Proposed charge for the Energy and Climate Action Committee

  1. The following will be on the Selectboard Agenda on Tuesday, April 9th at 6:00 PM.
    To see if the Wellfleet SelectBoard will change the name of the Wellfleet Energy Committee to the Wellfleet Energy and Climate Action Committee, increase the committee membership to seven (7) members and two (2) alternates, and modify its charge as shown below (deleted language appears as strikethrough, added language appears as boldface),.
    The charge of the Wellfleet Energy Committee is to investigate, study and recommend viable methods for achieving energy conservation and for utilizing renewable sources of energy within the Town. This will include:
    The charge of the Wellfleet Energy and Climate Action Committee is to reduce the community’s contribution to climate change, with a focus on ensuring our energy infrastructure is cleaner, leaner, and more resilient, and to prepare, coordinate and execute mitigation actions and adaptation strategies that anticipate and respond to the effects of climate change. This will include:
    • Establishment of energy and emissions inventories for the Town and the setting of goals for energy and emissions reductions.
    • Assessment of the scope for energy conservation and for renewable energy use in Town buildings and by Town transport.
    • Recommendation of feasible projects for energy conservation and for renewable energy use.
    • Review of Town by-laws to promote energy conservation and renewable energy use
    • Educational outreach for Wellfleet citizens
    Formulate and advance mitigation and adaptation strategies as outlined in the 2018 Wellfleet Comprehensive Plan Section 10 on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies.
    • Educate and engage residents and businesses on expected climate change hazards and impacts and mitigation opportunities.

The Energy Committee will work in cooperation with other Town Board and Committees, as well as with Town employees, in carrying out its charge. This will include but not be limited to cooperation and liaison with the:
a) Building and Needs Assessment Committee in assessing the efficiency of energy use in existing and new Town buildings,
b) Conservation Commission in carrying out planned actions,
c) Natural Resources Advisory Board,
d) Friends of the Herring River,
e) Shellfish Advisory Board,
f) Open Space Committee,
g) Planning Board in assessing the efficacy of Town by-laws.
The Committee will also seek the cooperation and assistance of relevant governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses and the public.

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Provincetown Independent Letter to the Editor 8/13/2020 A Net-Zero School




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Cape Cod Times 8/15/2020 – MY VIEW: Let’s not wait to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions

MY VIEW: Let’s not wait to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions


capecodtimes.comMassachusetts is moving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 mandates reductions of 25% from 1990 levels by 2020. It appears we have made this goal through greener electricity, higher automobile fuel efficiency and energy conservation. Now Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts House and Senate bills have set 2030, 2040 and 2050 goals at 50%, 75% and 100% reductions.

But we shouldn’t have to wait until even 2030. We have the chance to act now to avoid greater costs later   ….

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Provincetown Independent – 8/6/2020 New Nauset Regional High School Building

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Building committee has wrongly nixed a net-zero emissions high school

We Must Act Locally on Climate

Building committee has wrongly nixed a net-zero emissions high school

Climate change is a clear and present danger to our community and to humanity as a whole. We are digging a hole for ourselves by continuing to produce greenhouse gas emissions. The first law of holes is: “When you’re in one, stop digging.”

We must continue to act as individuals and a community to reduce emissions. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 mandated reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Massachusetts is expected to meet the 2020 goal through energy conservation, increased use of renewable energy, and increased automobile fuel efficiency.

The battle continues. Intermediate goals of reducing emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, 75 percent by 2040, and 100 percent by 2050 have passed both the Mass. Senate and House of Representatives. Gov. Charlie Baker announced state goals of net-zero emissions by 2050. We are now planning buildings that will be operating in 2050 and beyond.

We should acknowledge these goals and commit to implementing them in our current new building plans. Any new construction, especially of a building that will last to 2050 and beyond, should produce no greenhouse gases. If we do not plan to build a net-zero emissions Nauset Regional High School now, we may anticipate an expensive retrofit within 10 or 15 years. A retrofit would be significantly more costly than doing it right the first time.

Let us not confuse net-zero emissions with net-zero energy usage. To reduce energy usage to zero requires aggressive insulation and has diminishing returns. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero means exclusive use of electricity from 100-percent renewable sources for heating, cooling, and cooking, and not using greenhouse gas-emitting fuels. We can use electrically powered ground or air-source heat pumps for heating and cooling and electric stoves instead of gas stoves. To its credit, the Nauset Regional School System has aggressively supported solar generation and renewable energy usage.

In June, the Wellfleet Energy and Climate Action Committee, with the support of the Wellfleet Select Board, voted to bring the net-zero emissions question to the Nauset Regional High School Building Committee. We subsequently met with the committee. We thought we had an understanding that the group would evaluate the idea of a net-zero greenhouse gas building.  Unfortunately, their response letter stated that they had already evaluated a net-zero energy usage building in 2018 and decided it was too expensive. They did not reevaluate net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

We think building a new regional high school that does not meet net-zero emissions standards would be fiscally imprudent. We should do it right the first time and benefit from lower energy, operating, and maintenance costs. We do not know how much more or less heating, cooling, or cooking powered by electricity will cost, but we thought the building committee agreed to our request to examine the issue and evaluate the relative costs.

Additionally, we urge the school building committee, the select boards of our four towns, and the citizens at town meetings to support construction of a regional high school only if it meets net-zero greenhouse gas emissions standards.

We are also concerned about the message we are sending to our students, who are knowledgeable about climate change and have actively participated in raising awareness. Raising awareness is not enough if we do not act now on our beliefs. Is our message that it is acceptable to acknowledge a crisis and still build a school for them that does not eliminate greenhouse gas emissions?

Dick Elkin is chair of the Wellfleet Energy and Climate Action Committee.

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Proposed legislation

policies 40_grant_policy 46_fuel_efficient_vehicles_policy_0

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Beware of Utility Company Scams

Beware of aggressive marketing and “slamming,” in which customers have electricity providers switched without their permission.

You may be getting phone calls about solar energy or saving on your electric bill. If customers agree to switch, their new supplier will notify their utility. After receiving a letter confirming details of their power supply contract, consumers have three days to change their mind, with no strings attached, under state regulations.

Still, regulators say residents should look for details that telemarketers and sales staff may not disclose. Depending when it switches to a competitive supplier, a household may get hit with additional charges from their utility. Some contracts from competitive suppliers include additional monthly charges or hefty early-termination fees.

For some households, price is not the reason for switching. Some environmentally conscious customers choose to buy power from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, at a cost above the typical household’s energy bill.

Have you been told you qualify for a 15 to 20 percent discount on your utility bill if you’ll provide your customer account number? Before accepting the offer, know that the likely switch will simply take you to a different energy supplier. Beware. Some suppliers employ telemarketers that recruit new customers with promises of lower rates for switching. But after a brief introductory period, rates may suddenly skyrocket — and you find yourself locked in a long-term contract with high cancellation fees.

In some instances, you may be asked only for your name, address and utility account number — not a credit card. But with that information in hand, the new supplier can switch your power service provider, either with your blessing or by “slamming,” the illegal practice of switching customers to another provider without their consent. Your best bet: If you’re interested in switching energy suppliers, avoid unsolicited offers and instead compare your options at, our state’s website listing power providers.

To avoid getting slammed (your utility service changed without your permission) or being over-charged by a company practicing deceptive marketing, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office advises consumers to check your monthly utility bills to make sure that your service has not be switched to a different provider without your consent, and protect your sensitive information by only sharing your utility bills after you have decided to do business with a provider.

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Solar Array at the Capped Landfill

Solar Array on the Capped Landfill

Wellfleet is planning a solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the capped landfill.  After issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) and receiving three proposals, the town has decided to enter into negotiations with Ameresco for an energy services contract to design, obtain permits, construct, operate, maintain and decommission a 1.2 Megawatt array of 2500 panels on top of the landfill.

Ameresco has built, owned and operated at least twelve solar PV landfill projects for municipal customers in Massachusetts.

The array will meet and exceed the town’s electric requirements.  The town will also receive lease payments for the use of the site, payment in lieu of taxes, and electricity at a reduced rate for net savings to the town of about $60,000 per year for twenty years or $1.2 million over the life of the program.

The array will conform to the zoning bylaw on the warrant for the upcoming town meeting (Article 42).  It will meet or exceed the 100-foot setback requirement from the town property line.  The array itself makes no noise and the electrical equipment will operate quietly and make less noise than two people in a normal conversation would make at a distance of ten feet.  The array will face south towards the transfer station, so there will be no glare for abutting houses.

A planned schedule was

  • Complete 30% design – May 2018
  • Present to Wellfleet Residents/Homeowners – May or June 2018
  • Execute a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) & Lease – June 2018
  • Submit Interconnection Application – June 2018
  • Obtain Local and MASS DEP Permits – July – November 2018
  • Obtain Interconnection Agreement – November 2018
  • Solar Incentive Application – November 2018
  • Acceptance into the Solar Incentive Program – November 2018
  • Final Design – December 2018 to January 2019
  • Construction – February to May 2019
  • Commercial Operation – June 2019

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Update on the Status of the Solar Array for the Capped Landfill

The Energy Committee and Ameresco have been moving forward with the solar PV array.

The Select Board voted unanimously to approve the project and voted to hold a Special Town Meeting to approve three articles relating to the lease, a power purchase agreement, and a power purchase agreement.  They also voted to grant Ameresco access to the site until the lease is finalized.

On June 28, 2018, Ameresco submitted a Site Use Permit Application under the joining bylaw passed as part of the Green Communities Act for an expedited approval process for solar PV projects.

The Finance and Energy committees voted unanimously to recommend the three town meeting articles.  

Town Meeting voted to approve all of the three articles. Two of the votes were unanimous, one had a single nay vote.

The town submitted a post closer permit application provided by Ameresco.  This extensive application of over one hundred pages, details how the landfill will be protected during construction and operation of the solar array.  The Department of Environmental Resources after a two-month review by technical experts has approved a Post Closure Permit for the project at the capped landfill.

Eversource, after a two-month review, has approved the interconnection of the proposed array to the electric grid.

The planning board has yet to hold a meeting on the merits of the Site Plan Review Application.


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