Linda Albers of Oxford Avenue tells Vanguard’s John Hanselman and neighbors last September she found few odors during her tour of a Rutland anaerobic digester. (WHAV News photograph.)
The city plans to buy electricity from a planned Ward Hill organics-to-energy operation.
Haverhill City Councilors will decide Tuesday whether to allow the city to purchase electricity from an anaerobic digester operation at Crescent Farm, 1058 Boston Road.
Under a proposed 20-year power purchase and net metering agreement between the city and the company, called Haverhill AD 1, the city will buy electric, initially at 13 cents per kilowatt hour. The rate would increase by one percent annually from the start of operation. As WHAV reported earlier, farm owner C. Michael “Mike” Davidowicz plans to use the anaerobic digester to capture naturally occurring methane gas and use it to fuel a generator producing a megawatt of electricity. Byproducts of the process will be used as natural fertilizer. According to council documents, it is estimated to produce as much as 6.8 million net metered kilowatt hours of electric per year.
“While we are not purchasing solar net metering, the same concept applies for purchasing net metering via anaerobic digestion, thus the document is the same as it would be for our solar net metering agreements,” City Purchasing Director and Energy Manager Orlando Pacheco wrote.
While related to existing agricultural uses the city, except for building permits, largely plays no role in permitting of the project. In September, Davidowicz and developer Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley largely received support for the project from neighbors during a public informational meeting attended by, among others, Pacheco. It will be set back away from the property line in a low area behind a barn and a driveway will be paved to eliminate dust generated from farm and other vehicles.
“I am all in favor of green energy and, in regards to this particular proposal, it seems like their addressing and taking appropriate steps for public input,” Haverhill Conservation Commissioner Brent Baeslack said at the time.
The 350-acre farm has been operated by four generations of Davidowicz’s family. Besides Crescent Farms, the anaerobic digester will accept wastes from about 10 other mostly small farms, including Shaw Farm, Dracut. Food wastes, already banned at landfills, may also be accepted.
The Haverhill City Council meets Tuesday, at 7 p.m., in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.