Debate Brewing Over Proposed Peabody Gas Powerplant

PEABODY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A proposed gas-powered powerplant on the North Shore is sparking debate over the future of fossil fuels in the state.

The 55-megawatt plant would be built in Peabody as part of the Peabody Municipal Light Plant. The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) is seeking a $170 million loan from the state to pay for the project.

MMWEC said the new powerplant would help curb carbon gas emissions in part because the design of the project is newer and more efficient than other energy powerplants it will compete with in the Massachusetts market. The company said the plant would be used in times of peak load, mostly in the summer.

But the activist group Mass Climate Action Network wants to stop the company from building the gas-fired plant entirely, because it says the plant solidifies state commitments to using fossil fuel energy.

"In a global pandemic and a climate crisis, we can no longer accept new fossil fuel infrastructure that will poison our air, pollute our water, and harm our communities," Mass Climate Action said.

Mass Climate Action suggested building a renewable 60-megawatt solar powerplant instead of the proposed gas plant.

WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports:

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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