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Sandwich officials hear proposal for wastewater treatment plant solar arrays

Sandwich could potentially save nearly $375,000 by adding solar energy facilities at its wastewater treatment plant on the city’s east side.

That’s the kind of statistic that caught the attention of those attending a city Council Committee of the Whole meeting Jan. 18.

CityEngineer/Public Works Director Tom Horak shared the latest information regarding a handful of projects his department is involved in, including working with Keystone Power Holdings, a renewable energy company that develops solar energy facilities.

Horak said that Keystone Power Holdings is proposing to install solar arrays that would reduce the city’s reliance on electricity service at its wastewater treatment facility.

“I’ve been emailing them back and forth for a little while, and they’re proposing to put solar arrays in the same place that Progressive Energy [proposed], between the creek and the access ponds. That area is at a minimum wetland and floodplain, so we wouldn’t necessarily being doing anything in that area.” Progressive Energy made a similar presentation/proposal to the city in December 2017.

After reviewing the city’s earlier electrical consumption data to calculate future savings, Keystone informed Horak that the first-year savings alone would be “9% less than your current rate with a cumulative savings of over $372,000.”

Horak explained that he had some concerns about the proposed location of the arrays, but Keystone said they’ve done the same thing for other towns.

“Apparently, they’ve done it in other places; other municipalities allowed it to occur,” he said. “I think if you recall, my concern upfront last time with Progressive Energy was to just try to make sure regulatory agencies would be OK with that location.”

Keystone is willing to prepare the plans for the project and submit them to the appropriate agencies to secure their approval, Horak said.

“Or they won’t [get approval],” Horak said. “I guess if it comes back that they can’t, then that’s where the project stops. But if it comes back that they can build in that area, then the next phase would be for the city to get into an agreement with Keystone to proceed with the actual construction of the solar arrays.”

For now, Horak said he has the letter of intent that basically states that the city and Keystone are agreeing for the next six months to work exclusively together to prepare the information to see if it’s even feasible to construct the solar arrays in that location.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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