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Kendall, USA. Conserving biodiversity on the Charles River.

Kendall, in the eastern USA, is the location for a Veolia-managed cogeneration station that used to take water from the Charles River to cool its three turbines before discharging it back into the river at a temperature 10 to 20 degrees hotter than that of the river. This led to alterations to the river’s ecosystem in the form of a proliferation of algae and higher fish mortality.  Determined to remedy this situation, Veolia, the state government and environmental advocacy bodies worked together to design alternative solutions that would be less environmentally damaging.

Since September 2016 the plant has switched to using a condenser to cool its turbines, transforming excess heat into thermal energy. This is then piped along a newly built 2,200-meter pipeline to provide heating and cooling to buildings in Boston and Cambridge, including Boston’s general hospital.

The biodiversity benefits delivered include:

  • protection of endemic fish stocks, including herring
  • help with restoring ecosystems and habitats along the river’s lower reaches
  • reduction in the concentration of cyanobacteria in the river.

Other benefits:

  • lower fossil fuel use in buildings connected to the heat network powered by the Kendall station
  • reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • better air quality.

This innovative solution was made possible by a public-private partnership between the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Southern Energy and Veolia.