City Plans to Buy Electricity from Ward Hill Farm

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.)


Click graphic above to view full Haverhill City Council meeting agenda.

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.

5 thoughts on “City Plans to Buy Electricity from Ward Hill Farm

  1. My wife and I are neighbors within eyesight of crescent Farm we strongly support The digester . We believe what is good for the farm is good for the neighborhood

    • Tom, I agree with you. It is a great resource to use digesters. The issue is that the city cost a company a lot of money by inviting them to come into the city with a new facility then literally abandoning them. The Mayor allowed a lot of false info to be spread without defending the company he invited to Haverhill. Politics ? Nah…Hypocrisy….never.

  2. I am stunned at the attitude change from these neighbors compared to those on upper Hilldale ave when the ‘other’ organic digester was proposed up there. Maybe the difference is that Dave Hall isn’t running for city council so he isn’t fanning the flames with false information. This has to be the reason because this facility is the same type of operation. So if the original was bad for Haverhill why is not this one ? Where are the groups of outraged citizenry over this facility ? And the City jumps right in. Where is there concern as before ? Nothing against anyone but I just laugh at the hypocrisy.

  3. Ahh, Mr Smart Farmer, include the city and now are yiur permits and and any opposition will be taken care of.
    How many trucks a day?
    How about the smell from the “fertilizer” that is trucked in and spread without a care for the neighborhood.
    This is different than regular manure so please don’t defend the lamellar that permeates the area.