Put Peakers in the Past – Berkshire Campaign


Peaker Plants in the Berkshires 

There are three peaking power plants in Berkshire County, MA: Woodland Road in Lee, and Doreen and Pittsfield Generating in Pittsfield. Woodland Road and Doreen are both over 50 years old and run on kerosene, a highly polluting fuel.

PGplant-PPPPittsfield Generating is over 30 years old and is powered by “natural” gas. These polluting facilities, which sit idly by most of the time (all three plants run less than 5% of the time), cost ratepayers tens of millions of dollars and pollute our community.  Yet, in 2018, they collectively emitted over 36,000 lbs of nitrogen oxides, a hazardous gas that poses several significant health risks. They also contributed significantly to the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. Pittsfield Generating, for example, accounted for over 15% of the city of Pittsfield’s total stationary emissions, despite only running for a few days out of the year.

Pittsfield Generating and Doreen are also very close to Environmental Justice neighborhoods, as can be seen in the map below. There is a life expectancy discrepancy in Pittsfield of 12 years between these EJ neighborhoods and the more affluent outlying parts of the city.

» Meet the Peakers – details on Berkshire County’s Peaking Plants

» View our Green Drinks Presentation – January 19, 2021 on YouTube

Alternatives to Peakers 

There are cleaner, cheaper alternatives to these plants that don’t pollute our air or cost nearly as much. The first alternative is happening already: demand response, or peak shaving. During times of peak demand, customers, especially those that use a lot of electricity, can save a substantial amount of money by reducing their electricity demand for a few hours.
» Learn more about Demand Response and Peak Shaving

In addition, solar plus storage can be used to produce and store clean electricity for use during these peak times. In Pittsfield, there are already solar fields built on brownfields that could have storage added to them, and right next to the Doreen and Woodland Road, there is acreage where solar plus storage could be built. 

All these alternatives replace dirty, air-polluting power plants with clean energy that would cost electric ratepayers less to operate.

Putting Peakers in the Past Coalition

We are building an opposition coalition, including area organizations and neighborhood goups. Pittsfield Generating has an air permit that expires in October of 2021. Our goal is to create opposition to the renewal of that permit before the owners of Pittsfield Generating applies for it.

We believe that once people in the community understand the impacts of these power plants, we can take action together to shut them down! That may take the form of pressing for alternatives like switching them to grid storage and solar or pressuring to  shut them down altogether if demand response proves that they’re not needed.

PPPlogoWant to join in? Let’s build this movement together

Sign on to the Coalition Statement!

– Sign the petition — tinyurl.com/PeakerPetition
– Join our list-serv — groups.google.com/g/berkshirepeakers
– Sign up for Shave the Peak app — greenenergyconsumers.org/shavethepeak

(Short link for this page: tinyurl.com/PutPeakersInThePast )