Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cape Wind unveils plan for diesel backup

Diesel plant proposed for Chelsea
Critics see hypocrisy by Cape Wind firm

By Beth Daley, Boston Globe, July 3, 2006

The company fighting to build a landmark clean wind power project off Cape Cod is raising eyebrows among friends and foes alike with its latest energy idea: a diesel-burning power plant in Chelsea across the street from the city's elementary school complex that will emit soot and other pollutants.

Energy Management Inc., which is headed by Cape Cod wind developer Jim Gordon, has proposed a 240-megawatt power plant that would operate only on hot summer days and other times of peak energy demand to prevent blackouts across New England. At the company's request, the group that runs the region's power system has begun a study of the idea. ...

Chelsea has one of the worst air pollution problems in New England, in large part because of diesel exhaust from trucks rumbling through city streets and on nearby highways. Any diesel plant, no matter how clean the technology, will spew additional pollution into the air that can contribute to childhood asthma rates that are already among the state's highest, said [Roseann Bongiovanni, vice president of the Chelsea City Council].

[Dennis Duffy, vice president of regulatory affairs,] said Energy Management originally wanted a 346-megawatt plant on the 6-acre plot on the Chelsea River, but has scaled back the plant to 240 megawatts, enough to provide electricity for about 240,000 homes when running. The plant would consist of two generators -- essentially giant jet engines -- that can start up quickly and inject power into the grid within 10 minutes. Diesel made the most sense, Duffy said, because fuel can be delivered on tankers that use Chelsea's industrial port. Duffy declined to say how often the plant would run, but city officials said the company wants permission to operate it 2,000 hours annually ...

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism