Home Forums Live Blog Forum Board of Mayor and Aldermen on June 2, 2015

This topic contains 71 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Patrice Benard 4 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #30675

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Could be a long night. Lots of committees, including the Special Committee on Energy Issues and Related Issues.

    #30676

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    City has received a $1 million ($977.5kK) grant from the PUC to build a solar energy farm on top of Mount Manchester (the old dump.)

    Manchester to get power at 5.95 cents per kilowatt, receive $5k in property taxes and save over $26K in power costs.

    #30677

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster
    #30678

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    O’Neil’s hopes for sports fields on top of the old dump just got dashed by the reality of the topography and by virtue of what’s underneath

    #30679

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    No city cash required. $1.6 million in private investment that will only require a 20 year term to purchase the electricity, which would be enough for about a quarter of the city’s buildings. Option to purchase at the end of 20 year lease. Largest solar project in the state, first on a landfull.

    #30680

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Only risk to city is of prices go down below the contract kilowatt cost. If energy costs go up (duh), the city would see better benefit.

    Project had to be scaled back because state only provided 1/2 the requested grant. Grant is actually a rebate that comes after the project is built.

    #30681

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Barry to city staff: Do you think this is a good deal for the city?

    O’Malley: Longwinded, but good answer to say yes. Not a home run because of the changes, but solid hit.

    Barry: If we didn’t do this, what could the land be used for?

    O’Malley: Nothing we can think of.

    #30682

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Corriveau: What does the future hold, question. What will the fair market value of the project be in 20 years? What will solar technology be then?

    O’Malley: Good deal for the city. At least another 5 years of useful life, other items…consultant jumps in, but I had to jump out because of a call…sorry.

    Corriveau wants a “shall” upgrade battery technology instead of may at the end of the buy out, battery updates over 20 years…

    Consultant: Basically, it’s because this deal is very tight. Not a big money maker for us. Different deal, perhaps we could do what you’re looking for.

    Other consultant: Can’t commit future upgrades when we don’t know what the technology will be.

    O’Malley: We don’t know what the economics are going to be in the future, but perhaps a shared benefit/expense kind of arrangement.

    #30683

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Corriveau: In some ways, this is really a business decision for the city…(well, he’s awake anyway.)

    So, Corriveau seems to be looking for some assurance that the city won’t be stuck in a contract that will have it paying more than market for power at some undisclosed time in the future, which is interesting given this power contract STARTS at 70% the current rate and STAYS there for 20 years…

    #30684

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    O’Neil arguing for ball fields. Saying that the solar panels will be more disruptive to the earth than ball field construction. Says remote parking at the bottom of the hill is what happens at 1/2 the city’s parks (nope and not like that and McIntyre doesn’t count. It’s a mountain with a chair lift) What other viable lands for parks?? (fields behind Jewett, Southside, Memorial, adjacent to Hillside.)

    OOO, Pre K attached to Jewett a possibility says O’Malley.

    #30685

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    it’s a 1 Megawatt facility…O’Neil continues to bore in on specifics…Hey, just tell him the IBEW will be doing the work and it’ll be a done deal!

    He looks at good deals as jobs and taxes and this does neither. Thinks they should be looking to be doing a deal with Eversource. Employ a lot of Manchester residents, big property tax payer.

    O’Malley: We’ve already talked to Eversource about working with us on this project. If we get the special purpose entity set up, we’d like to meet with them and see what they could or would be interested in bringing to the table.

    O’Neil: Why aren’t they at the table now?

    Consultant: Deregulation occupying them. This project too small to get their attention and if things are deregulated, they won’t be able to own power generation facilities.

    #30686

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Hirschmann, topography over there is challenging. Water, 80 climb. (It’s actually in his front yard.) It was closed in 1995, supposed to say dormant for 30 years, methane extraction, etc…not viable. Methane wells are functioning. It’s still a breathing site, so using it as a park is going to be difficult, could be another 10 years down the road. He’s excited personally. They met in March, hoped for a bigger project, more power, more revenue, but the state’s come in with 1/2 the grant, but it’s nothing to walk away from. My thought is that this preliminary layout is phase one. We can make this a successful project. It’s $600K over the next 20 years. I want that as a guarantee, not the peaks and valleys.

    Next, would like to see a phase 2 so that if it works out, there are options to expand it to the original vision. Maybe it’s 5 years down the road, then battery storage improvements, maybe a car charging station at the site. I don’t know if the city would have electric cars, but that would be nice. We’re selling our washing facilities, why not our power facilities.

    They’re going to lease the site, offer it back at Fair Market Value, it could be double the size with 10 years of life left. 20 years not that long. As alderman of the area, I’d envision a road around the development, like at Livingston, where people could walk…a walking park.

    O’Malley: Looking for support to go back to the PUC to say the elected officials are in favor of setting up a power purchasing entity for the purpose of buying power. If the PUC doesn’t get that info by Wednesday, we lose the grant to those in line behind us.

    O’Neil: What happens if we give our approval and the project doesn’t come to fruition.

    O’Malley: Nothing. There is no liability for the city.

    #30687

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Hirschman by Barry to approve. O’Neil opposes. Motion passes.

    #30688

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    O’Neil the hypocrite: It’s a good deal if it provides jobs and pays taxes. The “good deal” giving the LED conversion contract to the IBEW didn’t provide any new jobs or property taxes. Will there not be construction jobs to build this? Is not the $5,000 in lieu of taxes not revenue?

    Unbelievable!

    #30689

    Rich Girard
    Keymaster

    Lands and Buildings: Owners of Hoitt Furniture Building looking for an irrevocable easement granting access over the converted rail to trail that runs by them.

    Solicitor saying that’s tantamount to a sale of the land and, because of how the city came to own it (rails to trails) it would require state and federal approvals. What a cluster. Might have been nice for this to be discussed before it came to the meeting.

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