Wind Power Purchase Agreement Approved

The Marion Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to approve a Wind Power Purchase Agreement that would save the town approximately 20% on energy costs annually.  The decision was made at the Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 24 at the Marion Police Department.

“We think it’s a very good arrangement for the town,” said Project Manager Bill Saltonstall.  “I’m really pleased it’s coming along this way.”

The Board received the green light to start looking at renewable energy sources at the Annual Town Meeting.  Since then, the board has been meeting with a variety of wind and solar energy companies in order to find a renewable source of energy for the town.

The proposed wind energy source would be located in Plymouth on a third-generation cranberry bog visible off of Route 25 East. The bog is owned by Keith Mann who is also a Project Manager. The town of Marion will not be paying for the operation of the power source, but will just be purchasing the energy provided.

“We are simply buying the end result of this wind driven power,” said Town Administrator Paul Dawson during a Power Point presentation outlining the project.

The estimated cost of energy for the year would be $398,511, however NSTAR agreed to allocate money each month towards the bill, projecting the amount of money Marion would pay out of its pocket annually at $318,809, which is a 20% savings rate.

Dawson said the biggest trepidation of the project was the contract length, which is 20 years. However, Dawson cited that over that 20-year period, the town could save as much as $1.7 million on energy costs.

“There’s no way we can lose on this,” said Saltonstall.

The project will also serve other municipalities in the area; however, if something were to go wrong with another town’s involvement with the project, it would not affect Marion’s energy supply. Dawson said that the project would most likely begin in January of 2014.

In other news, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously for the town to apply for a grant that would help repair County Road stretching through Marion, Rochester and Wareham.

“Anyone who drives County Road knows it’s in deplorable conditions and it’s getting worse,” said Selectmen Jonathan Henry.

The grant would allow the town to hire a company to research the possibilities of fixing the road long-term. The grant will be issued by the South Coast Rail Technical Assistance Fund.

The Board of Selectmen will meet again on Tuesday, August 7 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Police Department.

By Katy Fitzpatrick

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