The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

August 23, 2013

Power plant defender makes a sun salutation

SALEM, Mass. — From his house on the banks of the North River, state Rep. John Keenan can see the sun rise over the stacks of Salem Harbor Station, a coal- and oil-burning power plant once considered to be among the state's worst for pollution.

Keenan, the co-chairman of a legislative committee on energy and utilities, has been a defender of the facility that is the city's top taxpayer and is due to close next year.

Against that backdrop came an interesting development last week on the roof of Keenan's house - solar panels.

Keenan, a 48-year-old Democrat, said the installation of the panels is not a political stunt. It was instead a choice made by his family that reflects his belief in a mix of energy sources.

Keenan said solar panels also make financial sense. With tax credits, rebates, utility savings and something the state calls “solar renewable energy credits,” the Keenans will pay off their nearly $32,000 solar system in five to six years.

The Keenans' 25 panels will produce more energy than they consume, which means they may not pay an electric bill ever again, either.

They are not alone in their enthusiasm. Massachusetts has experienced a virtual explosion of interest in solar energy over the past few years. There are an estimated 10,000 solar installations in the state, most residential, with the majority coming in the past few years.

When the state's Green Communities Act passed in 2007, only 3 megawatts of the state’s energy was produced by solar power. Today the total exceeds 300 megawatts.

That may be minuscule by power standards — Salem Harbor Station, for example, had a capacity of 745 megawatts — but it's enough to power about 300,000 homes.

Solar panels aren’t for everyone. They are best suited for south-facing houses with little shade. While their prices have dropped, the initial investment is not insignificant, and not everyone qualifies for credits and rebates.

But more families are putting up panels. If nothing else, it gets the neighbors peering over fences.

“That’s part of what we’re trying to do,” Keenan said, “is start the discussion.”

Tom Dalton is a reporter for The Salem, Mass., News.

1
Text Only
National News
  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 25, 2014

  • Illinois woman, 47, dies rescuing boy in Wisc. lake ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an Illinois woman who drowned while rescuing a 9-year-old boy in a Wisconsin lake.The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports 47-year-old Karen Wessel of Arlington Heights d

    July 25, 2014

  • Taiwan plane crash photo Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, “There

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 24, 2014

  • U.S. economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier WASHINGTON (AP) — Out of a seemingly hollow recovery from the Great Recession, a more durable if still slow-growing U.S. economy has emerged.That conclusion, one held by a growing number of economists, might surprise many people. After all, in the fi

    July 24, 2014

  • FAA lifts ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.The decision was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT

    July 24, 2014

  • Memorial honoring injured vets underway WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Lt. Dawn Halfaker was on patrol 10 years ago in Baqubah, Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade tore through her military vehicle and exploded inside.When she woke up from a coma, the West Point graduate found out her right arm

    July 24, 2014

  • Arizona high court delays planned execution

    Arizona's highest court on Wednesday temporarily halted the execution of a condemned inmate so it could consider a last-minute appeal.

    July 23, 2014

  • Obama declares Washington wildfire emergency

    Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighters make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state's history under control.

    July 23, 2014

AP Video
Facebook