In late July, the Shrewsbury Electric & Cable Operations Commission unanimously adopted a power supply policy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2032, well ahead of the 2050 goal set by the Commonwealth earlier this year to be met by all utilities.

SELCO, originally established as an electric utility in 1908, provides electric, cable, telephone and internet services to residential and commercial customers in Shrewsbury.

“Our accelerated timeline allows SELCO to serve as the bedrock for the clean energy transition across all other sectors,” said Jackie Pratt, director of integrated resources and communications. “For example, reaching our net-zero goal in advance of the state’s target makes electrification of transportation and heating an even more effective strategy for reducing emissions. That means adoption of electric vehicles or heat pump technology by Shrewsbury residents, businesses or municipal government will be carbon-free well ahead of the state’s 2050 goal.”

The newly approved power supply policy is a roadmap for the management team to use to evaluate and make decisions about how to procure energy and secure carbon-free resources, Pratt explained. It will be used to evaluate each project and contract and will guide the acquisition and retirement of renewable energy certificates (RECs) by the utility.

SELCO’s current baseline energy mix includes nuclear (nonrenewable but not emitting), hydro, solar and the purchase and retirement of RECs. The goal, Pratt said, is to build off the baseline by adding more renewables and retiring RECs to offset other sources that are emitting.

The policy sees the utility increasing its non-emitting power supply by 5% each year, from a starting point of 45% this year, to reach the 2032 goal, and commits to providing customers with reliable electric service at the lowest possible cost. The policy will be renewed annually by the five-member commission.

In a statement, General Manager Christopher Roy said, “This approach balances both fiscal and environmental responsibility, resulting in the average customer seeing a monthly bill impact of around $1 in 2021 and increasing to about $5.60 in 2032. We believe this accelerated schedule is in alignment with customer priorities, meets or exceeds community goals for net-zero emissions, and helps establish SELCO as an industry leader.”

At least three other municipal utilities have announced plans to reach net-zero emissions ahead of the state goal, including those in the towns of Belmont, Concord and Hull.

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