The city of Boston has a "Greenovate Boston" goal of reducing Boston's greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. One solution is using steam produced from making electricity, to power heating and cooling devices through underground pipes. It is referred to as Green Steam. Veolia North America bought the Kendall Station power plant and has invested $168 million total into the Boston-Cambridge district energy network; including a 7,000-foot steam pipeline extension. It is predicted to reduce 475,000 tons of carbon per year, equivalent to removing 80,000 cars from the roads.
Although Kendall Station is the main power and steam plant, Veolia also has steam plants in Back Bay and Chinatown, as well as maintains and operates Longwood's MATEP (total energy facility and micro-grid).
According to Veolia, their customers include 250 commercial, healthcare, government, institutional and hospitality customers occupying 44 million square feet of building space within the central business district of Boston:
major hospitals (and in Boston, Veolia serves every major one),
biotech R&D facilities
office towers (including 70 percent of Boston's high-rise buildings)
colleges and universities
New England Aquarium
To see a map of Veolia's energy network, click here.
The Boston Globe created an infographic to explain the steam process.