Energy Matters Dominate City Council Agenda

(File photograph.)

Haverhill city leaders intend to move forward with plans to bring new energy cost savings to the water and wastewater departments through a solar power purchase while plans for any savings through a solar array project at the former Bradford landfill are on hold.

During tonight’s meeting, Haverhill city councilors, are being asked to approve a 20-year agreement between the city and Lodestar Energy, Avon, Conn., to purchase electricity generated from a solar facility in West Stockbridge at a fixed 12 cents per kilowatt hour. The net metering credits would be applied to the city’s water and/or wastewater accounts within a central and western Massachusetts load zone, according to a letter from Mayor James J. Fiorentini. The agreement is “identical to the one previously approved by the city for the power purchase agreement with Bluewave Capital.” City Purchasing Agent and Energy Manager Orlando Pacheco told WHAV the city, in the wake of the suspended SunEdison solar project, will “utilize a different tactic to generate financial value,” including net metering credits to “offset the water and wastewater load.”

“The mayor has been particularly focused on trying to do something for that division because of the increased cost that division is facing, as a result of having to meet EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection) mandates in combined sewer overflow and stormwater issues. And just the increased cost of wastewater treatment, etc.,” Pacheco said.

Also, the city would grant utility provider National Grid a “perpetual right and easement” to install and operate, within the public works yard at 500 Primrose St., a station for “transmission of high and low voltage electric current.” However, Pacheco said he believed that item is not directly related to the Lodestar agreement but connected to providing solar power to the new Elmo D’Alessandro Fleet Maintenance Garage for the Haverhill Police Department.

“The new police fleet maintenance garage was constructed just a few months ago. And while the roof is still brand new, we have pursued a rooftop solar project for that building. I believe that’s going to be around 86 kilowatts and we think that will go online before the end of the year,” Pacheco added. “Rooftop projects are substantially easier to complete because you’re just connecting behind the grid. You’re not building a major grid connection.”

The easement was not listed on the agenda as a separate council matter.

“This will result in greater savings if the price of electricity increases,” Fiorentini wrote councilors. “The documents have been reviewed by the city solicitor and Meister Group, the city’s solar energy consultant.”

As WHAV reported last November, councilors approved a net metering agreement with Bluewave Capital Castle Neck River LLC, Bethesda, Maryland, as part of plans to bring a solar array to the upper Hilldale Avenue industrial park. However that agreement, at a 20-year fixed rate of 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour, would benefit power accounts that fall within a “Northeast Massachusetts load zone,” according to Pacheco. At that time, he explained a split between “load zones” in the city, as designated by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), prevented the water/wastewater Division electric account from using the upper Hilldale solar project for electricity.

“Net metering (agreements) must stay with the designated load zone,” Pacheco said at the time.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., tonight, in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

One thought on “Energy Matters Dominate City Council Agenda

  1. The ma.dept.of energy resources got rid of Haverhill resident Jack Bevelaqua after he suffered a stroke.Bevelaqua funneled money and knowledge on energy issues to city for many years.too bad he had a stroke.too bad Patrick administration trashes the sick