Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The town of Hanover has a jump start on the renewable energy revolution. From the deployment of a wind turbine to participation in the MMA’s MunEnergy program, Hanover is committed to managing energy in ways that protect the environment as well as the town’s bottom line.
At the forefront of these decisions is the selectmen’s call for a wind turbine and the creation of Hanover’s volunteer Energy Committee. The committee is spearheading a town-wide energy audit and working to zone an area of town for research and development of alternative energy technology. With the backing of the selectmen and Town Administrator Steve Rollins, the committee gets the support it needs to conduct audits and to pursue grants and other energy-saving initiatives.
Energy is one of the biggest costs for Hanover’s water department, so the town is continually looking for ways to curtail energy use and decrease these costs. The town operates three water treatment plants, and the electricity budgets for these facilities amount to nearly a third of the total water treatment budget. This led the town to consider alternative energy options. After careful research and evaluation, Hanover decided that construction of a wind turbine made good financial sense.
Finding the optimum site for a turbine took careful consideration from all parties involved, along with computer modeling technology. The modeling technology enabled the town to move quickly, rather than waiting a year for completion of a wind monitoring study.
The Pond Street Water Treatment Plant, located on the commercial side of town, was chosen as the best site for a wind turbine. It made sense because there are no residential abutters and site conditions are favorable, both in the expected capacity of the wind as well as the general accessibility of the site. Another determining factor was that the turbine would be located at a facility that has a large power demand.
The project is currently in the final design phase, which began in May 2008, with plans to break ground in September. The town reconsidered its original plan when a larger 225 kilowatt turbine, which better matched the town’s needs, became available from a Massachusetts manufacturer.
When it goes online, the wind turbine will provide an estimated 55 percent of the power for the Pond Street Water Treatment Plant. The turbine is expected to save the town close to $400,000 over time, while standing as a symbol of the town’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
Public Works Superintendent Victor Diniak said communities that are looking into wind turbines should consider their high upfront costs, visual impact, and operation and maintenance expenses. In addition, he said, “it is a fairly new industry, so there is a bit of a leap of faith that the manufacturer’s support will be there for the life of the equipment.”
He added, however, that, “in the final analysis, it appeared to make sense for Hanover.”
Rollins also offered a few tips for cities and towns considering wind power.
“Figure out all the deadlines and preparation time in advance,” he said. “Then schedule them in one timeline. Include deadlines for grants, budgets, votes, town meeting articles, etc.”
A sample timeline can be found on the town’s Web site, at www.hanover-ma.gov/green-communities.shtml.
At its town meeting in May, Hanover passed a renewable energy zone for new energy technologies. This means that the town plans to support all reasonable state “green” initiatives.
Hanover has participated in the MunEnergy program since 2003. Rollins said the fixed-price utility contract has helped the town manage its electricity costs from year to year and stay within its budget.
Hanover also participates in a demand response program, allowing the town to gain financial rewards for using less energy on days when the regional power grid is under stress.
“When you look at all the energy activities Hanover is currently involved in, it is impressive, and it shows that it can be done,” said Selectmen Chair Al Rugman.
Constellation NewEnergy is the endorsed supplier to the MMA’s MunEnergy program. For more information, contact MunEnergy Program Manager Emily Neill at (617) 772-7513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.