Support Article 38

Dear Editor:

In the upcoming Town Meeting, Marion voters can help reduce the Town’s municipal electric expense by more than $80,000 per year on average. Article 38 in the Town Meeting warrant asks the Town to authorize the Selectmen to execute a 20 year power purchase agreement designed to save a total of approximately $2,000,000.

Under the proposed agreement the Town’s electricity will be purchased from NSTAR and a supplier just as it is now. The savings will result from a developer’s sale of renewable power to the grid in return for “net metering credits” and the Town’s payment for those same credits at a discounted rate.

The source of renewable power will be located well outside of Marion’s borders. The project is fully permitted, and the interconnection with the NSTAR power grid has been applied for.

The developer of the renewable energy facility builds, finances, maintains, and insures the plant. Obviously he is responsible for a large investment in equipment, and the Town’s long term commitment is essential to his investors, but there is no upfront cost to the town.

The project is good for Marion for more than financial reasons. Its renewable power will replace power now generated mostly by fossil fuels. Its operation will contribute no CO2 to the atmosphere and will produce no air pollutants. It is one of a limited number of similar projects that will be allowed under state law, and Marion should take advantage of the offer while it is open.

Passage of Article 38 would also signify Marion’s approval to allow the Old Rochester School District to enter into a similar 20 year agreement, resulting in energy cost savings of more than $67,000 per year on average in the school district’s electric bill, in the same way as Marion. There is also an educational benefit, as the developer would help ORR monitor the output of his generating facilities in real time and conduct site visits to help students understand how green power facilities work.

Bill Saltonstall

Member of Marion Energy Management Committee


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