A proposal from the administration of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to change the state’s renewable energy standards is being met by opposition from groups and individuals who say it will allow controversial biomass power plants to be built. 

Palmer Renewable Energy

A proposed  wood-burning power plant that was the subject of  packed public hearings, protests, and court fights over the course of nearly a decade is suddenly back on the radar in Springfield, Massachusetts.

  The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has filed final draft regulations to provide renewable energy subsidies for burning wood chips or pellets.


    Heating systems that use woodchips and pellets for fuel could quality for the same types of clean energy financial incentives as solar and wind in Massachusetts under controversial regulations drafted by the Baker administration. 

     A final public hearing on the proposed rules was held today in western Massachusetts.


   Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Tuesday called for the long-delayed construction of a wood-burning power plant to move forward.  Project opponents, who had a chance encounter with the mayor, say they are not giving up. 


Opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts are trying to turn up the pressure on the city’s Public Health Council to hold a hearing on the project. Whatever the local health board decides to do it could trigger a lawsuit.

Palmer Renewable Energy

Opponents and proponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts will square off later today to argue whether the project, which has been green-lighted by courts and state officials, should be subject to more regulatory review.       

The city of Springfield’s Public Health Council will hold a public hearing to listen to arguments on whether the project needs to go through a site assignment process where the local board of health would determine if the plant may result in a nuisance or pose a danger to the public health.


The highest court in Massachusetts has effectively cleared the way for construction of a wood-burning power plant in Springfield. Plant opponents see their last hope in the hands of a local health board.

The state Supreme Judicial Court this month declined to take up an appeal of two lower court decisions that directed the city to issue a building permit for the proposed $150 million biomass plant on Springfield’s eastside.  The project had been tied up in litigation for more than five years.

Palmer Renewable Energy

Opponents of a planned wood-burning power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts are turning to a local board that deals with public health issues in what may be a last ditch attempt to stop the construction of the biomass plant.

Nearly two dozen individuals and organizations have petitioned the Springfield Public Health Council to conduct a public hearing on the siting of  the 35-megawatt power plant that Palmer Renewable Energy wants to build on the city’s east side.

NYS Energy Plan

Renewable energy is taking center stage in New York, as the state forges ahead in its quest to develop and expand solar, wind and hydropower.

The end is near for the last coal-fired power plant in western Massachusetts.

Mount Tom Station in Holyoke, which had generated electricity only sporadically in recent years, is to shut down for good this month.  Alicia Barton, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center said her agency is funding a $100,000 study to look at possible reuses for the plant site.

" This is really going to be a community-led  process. What we hope to do is bring a set of additional expertise and information to that conversation."


The city council in Springfield is pressing ahead with a court fight against a proposed wood-burning power plant.  But first the council had to secure the services of a lawyer who would take the case for free.

Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.

Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to put a "biogenic carbon deferral" into place in 2011 that would postpone regulating the carbon emissions from biogenic sources for three years.

The temporary deferral was set to expire in 2014, when EPA is due to release a decision on the future regulations of biomass energy after the results of a 3-year study on carbon emissions associated with bioenergy sources.

The town council of Greenfield, Massachusetts has voted to approve a 14-month moratorium on industrial biomass power generators and all waste-to-energy projects until September, 2014.

It’s believed that the 14 month moratorium on industrial size biomass burning and all waste to energy projects in Greenfield is the first of its kind in Massachusetts.   Eleven members of the 12-member town council approved the moratorium, with one member abstaining.

The vote came after a petition was submitted to the town council with a large amount of support from town residents.