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Fracktivists Turn to Twitter to Expose Invenergy's Fracked Gas Power Plants

A gas industry heavyweight wanted to win an award for its work on renewable energy projects. Then twitter got involved. (Image: FANG-RI)

It’s not everyday that a company that builds huge fracked gas power plants tries to win a green energy award on Twitter. 

The company in this case is Invenergy. Invenergy sees itself as a clean energy hero—and indeed they have enough wind farms to make them the largest independent wind power producing company in the United States. But they are also dogged builders of huge hundred-million dollar fracked gas power plants - the other side of the fracking coin that is injecting carcinogens across America. For all its wind farms, Invenergy gets over one-third of its megawatt capacity from its giant gas plants.

The thing that really upsets fracktivists—beyond facing dire health threats from Invenergy’s gas plants in places like Burrillville, RI and Jessup, PA—is that Invenergy claims its gas projects are "clean." Their website welcomes you with a message that "Clean Energy Makes Sense," its gas projects are listed in the same clean energy photo album as its wind farms, and the company regularly tweets pro-climate messages from President Obama and Pope Francis.

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And so it came as a bit of a surprise when Invenergy tried to win a clean energy award at the Energy Storage North America (ESNA) 2015 conference—a conference focused on innovation in the renewable energy storage field, sponsored by such players as the National Resource Defense Council, the Clean Coalition, and Vote Solar.

The ESNA organizers set up their green innovation award in a novel way utilizing "twitter votes." In essence, any tweet mentioning "Invenergy" and the hashtag #ESNA2015Awards counted as a vote for Invenergy—and the company with the most votes would win.

And so when anti-fracking activists associated with FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas) found out that Invenergy was trying to win, they saw an opportunity.

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Trevor Culhane

Trevor Culhane is a digital and traditional media organizer pushing for a just transition away from fossil fuels. He worked with the RI Student Climate Coalition to pass climate legislation in Rhode Island, organized for fossil fuel divestment at Brown University, and wrote a thesis on the messaging of the People's Climate March. Trevor is currently based in Boston and works with FANG to fight fracked gas in New England.

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