Climate activists targeting New Hampshire’s coal power for global climate strike

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TARGETED FOR PROTEST: Merrimack Station, also known as the Bow Power Plant, is New Hampshire’s largest coal fired power plant.

Climate activists were successful in shutting down 600 megawatts of carbon-free low-price nuclear power with Vermont Yankee several years ago, and now they are targeting 482 megawatts of New Hampshire coal power.

A coalition of activist groups including Extinction Rebellion Vermont and 350 New Hampshire plans to disrupt he Merrimack Station, a coal plant owned and operated by Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSCNH), a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities.

The plant consists of two coal-fired steam units and two kerosene-fueled combustion turbine units, which combine to produce almost a half gigawatt of power.

The event is part of the larger international Global Climate Strike, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 20-27 at locations all across the United States and overseas. The planned protest events seek to pressure governments to take immediate action against climate change.

MASS ACTION SEPT. 28! Join climate groups around the Northeast in Bow, NH, in a mass mobilization against dirty coal! The next organizing call is this Thursday. See https://www.nocoalnogas.org/ for details!

Posted by Extinction Rebellion Vermont on Monday, September 9, 2019

A video at nocoalnogas.org has numerous young activists talking about the actions they will take at this protest.

“Our elected leaders have failed to act, shutting down this coal plant is a matter of life and death,” says one of the participants. ” … If officials don’t shut this plant down we will take matters into our own hands,” says another.

According to PSCNH, the Merrimack Generation Station plays a critical role in local power infrastructure, especially when it comes to handling peak-demands during the hot summer months. “The two coal-fired units serve intermediate loads and the two combustion turbine units mainly serve peaking roles, operating during periods of highest seasonal peak demand and when generation is needed quickly to maintain electrical system stability on the grid,” an online description of the plant states.

The plant plays an important role in maintaining grid generation diversity, especially during critical winter months when natural gas becomes constrained in ISO New England. It uses the latest technologies, such as scrubbers, to mitigate dangerous emissions and capture over 90 percent of its mercury emissions.

Last year, Merrimack Station was sold by Eversource Energy to a newly created group of investors called Granite Shore Power.

According to ISO New England, which runs the regional grid, the current trend is to shut down aging coal plants.

“New England’s power system is undergoing a transition from a grid powered by large conventional power plants to a hybrid grid with large power plants, more renewable resources, and very small resources located on the distribution system, at customers’ homes and businesses,” Marcia Blomberg, senior media relations specialist for ISO New England, told True North by email.

“Part of this transition includes retirements of older power plants. In the last 10 years, about 13,000 megawatts of generation has retired, most of it oil-fired and coal-fired power plants. This is due largely to economics — the price of natural gas has been so low that power from natural-gas-fired generators is used most often to meet consumer demand, while the oil-fired and coal-fired generators run less frequently,” she said.

The power, according to Blomberg, covers peak demand during summer and winter, usually when the region’s natural-gas pipeline network is over-burdened and natural gas prices are too high.

“Because they are often less cost-effective and therefore rarely run, the region has seen dramatic declines in air emissions from New England’s power plants, but the region’s energy security is more tenuous as we become more reliant on resources using just-in-time fuel, such as natural gas, wind, or solar,” she said.

According to a report at EnergyNews.com, the plant is struggling to compete with natural gas.

The activists are against natural gas as well, as information from 350NH details the group’s goals to shut down any new gas pipelines for New England.

Coal plants are a primary target of climate activists because coal emits the most carbon of any electricity source. However, it remains the source of more than one-fourth of the nation’s total electricity.

While there are no new coal power plants showing up in the U.S., the use of coal power is on the rise elsewhere, according to a report at PowerMag.com.

The Public Service Company of New Hampshire did not return True North’s requests for comment on this story.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Public domain

3 thoughts on “Climate activists targeting New Hampshire’s coal power for global climate strike

  1. Climate activists were NOT successful shutting down Vermont Yankee, which produced 4.6 BILLION kWh/y of low cost, steady electricity, that has almost NO, ZERO, NADA CO2.

    The stupidity of shutting down VY was far beyond rational.

    It was MARKET FORCES that shut down Vermont Yankee

    ABUNDANT, LOW PRICE, LOW-CO2, DOMESTIC GAS which generates STEADY electricity at LOW cost, about 5 c/kWh, is what shut VY.

    Forestland and Meadowland “Making Room” for Expensive Wind and Solar Electricity:

    Without cost shifting and without subsidies, the electricity prices to utilities of NE wind and NE solar would be about 18.8 c/kWh and 23.5 c/kWh, respectively.

    With cost shifting and with subsidies, the prices are about 9.0 c/kWh and 11.8 c/kWh, respectively.

    That variable, intermittent electricity could not even exist on the grid without the other generators (mostly gas turbines) performing the peaking, filling-in and balancing, 24/7/365.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

    Each year, about 25% of Vermont’s annual harvest, 625,000 ton, is removed as carbon, plus many tons of other minerals essential for biomass growth are removed. Whereas the carbon is replenished by CO2 absorption, that is not the case with the other nutrients. Annual removal of nutrients leads to depletion, malnutrition, and sickly, bug-infested, misshapen, short-lived trees. No wonder, more than 50 to 60 percent of Vermont’s forests are “low-grade”.

    The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for a 35% increase of heat to buildings from biomass, which includes wood chips and wood pellets. It is obvious that increase should not be taken from the 2,200,000 acres.

    If ancient, less than 25%-efficient, McNeal and Ryegate wood burning power plants were closed (the energy equivalent of 3 of 4 trees is wasted), there would be adequate wood for CEP goals.

  2. These idiots are so ignorant it would be a joke if the issues weren’t quite so serious. All they do is shout STOP, STOP without one sensible answer to their demands. Solar and wind provide a meniscual piece of the solution. Vermont Yankee emitted 0 emissions, that had to go. Clean burning natural gas is a no,no. Hydro, great, but we can’t have those unsitely transmission line dotting the land scape. If transmission line are unattractive, I suggest these morons take a long look at those “beautiful” solar farms contaminating the pristine land scape. Come on people, GET REAL!!!!

  3. These nut cases need to spend the next 8 months with power only when the sun shines and the wind blows. — They they might start to figure out the reality of what they demand. — I could formally explain how electric comes to them, but I suspect they are too stupid to understand.

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