Susan Donaldson: Hopes S. Hadley joins effort to stop gas plant

Friday, February 18, 2022

Physicians for Social Responsibility is right to try to stop the Peabody peaker plant (“Foes press Peabody gas plant issue,” Jan 29), and to encourage South Hadley to join the resistance. Incidentally, PSR won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in nuclear disarmament, so perhaps we should listen to them.

The proposed plant was first planned years ago, when renewable energy was more expensive. It was also planned without meaningful involvement of local communities, either Peabody — where the location is, of course, near environmental justice communities — or the towns planning to buy its energy.

A small group in Peabody has now found out about the plan, and has raised the alarm. The need for enough energy to cover high-demand needs, which is the rationale for the plant, is not fiction. But energy efficiency, demand response, battery storage, and increased local capacity such as rooftop solar can play a much greater role. And the cost of more carbon emissions, in terms of worsening the climate crisis, is somehow never figured into these calculations.

Susan Donaldson