Letter: Biomass and Yankee
Vermont Yankee recycled to become a 620-megawatt biomass power plant would be the third-largest on Earth and the third-largest producer of biomass ash and emissions. It also would block the proposed western New England electricity corridor.
How many acres of biomass would be harvested, then delivered daily by how many trucks and trains? Would they also remove the ash for disposal somewhere?
Also burning trash? The Union of Concerned Scientists “does not consider waste-to-energy plants that burn raw municipal waste to be a sustainable form of biomass. Waste-to-energy plants emit high levels of air pollution, including toxic metals, chlorinated compounds and plastics.” Plus toxic ash.
Or natural gas? Crossing northern Massachusetts near potential “anchor tenants” Erving Paper Mills and recycled Vermont Yankee, the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Expansion Project could include a “lateral” also supplying Brattleboro and Putney, where manufacturers already burn natural gas delivered by trucks.
Vermont Yankee should be recycled to burn only natural gas and justify a pipeline serving and spurring the economy of southeast Vermont. Opponents should be asked what they propose instead of prosperity.
Blocking the western New England electricity corridor? Gov. Peter Shumlin has proposed it to deliver Gouvernement du Québec’s Hydro-Québec electricity to southern New England via Vermont (Vermont Public Radio, Sept. 9, 2013).
Already built from Vernon, where VELCO’s switchyard next to Yankee connects it to the New England grid, northward to New Haven, Vermont, it can be extended to Québec via an existing right-of-way.
This switchyard and transmission lines, like all electrical connections, have limited capacity. Closing Yankee, and keeping it closed, frees this capacity so that Hydro-Québec can bypass New Hampshire’s stalled Northern Pass transmission-line project.