Veolia Completes Final “Green Steam” Milestone (Veolia Press Release)


BOSTON, October 20, 2016 – The recent infrastructure improvements at Kendall Cogeneration Station eliminate thermal pollution to the Charles River and mark the completion of Veolia’s Boston-Cambridge “Green Steam” project – a multi-million dollar investment that has improved energy reliability and air quality, while reducing the region’s carbon footprint. 

“Through a close collaboration with government, environmental organizations, local citizens and industry, this significant environmental milestone was made possible,” said William J. DiCroce, president and CEO of Veolia North America. “The completion of upgrades at Kendall Cogeneration Station helps to protect the Charles River – a local treasure and national landmark – and supports Veolia’s mission to deliver clean energy while reducing the carbon footprint of Boston and Cambridge.” 

Operated by Veolia, and acquired with joint venture partner I Squared Capital in 2014, the Kendall Station Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant produces electricity and recycles thermal energy used to supply Veolia’s 20-mile steam distribution system.  Through its efficient CHP operations at Kendall Station, combined with a 7,000-foot steam pipeline extension completed in 2013, Veolia has doubled its transport of environmentally friendly thermal energy, or “Green Steam,” to Cambridge and Boston metro customers via recovered heat – an accomplishment that has increased overall energy reliability, capacity and efficiency, in addition to reducing the region’s carbon footprint.
In October 2016, Veolia’s $112 million dollar “Green Steam” infrastructure investment culminated with the completion of a retrofit of Kendall Station. By replacing the plant’s original once-through cooling system design with an Air Cooled Condenser (ACC), Kendall Station now leverages ambient air for use in its thermal cycle, instead of Charles River water – an engineering and environmental achievement that eliminates heated water discharge to the river, protecting the aquatic habitat of this precious natural resource.
The path to this environmental feat began nearly 20 years ago when the Charles River Watershed Association and the Conservation Law Foundation fought to eliminate the plant’s environmental impact on the Charles River.  This partnership resulted in a 2011 Administrative Order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calling for a 95 percent reduction in cooling water and discharge flow to the Charles River.
“This project is a win for the environment and the communities of Cambridge and Boston. Ending the discharge of heated water to the Charles River will help protect fish, restore habitat and reduce the severity of cyanobacteria blooms,” said Charles River Watershed Association’s Executive Director Robert Zimmerman, Jr.   “‘Green Steam’ further protects the environment with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality. Charles River Watershed Association is honored to have worked with Veolia, Kendall Cogeneration Station, the Conservation Law Foundation and other partners to forge this creative solution to the heat pollution that has plagued the Charles River.”
“The success of Kendall Station is proof that energy production, environmental protection and economic prosperity need not be competing forces,” said Veronica Eady, Director of Conservation Law Foundation Massachusetts. “This project offers a model that can be replicated around the nation — a blueprint for how to use, and even profit from, heated water from a plant rather than dumping it back into already-imperiled fish habitats.”
Support and leadership from state and local government were also critical factors to the success of this reconfiguration project.  In 2012, the Massachusetts Green Communities Act reinforced the importance of investment in clean energy technology and provided opportunities to “find clean energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen local economies.”

“The recently enacted comprehensive energy diversification legislation, paired with Governor Baker’s Executive Order establishing a statewide climate change strategy, lays a foundation for Massachusetts to safeguard our precious natural resources while securing our clean energy future,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton. “By replacing water with ambient air cooling at the Kendall Station Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant, Veoila’s vision will both provide additional clean, reliable energy and heating resources, and ensure tremendous environmental, climate and economic benefits.”

“We are truly lucky to have this unique energy infrastructure with Kendall Station.  Businesses, healthcare providers and biopharma manufacturers in our community have access to this green, resilient energy – making it a differentiator for businesses looking to expand or grow here,” said Mayor E. Denise Simmons of Cambridge.  “Efforts such as the Kendall reconfiguration, which protects our community and environment supports our objectives of ensuring a growing and resilient Cambridge.”

“This effort is not about the contributions of one group or individual; it’s about the actions, large and small, made by many.  Today, we recognize those individuals and organizations that have demonstrated the leadership and vision for a greener, more livable Cambridge and Boston,” said DiCroce.

Green Steam by the Numbers:

  • 80% by 2050 – “Green Steam” supports Boston and Cambridge’s goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80% by 2050
  • 61%/36% – Reduction of the region’s SO2 and NOx emissions, respectively
  • 75% of district energy heat supply consists of recycled “Green Steam”
  • 311, 936 labor hours supported the construction of the “Green Steam” project
  • 70% of Boston’s high-rise buildings served by Veolia

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