Monday, August 3, 2009

Natural Gas Plant for the East Coast

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2009/07/31/natural_gas_plant_gets_initial_approval/

A state board yesterday approved plans to build a natural gas plant in Brockton, but left local officials with the power to veto the plant’s construction by choosing whether to grant the zoning exemptions needed to build the 350-megawatt facility.
The state Energy Facilities Siting Board, a division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, did not grant the exemptions because it “concluded that the proposed project’s environmental and energy supply benefits do not outweigh expected local impacts,’’ according to a statement.

The $350 million plant, which would be fueled with natural gas and ultra-low sulfur diesel, has been under fire from some residents concerned about health and safety.

If approved by Brockton officials, the plant’s developer would still need to take several steps required by the state, including drawing up a plan to conserve water resources and limiting weekend construction hours.

The plant is expected to generate 25 permanent jobs and 300 construction jobs over two years.

Seth Kaplan, an environmental advocate with the nonprofit Conservation Law Foundation, said the state’s decision emphasizes the Commonwealth’s commitment to promoting renewable energy. “They said, ‘Listen, if you’re going to build a fossil fuel power plant, this is the best kind you can build,’ ’’ Kaplan explained, “ ‘but we’re not going to give it the extra oomph that we would give something that is renewable or zero-carbon.’ ’’

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