From One Citizen to Another: Solar Farm ConcernsBy Guest
Town could pay dearly for solar farm arrangement
Over a year ago, I wrote to the Citizen regarding the solar project at the Pine Street landfill. Being in the energy business for over 30 years, I am more aware than most of the risks involved in these projects. In the past year I have reviewed the town’s contract with Southern Sky and similar projects throughout the state. Our project is unlike any in the state, and, unfortunately, I feel that is not a good thing. The following are some bullet points on the project.
Southern Sky essentially pays the town $20,000 a month for the opportunity to bill the town double for electricity.
* The more KWH Southern Sky produces, the more costly it is to the town.
* The town will pay between $300,000 and $600,000 a year more for electricity after the facility is up and running than it currently does.
* Southern Sky charges more than double per KWH than the town will receive in net metering credits per KWH from the utility. Most projects pay less for purchased KWH than net metering credits.
* The cost per KWH from Southern Sky will increase 4 percent a year for the next 20 years, independent of the cost of KWH.
* Electric costs have actually decreased this year because of the drop in natural gas costs, as reported recently in the Boston Globe and other outlets.
* The town’s KWD demand charges are not reduced by the net metering arrangement.
* The town must purchase KWH from Southern Sky even if there is less expensive renewable energy available, for the life of the contract.
* The town must purchase all the KWH from Southern Sky, even if there is less expensive KWH from conventional producers, for the life of the contract.
* Southern Sky has essentially a 20-year, non-bid contract to supply the town with KWH.
I suggest that town officials sit down with representatives from the utility to discuss the net metering credits they will receive per KWH. Since the town knows how much they will be paying Southern Sky for KWH, they need to determine how much of a credit per KWH they will be getting from the utility.
I have the greatest respect for the Board of Selectmen, but I feel morally that I must speak up before the facility starts producing electricity. As a taxpayer, I hope I am wrong — I will be very happy to be wrong — but memory still recalls the problems of Enron, Evergreen Solar et al.
Short URL: http://www.thecantoncitizen.com/?p=14487