News from Marion's Energy Management Committee

Apr 03, 2017

To the Editor:

Marion’s Energy Management Committee has been busy at work on a number of projects to save money and energy for our town.

Clean energy from wind. The EMC initiated and helped negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement to acquire our municipal electricity from new wind turbines in Plymouth at a 20 percent discount from the normal rate. The turbines came online in August 2016, providing Marion and other neighboring towns with clean, wind-generated power via net metering. Over the 20-year term of the agreement, the town will save well over $2,000,000. We thank the citizens who supported this project, the developer who worked tirelessly for more than ten years to develop it, and our Board of Selectmen who recognized the potential benefit of using our dependable southwest winds to generate electricity.

Clean energy from the sun. Our residents have also recognized the benefits of renewable power, as 33 new solar arrays were installed in 2016 alone – a total of 121 installations since 2010. These systems are saving thousands of dollars in Eversource electrical bills while reducing Marion’s carbon footprint. Payback times for these installations are presently running around four years, so if you don’t yet have solar on your roof, please contact an EMC member to help you get started!

Reduced energy usage. The EMC is presently pursuing options to convert our streetlights to efficient LEDs, which use 60 percent less electricity with savings of approximately $55 per fixture per year. These savings don’t include the reduced maintenance costs as well as the longer lifespan of LED bulbs (20+ years) versus normal bulbs (about five years). The following nearby towns are just a few that have already converted their streetlights and are saving thousands of dollars per year: Wenham ($22,300), Bourne ($62,300), Chatham ($31,100), and Dennis ($112,500).

Resilience to coastal flooding. Marion is extremely vulnerable to the effects of severe storms and sea-level rise. To raise public awareness of these dangers, EMC seeks to build signage in several locations around Sippican Harbor that will show the actual high-water marks during several past hurricanes that have flooded the town. If you are interested in volunteering for this project (or any EMC effort), please contact an EMC member.

The EMC welcomes your comments, ideas, and suggestions as we continue to pursue avenues to save our town money and conserve energy use.

Members of Energy Management Committee:

Eileen Marum, Jennifer Francis, Norm Hills, David Pierce, Jim Bride, Rob Fisher, and Bill Saltonstall.

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