for a “complete and independent analysis” of the likelihood of an emergency like a fire or an explosion, and the public safety risks from such an event.
He added that the facility — which is part of a project to expedite the transmission of natural gas through Massachusetts, mostly for export to Canada — would undermine state carbon reduction goals. “It’s honestly hard to see how the siting of this facility would be consistent with the larger energy goals of my agency, and our desire to move strongly away from fossil fuels into renewables,” he says.
Braintree, Weymouth to appeal air permit for compressor
By Ed Baker, Wicked Local Hingham
January 31, 2019
Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan is inviting Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch to join him in filing a regional appeal to the state Department of Environmental Protection for issuing an air quality permit to Spectra Energy Enbridge's proposed compressor station.
"Braintree is drafting language for the appeal and the town's opposition to the permit's issuance," he said. "That is due Friday, and we will be filing."
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New Massachusetts energy efficiency plan to push storage, heat pumps and 'demand response'
By Mary C. Serreze, MassLive
February 4, 2019
Massachusetts utilities have won approval for a "nation-leading" plan to cut electricity and natural gas sales over the next three years.
The 2019-2021 energy efficiency plan, approved by the Department of Public Utilities on Jan. 29, would cut aggregate retail electricity sales by 2.7 percent and cut natural gas sales by 1.25 percent within the three-year period.
The plan provides new tools for Mass Save, the energy efficiency program run by the state's utilities. Homeowners will see incentives to switch from oil and propane furnaces to electric heat pumps. Commercial and industrial energy storage will be encouraged; "strategic electrification" will get a boost; and "demand response" -- where customers save money by curtailing or shifting consumption during periods of heavy power demand -- will gain greater footing.
However, certain proposals that enjoyed prior stakeholder support were left on the cutting room floor by the utility regulators. The Conservation Law Foundation said the program should do more to remove barriers to participation for low- and moderate-income households.
The DPU rejected a program where homeowners would be able to use battery storage systems to dispatch electricity to the grid during periods of peak demand, saying it needed further study. The department also rejected a plan to give utilities an extra $20 for every renter they enroll in the Mass Save program.