Town Council Progresses Sustainable Community Goal

The Town Council is forging ahead in their efforts to ensure a sustainable future for the town as outlined in the Town Council Goals 2020 and the 2019 Comprehensive Plan.  At the November 9 Town Council meeting  the council voted to authorize Town Manager Matthew Sturgis to enter into a Lease Option Agreement and a Net Energy Billing Credits Agreement with Encore Renewable Energy for the installation of solar panels at the landfill site located at the Cape Elizabeth Recycling Center.

After months reviewing requests for proposals, the Energy Committee made a recommendation at the July 20 Town Council Special Meeting that the council authorize the Town Manager to enter into negotiations with Encore Renewable Energy for the installation of solar power panels.  Sturgis and the Town Attorney spent the past two months negotiating the first step in this process for the council's consideration.

The Lease Option Agreement and Net Energy Billing Credits Agreement authorized at the November 9 meeting anticipates approximately $2.1 million in savings and income over a 20-year term.  Sturgis explained that by the end of year one the town should see $83,000 in savings and income.  The yearly amount grows over the years as the difference between what what would be charged for the anticipated normal market rate is offset by the new net-metering credits resulting from solar energy.  In addition, the town will receive lease income of $1000 per acre, per year for the seven acres hosting the solar panels.  In the final year of the term, annual savings and income will reach $128,900.

Later in the November 9 meeting, the Town Council voted 6-0 in favor of authorizing the town to apply for an Efficiency Maine grant, brought to the council's attention by the Energy Committee.  The grant would be for two electric vehicle charging stations and would cover 80 percent of the project cost.  The deadline for the application is December 1, 2020.   

Sturgis informed the council that there is no obligation to accept the funds should the town be awarded the grant by the Efficiency Maine.  If awarded and ultimately moved forward by the Town Council, the expectation is that one vehicle charging station would be located at Fort Williams and the second at Community Services.  Funding for the project would be part of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.  Chair-Elect Jamie Garvin stated that the application “supports Town Council goals to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The council has included the following Town Council goal since 2018: “Sustainable Community:  We are committed to a sustainable future and implementation of policies and projects to improve the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of the community.” Similarly, recommendation number 39 in the Comprehensive Plan suggests that the town “incorporate sustainable energy upgrades in municipal facility modernization.”

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