Residents concerned over First Light’s winter power propose

Natural gas provides more than 40% of the electricity to WMass

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A regional energy provider wants to use Northfield Mountain to help produce power this winter.

Some people expressed environmental concerns about pulling more water from the Connecticut River.

ISO New England supports plans to pump more water from the Connecticut River up into Northfield Mountain to produce more power during the winter.

First Light owns the hydro plant in Northfield Mountain. They want federal approval for the plan.

“But I know that our electric rates are going up 37%, I mean, that’s close to 50% increase and if they can do something to make that come down I’d be happy.”

National Grid has warned of higher electric bills next year because natural gas is more expensive. Natural gas provides more than 40% of the electricity to western Massachusetts.

ISO New England says the Northfield Mountain can come in handy in producing more energy, especially when two area power plants are slated to be closed. The two plants slated to close are the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and the Salem Harbor coal-fired plant.

“But my main concern would be the environment. Does it affect the environment?”

Other people have similar concerns, questioning the ecological effects of pumping more water from the river to produce energy.

One person worries changing River levels could impact fishing, “River levels of the Connecticut River are already fluctuating wildly. It’s really not good for the fish habitat. I try to fish the river and it’s crazy. You go down there one day and it’s low and then the next day it’s very high

Some people told 22News they’d support this plan if it could be demonstrated and that it won’t affect the ecology of the Connecticut River.

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