To the editor:

I agree with Tristan Brown’s concerns about the proposed $170 million gas fired power plant for Peabody (”Citizens kept in the dark about proposed Peabody power plant,” April 15). I was interested to learn that this has been in the works since 2016. I would opine that a lot has changed since then. The argument in favor of the plant is that it will only be used during peak ours of energy demand and is needed partly because of the unreliability of constant production from wind and solar. That unreliability problem will be largely solved by offshore wind.

Since 2016 we have seen the birth of offshore wind as the new source of green energy coming to New England. The first mega offshore wind project, Vineyard Wind, has been given the green light and will be supplying enough energy to power 400,000 homes by 2023. Right on its heels is Mayflower wind, a slightly larger project. There are plans for an even more massive project off the coast of New Jersey to be in service by 2024. The owners of Salem’s gas-powered plant are looking to sell 40 acres to be used as a staging area for offshore wind projects north of Boston. The beauty of offshore wind turbines is the fact that they are very consistent generators not subject to the variability of onshore wind and solar projects.

Another factor that has changed drastically since 2016 is the development of industrial-size battery farms manufactured by among others our own G.E. Perhaps a battery farm for peak power production would be a solution instead of a fossil-fuel-burning gas plant. The battery farm would charge during off-peak hours when power is cheap, thus lowering the costs to consumers.

I wonder if the proposal for a gas plant is simply running on the gathered momentum of its planning in the face of new developments that make it a losing scheme. I hope the administration in Peabody will put the brakes on this project for further review.

Peter Willwerth




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