Town will work towards serious energy reductions
The town of Wilton is moving toward the goal of reducing municipal consumption of energy by 20% by 2018 and purchasing at least 20% of electricity from clean sources.
This is part of the state’s Expanded Clean Energy Communities Program, which strives to have Connecticut cities and towns reduce energy use and increase support for clean, renewable energy sources. The program is funded by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.
At its meeting on Monday, May 6, the Board of Selectmen voted to sign a pledge to reduce consumption by 5% in 2013 and 8% in 2014. The town has already achieved those goals, but to fulfill the second part of the program it will voluntarily purchase electricity from clean, renewable sources on the following schedule:
• 15% in fiscal year 2012-2013
• 16% in fiscal year 2013-2014
• 17% in fiscal year 2014-2015
• 18% in fiscal year 2015-2016
• 19% in fiscal year 2016-2017
• 20% in fiscal year 2017-2018
This is a voluntary pledge and the town will not be penalized if it fails to meet either the reduction goal or the voluntary purchase goal.
To satisfy the requirement of purchasing renewable energy, the town will purchase renewable energy credits, commonly referred to as RECs. According to Bruce Hampson, chairman of the town Energy Commission, every time a clean energy generator such as solar panels produce kilowatt hours, it also produces an REC. A megawatt of kilowatt-hours generated by clean energy generates one REC.
“That REC is marketable,” Mr. Hampson said. “There’s a market in Connecticut that allows for a community to purchase an REC that represents a clean energy generator.”
For 2013 Wilton will purchase 1,013 RECs from a clean energy generator, 3Degrees, based in San Francisco. The cost is 99 cents per REC. The town will purchase 1,081 RECs at a cost of $1.04 per REC from the same company for 2014.
Wilton’s success in reducing energy consumption will be calculated by using 2010 as a base year.
In both 2010 and 2011 the town had a firm audit the schools and municipal buildings for energy consumption. That audit showed an 8.8% savings from 2010 to 2011.
All town buildings — schools, major buildings, smaller buildings such as pump houses — use 6,750,483 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
Beyond the energy savings, the town will be awarded points that can be applied to benefits. The town will receive 100 points for every $10,000 in energy efficiency. For every 100 points, the town may earn a 1-kilowatt, or equivalent, clean energy system from CEFIA, and from the Energy Efficiency Fund, a Bright Idea Grant that can be used for energy-saving projects.
In a previous program, the town received $45,600. Of that, $39,600 was spent on a 5 Kw solar system at Wilton High School and $6,000 in seed money for the Wilton Go Green Festivals of 2010 and 2011.