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Madera Biomass Project in Greenfield

STATUS: In progress with opposition

TYPE: Biomass

OPPOSITION: Local residents

PROSPECTS: Indeterminate

BACKGROUND: Madera has proposed building a wood-burning plant in Greenfield. The $250 million project would burn 60 tons of wood chips per hour that would be converted into useful fuel.  Madera has received three special permits from the Greenfield Zoning Board of Appeals but still needs state and local permits to proceed.

Supporters of the project point out that high electricity costs in the state coupled with the growing demand make this project a great asset for Massachusetts. Opponents of the project say that the plant will diminish the forest area, pollute the air, and will be a burden to residential neighbors because of truck traffic and noise.

As of September 2010, Opponents of the project had gone to court to overturn the town's special permit for the biomass project. The group of people from Greenfield and surrounding towns, calling itself Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, asked Superior Court for a summary judgment.  The citizens group says Pioneer Renewable Energy Inc. cannot fulfill all of the conditions of the permit, because developer Matthew Wolfe has switched to a dry cooling system. He originally planned to use treated sewage to cool the plant, but that option was rejected by voters in a referendum. Madera Energy's Zoning Board of Appeals permit was granted conditional on water-cooling. As of November 8, 2010, the Court had not made a decision.

SOURCES: The Republican: http://www.masslive.com/springfield/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-22/1247557904180810.xml&coll=1;
Energy Business Review: http://www.energy-business-review.com/news/madera_energy_receives_three_special_permits_to_build_biomass_power_plant_in_massachusetts_090629
Springfield News: http://www.cbs3springfield.com/news/local/Biomass-Face-Hurdles-in-Springfield-Greenfield-106934863.html
Recorder: http://www.recorder.com/story.cfm?id_no=8006822;
Greenfield Optimist: http://www.greenfieldoptimist.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=475&Itemid=2

Last updated November 17, 2010