Nashua aims to operate schools, municipal buildings with 100 percent clean energy sources by 2050By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
April 18. 2018 10:42PM
NASHUA — A newly formed committee is determined to reduce the city’s municipal vehicle emissions and infrastructure greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025.
In addition, the Environment and Energy Committee is also aiming to have the school and municipal systems derive 100 percent of their energy from renewable, clean energy sources by 2050.
“This is by no means a political issue or a partisan issue,” said Dan Weeks, member of the committee and director of market development for ReVision Energy.
Weeks said the committee’s goals are not only realistic, achievable and forward-looking for the city, but technology has advanced so much that it is now possible to save taxpayers money while doing what is right for the environment.
“These goals are several years out,” acknowledged Weeks, highlighting several recommendations on how to reach the future goals.
The committee is suggesting that the city improve its building energy efficiency, establish citywide energy tracking and reporting, reduce municipal vehicle emissions, increase renewable energy generation, promote alternative modes of transportation and optimize city policies to incentivize efficiency and sustainable development, according to Weeks.
This week, the Aldermanic Planning and Economic Development Committee was presented with the recommendations from the Environment and Energy Committee.
Recently, the city launched a Solarize Nashua campaign.
“We see that the economics of solar, for instance, one is able to generate electricity in the region of 3, 4, 5 cents per kilowatt hour, which is less than half or maybe a quarter of what current and future projected electricity rates are — so very substantial savings there,” said Weeks.
Madeleine Mineau, waterways manager for the city, told elected officials that a citywide energy manager position should be created to help champion and facilitate energy projects in Nashua. That employee could not only track energy use, but help implement important projects to promote sustainability, environmental stewardship and green initiatives.
She said that initially, an energy audit should be conducted on at least three municipal buildings, and energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits should be implemented.
With the school district already moving forward with an energy performance contract for the city’s two high schools, Mineau suggested that an expanded energy performance contract be considered citywide.
A citywide solar project with the goal of one megawatt by 2020 is feasible, as is use of renewable electricity through a third-party supplier if it is cost competitive, according to Mineau.
Weeks said that one megawatt of ground-mounted solar panels takes up about 5 acres of land.
“One of the sites that we are beginning to explore is the landfill, which is more than that,” he said. A preliminary analysis of both high schools suggests that each building could host one megawatt of solar, which Weeks described as a modest goal.
If the city and the district are more ambitious, he said there could be a seven-figure savings in energy costs.