2015A Project

2015A

The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) helps PMLP to provide safe, reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost by bringing efficiency, economy, and renewable energy to the business of municipal utilities. Of the 40 municipal utilities in Massachusetts, 20 are Members of MMWEC and 30 are MMWEC Project Participants.

The 2015A project is a 55-megawatt turbine that will be used as a capacity resource.

This turbine is going to be used as a capacity resource for PMLP and other electric companies. PMLP will own approximately 32% of the project and receive 32% of the capacity benefit from the project. The remaining 68% of the project will be owned by other municipal light plants throughout Massachusetts. The project is being managed by MMWEC (Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company). The purpose of this resource is to provide CAPACITY and to be used in times of high demand (e.g., hot summer days and cold winter nights). Capacity gives us the ability to generate ENERGY when needed, however it is only necessary for high demand situations. Energy is the actual amount of electricity that is used by customers. As the consumption of energy increases, the need for capacity also increases.

Why in Peabody?

PMLP has experience in operating and maintaining generating units since our very first steam generator was installed in 1891. Because of this, we have the facilities, infrastructure and personnel to safely and efficiently assist in the Project’s operation and lower the overall cost of the Project. PMLP’s history of generator ownership is a significant reason of why we are able to offer some of the lowest electric rates in the state. In addition, the North Shore is an import-constrained zone which makes it especially valuable to ISO- New England and improves reliability in the region.

Why do we have turbines and what do we do with them?

  • Reliability- Allows us to effectively provide power to customers in times of high demand.
  • Low Rates- The energy market is volatile and fluctuates based on demand. Having our own capacity stabilizes a low cost for our customers.
  • ISO New England Compliance- ISO New England mandates PMLP to generate energy during periods of high energy demand (e.g., hot summer days, and cold winter nights).
  • Frequency of Use- This turbine is estimated to run less than 240 hours a year, which is only 2.7% of the year. It will NOT be constantly running.

Our emissions are less than the Massachusetts average.

Emission Comparison

PMLP continues to take steps towards lowering emissions whenever possible as part of the NetZero Carbon Emissions 2050 Roadmap.

In an effort to continue moving towards cleaner energy, customers can receive incentives and rebates for switching over to more environmental-friendly products. Learn information about our Net Metering Program and how PMLP supports customers switching to Solar Energy to power their homes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Background Questions

WHY IS IT CALLED THE 2015A PROJECT?

MMWEC’s contractual requirements for energy facility projects is to name them initially as a “Special Project” according to the year in which it was first proposed/established and in the order proposed. A Special Project is the preliminary, development and exploratory phase of an energy facility. During 2015 and through 2016, under the name “Special Project 2015A,” MMWEC undertook the necessary work to have sufficient information, contractual arrangements, and commitments to make the Special Project a “Project”. A Special Project becomes a “Project” once Power Sales Agreements (PSA) are signed for the total capacity of the proposed energy facility.

PSAs were signed by the 14 participating MLPs in 2017. Consequently, as of January 2017, “Special Project 2015A” became “Project 2015A.” In accordance with MMWEC’s enabling act, the PSAs bind the MLPs to the costs and expenses associated with a Project whether it is completed, operates or is terminated.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

More information can be found here: 2015A Project

WHAT IS MMWEC?

MMWEC is a body politic and corporate and a political subdivision of the Commonwealth created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1975 to serve the consumer-owned, MLPs of Massachusetts. MMWEC is a voluntary membership organization whose Members are Massachusetts cities and towns having MLPs. Of the 40 MLPs in Massachusetts, 20 are Members of MMWEC. MMWEC provides services to all 40. Through membership in MMWEC, in addition to providing other Member services, Member systems are able to leverage their combined buying power to negotiate cost effective energy facility projects, helping to control costs in providing a reliable supply of power for all of our customers.

WHY THIS PROJECT?

It is important to understand that Project 2015A provides capacity – the ability to generate energy/electricity. By law, all distribution companies, including PMLP, are required to secure capacity to meet their peak demand, plus a reserve margin, typically an additional 40%. This is done managed through the ISO -New England, the entity in charge of reliability a for the New England region. All distribution companies are required to participate in the ISO -New England electricity markets, one of which is the capacity market. Prices in the ISO -New England capacity market are volatile. Project 2015A locks in a price for capacity, protecting participating MLPs against this price volatility. Having this capacity reliability resource helps the MLDPs stabilize rates and plan for the future. In addition, because they cannot be reliably dispatched at peak times, this project serves as a “balancing resource” for the increasing amount of intermittent renewable sources of energy, (such as solar and wind), on the grid, supporting reliability in the area.


Project Questions

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR PEABODY?

The Project will help to maintain electric reliability in the area, lower carbon and other emissions by displacing older and less-efficient generators, and help us to contain future power costs, helping to keep our rates low, while simultaneously allowing PMLP to add more renewable sources energyto our portfolio which can be valuable sources of energy, but not necessarily capacity.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE PROJECT WERE TO BE CANCELLED?

Project participants have spent approximately $10M on developing the project to date. Due to contractual obligations, the participants would be responsible for another $21M in cancellation fees should the project be cancelled. As with any contractually negotiated terms, there is a potential that these fees can be adjusted but no guarantee. PMLP and our customers would be responsible for 32% of any cancellation fees.


Environmental Questions

WHAT FUEL WILL BE USED TO POWER THIS PROJECT?

The primary fuel source for the project will be natural gas, with ultra-low sulfur diesel used during the winter only when natural gas is unavailable. Because it does not emit CO2, using green hydrogen as a fuel source as the technology develops, is actively being pursued by MWMEC and the Project’s turbine manufacturer.

HOW OFTEN WILL THE TURBINE RUN?

As a capacity resource, the Project is compensated (and through MMWEC the 14 participating MLPs are compensated) for its ability to “stand by” and be available during times of ISO- New England system stress when available generation is not able to satisfy electric demand. It is estimated that the Project will actually generate electricity for 239 hours per year or 2.73% of the time. There is a MA Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) permitted maximum annual operating limit of 1,250 hours per year, although it is not anticipated that the unit’s run hours will approach this maximum limit.

WILL THE PROJECT AFFECT AIR QUALITY?

The project will utilize best available control technology (including urea and a Selective Catalytic Reduction system to minimize NOx emissions) and will be amongst the cleanest and most modern projects of its type. Pre-commercial operation air modeling has been conducted in strict accordance with all MA DEP regulations. Actual emissions will be monitored following commercial operation to ensure regulatory compliance. Additionally, the MA DEP has determined that Project 2015A is a Non-Major Source since the maximum potential emissions from the Project are well below the thresholds that would categorize the Project as a Major Source. When the capacity from the project is available, PMLP will begin the process of retiring our oldest generator (installed in 1971) which will have a net effect of improved air quality as explained in the Statement from PMLP Regarding Waters River Unit 1.


The Project’s SCR for controlling smog-producing NOx emissions and its ultra-high efficiency and heat rate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions result in a significant reduction in air emissions within the City of Peabody. A comparison of the emissions characteristics of the existing PMLP unit (Unit 1) that is being replaced and the new MMWEC unit associated with the project is as follows:

NOx emissions on a per mwh basis will be 92.9% lower.

Greenhouse Gas on a per mwh basis will be 29.7% lower.

Emission Exisiting PMLP Unit* New MMWEC Unit**
Average NOx 6.6 lb/mwh 0.47 lb/mwh
Greenhouse Gas (USLD***) 1582 lb/mwh 1112 lb/mwh

*1971 P&W FT4

**2022 Mitsubishi FT4000

***Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel

DOESN’T THE PROJECT CONFLICT WITH THE STATE’S DECARBONIZATION ROADMAP OF NET-ZERO BY 2050?

No. The State’s 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap requires that electric utilities achieve 50% carbon-free energy by 2030, 75% by 2040, and 100% by 2050. For years PMLP, utilizing MMWEC’s leverage, has been adding carbon-free energy resources into our portfolio and our energy supply is currently 42% carbon free. While we are committed to meeting the State requirements at minimum, we strive to achieve our targets as soon as possible as opportunities become available to do so in a cost-effective manner for our customers.

IS PMLP GOING TO MEET ITS RENEWABLE TARGETS?

Yes. The State’s 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap requires that electric utilities achieve 50% carbon-free energy by 2030, 75% by 2040, and 100% by 2050. For years PMLP, utilizing MMWEC’s leverage, has been adding carbon-free energy resources into our portfolio and our energy supply is currently 42% carbon free. While we are committed to meeting the State requirements at minimum, we strive to achieve our targets as soon as possible as opportunities become available to do so in a cost-effective manner for our customers.

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