Energy Officials Approve Relief Funding for Falmouth Community Wind Project
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Board of Directors today approved up to $1.8 million in relief funds for the Town of Falmouth to help the municipality mitigate the financial impacts associated with the reduced operations of its town-owned wind turbine project located at the Town of Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Plant.
With this funding, MassCEC seeks to help the town recover costs associated with project curtailment. To date the town has incurred unexpected costs resulting from community concerns, voluntary reductions in operation due to unanticipated sound levels and related litigation.
“The state wants to be a resource to communities to seek to balance their clean energy goals with the specific needs of their communities. We are hopeful that this settlement will help this community move forward,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who chairs the MassCEC Board of Directors.
“We hope this funding will help the town recover some of the unexpected financial costs associated with the reductions in operation of their wind project,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.
MassCEC will make a $500,000 contribution to the town’s wind turbine reserve account. MassCEC’s contribution is contingent on the town making a $300,000 contribution to the fund, which is designed to provide a cushion for future project costs.
MassCEC will award the town up to an additional $85,000 annually for the renewable energy produced by the project.
The agreement amends the original agreement between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the town signed in 2009. Under that agreement MassCEC agreed to prepay the town $1 million for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated by the project.
Each year, utilities are required to obtain an increasing percentage of their energy from renewable sources. For 2014, the requirement is nine percent. For 2015, the requirement is 10 percent. Utilities may purchase RECs to fulfill those commitments. Each REC represents one thousand kilowatt-hours of renewable energy generated and delivered.
“We are grateful for this continued collaboration and for the state’s steadfast support of the Town of Falmouth’s businesslike operation of our important wind facilities,” said Brent Putnam, chair of the Falmouth Board of Selectmen. “While this does not fully address all of the financial pressures on wind energy in Falmouth, it makes an extraordinary step in stabilizing our wind energy operations.”
“The action of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to grant the Town of Falmouth financial assistance is a recognition of the ongoing strong partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the development of wind energy and other renewable energy facilities in Falmouth,” said Falmouth Town Manager Julian M. Suso.