By Martin Renzhofer
“It’s not immediate,” Bedford Facilities Director Taissir Alani said. “We’re not receiving power from solar [now], but down the road [this will pay dividends].
“In the long run, if everyone is doing this, instead of investing in and upgrading a fossil fuel power plants, they will go and invest in solar farms, wind farms. And as these come online and become available, then that’s how we will get our power.”
Town Manager Sarah Stanton recently completed a deal to allow Bedford to participate in 100 percent green electricity option for the four public schools as well as the buildings that house the city police, fire department, recreation department, and the town hall.
Alani said that by state law towns and cities in Massachusetts must be powered by a minimum of 12 percent renewable energy.
“It’s another step toward lowering our carbon footprint,” Stanton said. “The cost will be exactly the same. It’s a great program with a neutral cost impact.”
Bedford’s power supplier, Constellation Energy, will invest in green energy, such as wind power, solar, and thermal.
The contract begins July 1 and runs through July of 2022.
The town doesn’t have to do anything with its infrastructure,” Stanton said.
Bedford is a member of Power Options, a consortium of non-profit organizations in Massachusetts, including other towns and universities. Power Options acts as an energy broker and negotiates with a vendor.
“We pay a membership to it,” said Alani, who negotiated the contract. “The nice thing about our contract, the price is really up to you to monitor and ask for a price. A year from now, what’s the price? They selected recently Constellation, which is a power supplier.
“So now you as Bedford, whoever the town, it’s really on you to monitor and know when to lock the rate. But they negotiate favorable terms that we don’t pay a penalty, we don’t pay a surcharge. Our price is fixed.”
Bedford had recently signed a contract for three years with a 25 percent investment in renewable energy. However, after looking again at the market Alani discovered better options for the town.
The cost for the 100 percent investment was lower than it would have been to invest 25 percent.
“The town has been really supportive,” Alani said. “That’s why I went immediately to Sarah and she signed it and locked it.”
Bedford is ready to commit to renewable energy as a town. According to Alani, the Bedford Selectmen and Stanton are working with a vendor, Good Energy.
“The residents will have choices,” Alani said. “If they want, they can opt to stay with the same standard, like the 12 percent minimum required by the state. Or they can opt to go to the new company that we’ll introduce.”
That program will roll out sometime this summer.
“We need really the buy-in from everyone,” Alani said. “The town is completely behind it. And we try to do it in a completely fiscally responsible way.”