October 2018
Innovation Across the Land
Recently, while conducting site visits in Central Maine and Northern Vermont, my mind kept replaying these lyrics: 
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
And saw above me that endless skyway,
And saw below me the golden valley,

Though much has changed in America since Woody Guthrie penned this great American folksong in 1940, one thing is certain…America is still a country of great beauty. Driving through the vast open stretches of central Maine and traversing the mountains and valleys of the Northeast Kingdom, resplendent in the colors of Autumn, was like a step back in time.

In addition to the natural beauty, I was struck by the rural character of these areas and the people who live and work here. Hard working, resilient and self-reliant are some of the words that come to mind. In addition, I would say that these are innovative people, used to solving problems. And leading the way are the folks from our Public Power communities. 

For example, Washington Electric Co-op (WEC) serves a 41 sq. mile area in one of the most rural of counties in Vermont. With about 8 customers per square mile, WEC is challenged to provide reliability and redundancy often in the most extreme terrain. To address these needs, WEC General Manager Patty Richards developed a plan to put a line under I-89 to connect many of her customers to a second source of power to decrease outages. WEC also operates a landfill gas to energy generation facility and manages the Wrightsville hydroelectric generating station to help keep costs low, all while returning $750,000 to ratepayers this year.

In Enosburg Falls, Jonathan Elwell, has undertaken a renovation project to their hydro plant to ensure that this renewable source of energy will be available to power his community for decades to come. Given the significant regulatory process that exists in the state, Jon is constantly looking for ways to improve his bottom line while maintaining 192 miles of primary lines.

Many of our member systems have adopted solar energy to contribute to their energy portfolio. In 2016, Stowe Electric Department (SED) commissioned its 1 MW Nebraska Valley Solar Farm to generate roughly 1-2% of SED’s energy needs for the next 30 years. General Manager Ellen Burt secured financing through the federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) program that covered roughly 75% of the interest on the borrowing needed to install the project, creating a significant savings for her ratepayers.

In Maine, Madison Electric Works created the state’s largest solar farm, providing nearly 5MW of power. Sited on 24 acres, nearly 26,000 panels (installed for the most part by local contractors) are creating impact and value to the community. Calvin Ames, Madison’s General Manager credits Sterling Electric Light General Manager Sean Hamilton with sparking the idea to pursue Solar as a viable option.

Sterling Electric was at the forefront of integrating solar energy into their portfolio and most recently, became an early adopter of energy storage - creating their 2-megawatt, 3.9-megawatt-hour battery storage system—the first of its kind in Massachusetts. The system was funded in part by a $1.46M grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and has already been used for peak shaving. 

Long known for their innovative approach, Vermont’s  Burlington Electric Department (BED) has committed to transitioning to a net zero energy city in the electric, thermal, and transportation sectors. BED has been utilizing cutting edge technologies since 1984 when they commissioned the McNeil Generating Station under a joint ownership agreement with Green Mountain Power and Vermont Public Power Supply Authority . This biomass plant produces 50 MW and is Vermont’s largest
generator of electricity. A special thank you to Destenie and Dave for the remarkable tour of the facility and I was fortunate to be on hand when Mayor Weinberger announced that Darren Springer would become BED’s new General Manager. We wish Darren all the best in his new role.

As you can see, our public power community is committed to exploring and investing in whatever resources are available to make sure that the lights keep glowing throughout this land that was made for you and me. Now, try not humming that!

Bonnie Biocchi, Executive Director
Upcoming Training & Events
October 10 (Littleton, MA)

Finance Committee Meeting
October 17 (Littleton, MA)

Substation II Program (Littleton, MA)
October 16 - 19; December 11 - 14; January 8 - 11

October 22 - 23 (Littleton, MA) 

October 24 (Littleton, MA)

October 29 (Littleton, MA)

Year I: October 23 - 26
Year II: October 30 - November 2
Year III: November 6 - 9
Year IV: December 4 - 7 (Graduation 12/7)

Board of Directors
 November 16 (Littleton, MA)

November 30 (Nashua, NH)
2019 Training Catalog Now Available!

Keep an eye on your inbox or email Sarah Klingler at sklingler@neppa.org to be notified as soon as registration is open.

NOTE: Effective January 1, 2019 NEPPA is implementing changes to @Your-Site Training (i.e. schedule and fee structure). Details are found on Page 6 of the Catalog or click here to read the e-mail notification sent Sept. 25th.
In the News
Belmont Light Celebrates Public Power Week
October 7 - 13
There are more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities in the United States and in five US territories, serving over 49 million people and more than 2.8 million business customers. 

Belmont Light (MA) will be celebrating with representatives at the Belmont Farmers Market on Thursday, Oct. 11th and sponsoring an ice cream social at the Belmont Senior Center on October 12th.

According to Belmont Light General Manager Chris Roy, “Public Power Week provides utilities like Belmont Light the opportunity to remind ratepayers that local residents make important decisions about their public power services...because we’re accountable to the people we serve and are committed to serving our ratepayers."

To learn more about Belmont Light and the services provided, visit www.belmontlight.com or call (617) 993-2800.
Holyoke Gas & Electric and ENGIE Unveil Largest Utility-Scale Energy Storage System in MA
Mayor Alex Morse and ENGIE Storage CEO Chris Tilley
September 25, 2018 (Holyoke, MA) - ENGIE North America and Holyoke Gas & Electric unveiled Massachusetts' largest utility-scale energy storage system at a ceremony at the Mt. Tom Solar Farm in Holyoke, Mass.

ENGIE Storage Services will operate the 3-megawatt/6 megawatt-hour system, which will be fully integrated into the largest community solar farm in the state at a location adjacent to the former Mt. Tom Power Station.

Norwich Public Utilities!
September 20, 2018 (Littleton, MA) - Thanks to everyone who made NEPPA's 11th Annual Lineworkers Rodeo a success!

Congratulations to Norwich Public Utilities for taking home the trophy for the third year in a row!

Check out the drone footage below!
Drone Footage Credit:
Connor Reardon, Littleton Electric Light & Water Departments
ENE Announces Additions to Energy Efficiency
September 11, 2018 (Foxboro, MA) - Please join us in welcoming Energy New England's newest team members, Mark Scribner and Sarah Doherty!

Mark joins ENE as Program Manager, Electric Vehicles and Sarah joins ENE as Operations Administrator for RCS programs.

Georgetown Light Receives Mutual Aid Commendation from APPA
September 13, 2018 (Georgetown, MA) - Georgetown Light receives Mutual Aid Commendation from American Public Power Association (APPA) for restoration efforts in response to 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

General Manager David Schofield says, “As a public power utility, Georgetown Light stands ready to help other[s]." 

Join the National Campaign
Beginning October 1st, join the national campaign, #CommunityPowered, to raise awareness of public power.

The American Public Power Association has strategies and resources for public power utilities to implement the campaign in your communities, Oct –Dec. 

State Awards Grant to Test, Prototype and Deploy Renewable Energy Technology in Holyoke
September 26, 2018 (Holyoke, MA) - Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) and Power Development International (PDI) have been awarded a $212,000 grant by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to further advance the commercial-scale deployment of high-efficiency, low cost hydrokinetic turbines in a collaborative effort with HG&E.

The project will use small hydrokinetic turbines to produce more power at slower water velocities, which allows the devices to make beneficial use of the otherwise wasted energy in naturally flowing water in canals, inland waterways, and downstream of conventional hydropower stations.

Extend your brand to those who matter most.
Advertising for the 2019 NEPPA Directory of Consumer-Owned Electric Utilities in New England is now underway!

Northeast Public Power Association | communications@neppa.org | www.neppa.org