Woonsocket may sell water to Invenergy to cool its gigawatt power plant in Burrillville. For citizens’ input, the Woonsocket City Council will hold public hearing this Friday, January 6, at the Woonsocket High School.
Of course, water is not the only issue. Woonsocket has five fracked gas power plants within five miles from its center. Air pollution is already a serious problem. Do we have any idea of how much the Invenergy’s will cost the region in terms of health impacts? Health Care Without Harm compiled numbers for Massachusetts. They may not be perfect for Rhode Island, but they give us with an order of magnitude estimate of the expected damage to public health.
Here are the annual results of the analysis for a gigawatt power plant.†
|Impacts||Incidents per year||Social value||Direct medical and other costs|
|Hospital +ER visits||8,000||$100,000||$80,000|
|Work loss days||1,600||$300,000||$250,000|
Several things should be kept in mind. First of all, Invenergy’s Clear River Energy Center, proposed as a base load and not a peaker plant, may not be running at full capacity year round. Secondly, within the next decade or so the plant will become a stranded asset. Indeed, Donald Trump’s “carbon bubble” economy is bound to pop — the only question is how bad it will be.