Protesters oppose Peabody Peaker plant, fossil fuels, want green energy

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They came to draw a line in the sand. “Not one more fossil fuel power station” was the message. With the site of the new Peabody Peaker factory in the background, protesters “died” on the Danversport Bridge. Causes of death? Asthma, heat stroke, hurricane drowning, combustion explosions and COPD.

“This plant is going to emit carbon equal to driving a car 17 million miles every year,” Swampscott resident Doug Thompson said when he took the microphone to address the group on Tuesday, September 27.

Thompson, who had been a candidate for Essex’s 8th state representative seat, said it was like driving a car around the earth 700 times a year.

About 30 protesters were accompanied by members of the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians, including Kirk Israel, an Arlington resident, playing the sousaphone. In what was a common thread among protesters, Israel said the new power plant is “useless” and goes against the idea of ​​ensuring the world remains habitable.

Carina Campobasso, who is with Winthrop Mothers Out Front, said: “We need to stop any new fossil fuel infrastructure. It’s amazing to me that fossil fuel companies are still building…considering our need to completely ditch fossil fuels to have any chance of saving this planet.

And Pat Gozemba, a longtime Salem resident, said, “I am very saddened by the construction of another fossil fuel plant. If there is to be a future for the world and for our health, there is no future for another fossil fuel power plant.

Ask the government to intervene

Protesters also said municipal lighting departments (MLDs) and local and state officials must act to push for more renewable energy.

Marblehead resident Judith Black said: “People no longer believe that MLDs have their best interests or the best interests of the planet in mind.”

Salem resident Jim Mulloy said, “I’m not happy at all. Nowadays, it is unacceptable that you can set up a peak gas plant. »

Peabody Municipal Light, he said, might choose a cheaper, less polluting option, like battery storage, but they chose the option that made them the most money.

“That is not acceptable these days with the crisis we are facing,” he said.

Monte Pearson of Task Force 350 Mass Clean the Grid said, “New England power plants emit 25% of the carbon dioxide produced annually in New England.

ISO-NE is the regional corporation authorized by the federal government to coordinate the flow of electricity throughout New England. Pearson said the ISO is preventing the state from moving away from fossil fuels and increasing wind and solar power.

“ISO is the leader of the system,” Pearson said, “and sets the tone for the entire power grid.”

Local and state officials, he said, must demand that ISO grant more market share to renewables.

Demonstration: ‘We’re not giving up:’ Protesters and neighbors gather near Peabody Peaker factory site

When Doug Thompson asked why a state-of-the-art production facility that would contribute to the deaths of people near and far was being built, someone in the crowd shouted, “Money.”

Thompson said some would give the excuse that there is a contract in place for the new plant and that there would be costs associated with halting construction.

“That’s no reason to continue with something bad just because you screwed up before,” he said.

A switch to green power, Thompson said, would save enough money to cover those costs.

Peabody: This neighborhood of Peabody was supposed to be protected. A fossil fuel power plant is under construction

Working for lasting impact

Lexington residents Soheil and Christine Zendeh were the event curators. They acted as liaisons with the police working on the protest and they made sure everyone stayed safe.

When asked what they hoped to achieve during the event, Soheil replied, “We try to get people in town to understand that there is interest in this issue.

Christine said, “We don’t need to keep building fossil fuel infrastructure. It’s not necessary. It’s not avant-garde. »

After the speeches and musical performances, and before the die-in, protesters marched from one side of the bridge to the other.

When they “died”, their bodies were chalked out on the sidewalk. This, said Judith Black, would ensure that their message would endure long after the protest was over.

What is a Spike Plant?

Peaks are power plants that only operate when there is a high demand for power, such as on a hot summer day when lots of air conditioners are in use. Peabody’s state-of-the-art plant is expected to operate approximately 239 hours per year, when ISO-New England calls for it to be activated.

The Peabody Peaker is a 55 megawatt gas and oil fired power plant that was first proposed in 2015 by the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company, using a site at the Peabody Municipal Power Plant. It was approved by the state last August.

The Peabody Peaker will cost $85 million to build and is expected to be fully operational by June 2023.