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Peabody’s Green Community Saga Continues

No action was taken by the City Council at their September meeting and a date has not been set for the Subcommittee on Energy Efficiency and Reliability to meet.

We learned that the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is behind the delay of the audit of city buildings required to achieve Green Community designation.

The MAPC energy auditor reported not having access to all buildings and needs approximately two weeks to finish the building inventory. Then the inventory is handed over to the MAPC to begin the second and final portion of Green Community criterion: drafting a 5-year energy reduction plan for the city’s buildings. MAPC estimates turning out the energy reduction plan “within a few weeks.”

The delay should not affect the late December deadline to achieve designation from the state and $125,000 in “adoption” funding – which, when it happens, will culminate 15 years of consideration and lack of action by the City. The delay could threaten the Green Communities October 20 deadline for submitting competitive grant applications. The city’s ability to meet that deadline hinges on MAPC.

MAPC, which is funded by the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEEA,) has been at the center of the city’s sustainability and energy plans.

In 2021, MAPC organized the city’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap and held one public, virtual meeting in Dec. 2021 to allow input from the Peabody community.…/Peabody%20Net%20Zero%20Roadmap…

Participants were asked to envision the future in 2050 once Peabody has reached net zero emissions and share their thoughts about the most important climate actions that Peabody should take to reduce its emissions. At that meeting in break-out rooms, BCNS comments about the city’s gas and oil generators were discouraged – and we were told that the tons of gasses emitted from the two generators at the Waters River Power Plant were not part of the MAPC calculations because of MAPC protocol: “The emissions from these power plants are dispersed across the region instead of solely being attributed to the community in which the power plant is physically located.”

The problem is, the only area to receive pollution from our dirty peaker plants is Peabody and surrounding communities – yet those emissions are not acknowledged in the MAPC report. Peabody Net Zero Workshop Recording at (BCNS comments begin at 45:28.)

Following the 2021 workshop, “the City published an input survey that mirrored the questions posed at the workshop to allow other stakeholders to provide their input, receiving 9 responses suggesting 50 potential actions for consideration for the roadmap.”

The MAPC met with small groups from Peabody, such as the Peabody Municipal Light Plant, and at the city’s public meeting in March 2023 on Peabody’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, MAPC shared this presentation: Peabody Net Zero @…/Peabody%20Net%20Zero…

At that time. MAPC announced a survey for citizens to comment about the proposed Net Zero Plan. The survey is now closed; no results or further information have been shared. Net Zero 2023 Survey @

Comments about Peabody’s Net Zero Plan submitted by Massachusetts Climate Action Network. (MCAN) – “While we view this draft plan as an important and necessary step forward, there are a number of changes that we believe must be made to ensure that the plan is accurate, effective and meets the moment of the climate crisis. Specifically, we encourage the plan to

1) incorporate all sources of emissions in Peabody, including the Waters River peaking power plants

2) incorporate a more ambitious net zero timeline

3) provide more specifics into how PMLP will engage and participate in the plan

4) use the legally binding method of accounting for clean an non-emitting energy in the utility’s mix.”

Read MCAN’s complete statement at file:///C:/Users/susan/Downloads/MCAN’s%20Comments%20on%20Peabody%20Net%20Zero%20Roadmap%20(1).pdf

Several other communities have created Sustainability Committees to work alongside planners or to spearhead their net zero plan. Why doesn’t Peabody have a Sustainability Committee of officials and citizens and community action groups like BCNS? Where is our green voice? Our climate action voice?

Breathe Clean North Shore is a chapter of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN)

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