Letter: We must stop squandering local hydropower sources

Posted
We must stop squandering local hydropower sources

To the editor:

In reference to the Saturday, Oct. 8 oped piece by Ben Hellerstein, the state director of Environment Massachusetts, and Jane Winn, the executive director of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, it is good to see the efforts that Pittsfield and the community are doing to address climate change. The issue is that we are not doing all we can with the resources we have.

A prominent waste of a resource is our unused hydropower. Just about all of our major water bodies and countless smaller ponds were built to their present condition for hydropower. We have industrial scale hydro that for the most part is abandoned. Do you see hydro generators on Pontoosuc, Onota, Goose Pond, Stockbridge Bowl, Cheshire Lake, etc? No, but in the past these and others were used for power.

This is a proven resource. Not only do we abandon and enact obstructionist regulations to suffocate hydropower, sometimes we even spend big money to destroy our hydro resources.

This is the case at the Mill Street dam in Pittsfield. At least a million dollars is planned to be spent to destroy this micro-hydro power dam. Its power capacity is at least equivalent to 450 solar panels yet organizations like the Berkshire Environmental Action Team want this dam destroyed apparently so that folks can then paddle from Wahconah Park to Clapp Park. Alternatives were offered that would allow boat passage and still keep the dam but were apparently rejected.

We have to stop the energy bigotry. We need to develop ALL our renewable energy resources.

And by the way, what is solar and wind doing for our drought condition? Hydro can supply renewable energy, reservoir water, and provide an aquatic sanctuary when the rivers run low.

Ken Egnaczak, Cheshire


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