ELIOT, Maine – Members of the Eliot Energy Commission are spending the holiday season putting the finishing touches on their Climate Action Plan, the first-ever such document for the town.
The plan will likely be unveiled at a Board of Selectmen meeting sometime next month.
As explained by Charlie Case, commission chairman, the plan first seeks to comprehensively identify energy savings opportunities within town buildings and operations.
Some measures have already been taken in this regard with the commission’s guidance. The installation of new insulation within the attic of the town offices, as well as a new and efficient heating system for the Eliot police station, have both led to measurable savings in energy costs.
The pending plan, however, will go even further in pointing out where the town can better conserve energy to reduce heating and electrical expenses.
“Our goal is to provide a blueprint for how the town can take steps to use less energy,” Case said. “For instance, we’ve looked at Marshwood High School and Marshwood Middle School, which are both relatively energy-efficient buildings – we hope to use them as a benchmark for our plan.”
At the same time, the plan will “really get into” where Eliot can lessen its dependence on fossil fuels by switching to renewable sources such as solar and wind power, according to commission member Ben Brickett.
In particular, the commission hopes the pending solar power project at the town transfer station will further promote the plan’s focus on green energy.
The project will feature the installation of photovoltaic panels that will convert the sun’s rays into electrical power for the transfer station, town garage and several sewer system pumps.
In recent remarks, Brickett has expressed optimism about the potential for solar energy to eventually “directly benefit town residents.”
Under such conditions, households might someday be able to purchase excess energy generated by additional town solar panels.
“The capped town landfill would be an excellent location for more panels,” Case said.
“We’re hopeful that, through the plan, we can pinpoint even more instances where Eliot can benefit from solar, electrical and wind power for use by the town,” he said.
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