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City council revokes Massachusetts biomass plant permit

By Anna Austin | May 24, 2011

The Springfield (Mass.) City Council has revoked the permit it granted Palmer Renewable Energy to build a 35-megawatt biomass power plant, in a 2-9 vote on Monday.

The zoning permit was granted by the city council in 2008. Since then, the company has spent millions of dollars moving forward with the project, achieving all but one of the permits necessary to construct the plant—its final air quality permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Revocation of the permit follows the release of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) qualifications, which have held up several biomass power projects in the state and placed tougher requirements and limitations on biomass power.  Despite the unfavorable biomass changes in the RPS policy, Palmer was planning on complying with the new rules to move forward.

The $150 million facility would bring about 200 construction jobs to the city, and was scheduled for completion in July of 2013. It would consume about 1,200 tons of wood chips per day, though the original fuel for the plant was to be construction and demolition debris. One argument being posed by opponents of the plant is that the city had the right to revoke the permit because of the change of fuel, as well as the number of trucks that would be needed to haul fuel to the plant (six additional daily deliveries).

However, the fuel switch was made over six months ago, as the company filed a notice of project change with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in October of last year.

While a Palmer Renewable Energy official could not be immediately reached for comment, a local newspaper reported that the city councilors said that they expected a lawsuit, as the company has said in the past it would take legal action if the permit was revoked.

 

 

 

7 Responses

  1. Jayde

    2011-06-05

    1

    It's spooky how celver some ppl are. Thanks!

  2. jyqmyoiecrc

    2011-06-06

    2

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  3. Bill Silva

    2011-06-15

    3

    to get a sense of the immense hypocrisy of the critics of biomass, just read: http://www.farmfieldforest.org/2011/05/environmental-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing.html

  4. Dave G

    2011-05-27

    4

    Predictable outome for an unlikely coalition of panel producers, coal power executives, and windmill farmers. Of course the Govenor bears ultimate responsibility for having unleashed the academics of Manomet onto this subject in the first place. Great way to make sure that ROCs stay alive.

  5. Jesse Sewell

    2011-05-26

    5

    Unbelievable. Is it any wonder we cannot get US Companies to invest in jobs, manufacturing and industrial development here in the US? At least in Russia all you have to do is pay the Big Boss and he keeps all the gutter-trash, small-time crooks from nickel and dime-ing you one at a time. Here in the US you have to deal with every moron who knows how to file a legal brief.

  6. bill

    2011-05-27

    6

    If you look to the local "power" companies you will find the culprit. The power co's do not care for bio=mass etc. because they may have to 'buy' the output!!!

  7. Joe M

    2011-05-27

    7

    One more example why biomass renewable energy is in trouble in the US. While we export wood pellets to Europe to burn for power and heat, we cannot build small biomass power & cogen plants in the US due to maddening uncertainties dealing with our big and wonderful government and regulatory agencies. We're in trouble as a country unless something changes soon.

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