My Turn: New Hampshire still needs Bow power plant
Regarding Ian Blackman’s call to close down Merrimack and Schiller Stations (“First, shut down coal plants,” Monitor Forum, Oct. 31): Ah, how quickly we/some forget.
It was only three months ago, during a July heat wave that every possible power generation source in New England was running, in order to meet consumer demand.
Not only was Merrimack Station in Bow providing power to New Hampshire customers, but two 20-megawatt generators at the Bow facility that are powered by expensive jet fuel were also called on to meet the near-record demand.
The fact is that Merrimack Station is absolutely needed to maintain reliable electrical service. It provides tremendous benefit to New Hampshire and does so efficiently. The installation of the state-mandated scrubber has reduced mercury and sulfur emissions by more than 90 percent. It is one of the cleanest coal power plants in the entire country. And the reality is that New Hampshire coal plants are no longer the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, in 2012 more than 85 percent of all power plant CO2 emissions in New England were from natural gas fired plants.
Meantime, our region’s power grid operator says that New England’s dependence on natural gas has created “serious, immediate risks to grid reliability.”
Blackman’s view is shortsighted. One cannot simply wish away critical, necessary infrastructure simply because it is not used as frequently as it once was.
As we consider the shape of our energy future, New Hampshire has chosen a wise path, providing consumers with competitive options as well as a safety net of regulated generation sources as protection against price volatility and energy shortages. Despite the risks and uncertainty of today’s market, consumers can be assured PSNH will always be there, providing reliable service, at a reasonable, state-approved price.
Let’s not lose sight of that.
(Martin Murray is a spokesman for Public Service of New Hampshire.)