The Norwell Energy Committee wants the town to become a green community.
Norwell selectmen said they have to think it over.
During Wednesday’s selectmen’s meeting (Feb. 13), the Norwell Energy Committee promoted the idea of participating in the state’s “Green Community designation and grant program.”
“We don’t seem to be a good community for a turbine,” said Bob McMackin, chairman of the Norwell Energy Committee. “This is probably the best way to conserve energy town wide.”
The state sponsored program is run through the Department of Environmental Resources and supplies grant money for green projects such as wind turbines or solar panels.
Participating towns are required to fall in line on a number of environmental issues:
· The town must determine certain locations for green projects;
· Permitting must be expedited for green projects;
· Over the next five years, the town must improve its energy baseline by 20 percent;
· The town must purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles (although there are a number of exceptions) and;
· A stretch code will be enforced which will make new construction projects minimize life-cycle energy costs.
The issues selectmen discussed are the amount of work the program requires and the lack of any clear person to champion the cause.
Norwell Town Administrator Jim Boudreau said town officials from other communities said worth it or not, the program was a lot of work to put together.
McMackin said several other surrounding towns already participate in the program. He said he hadn’t talked to anyone from towns that have rejected the program.
“The Milton people said these things are coming down the line anyway, why not get on the front of the train,” he said. “We might get some money out of it.”
McMackin said the baseline grant for the program is $150,000 although in some cases the number is lowered.
Hanover received $149,000, Scituate received $163,000, Rockland received $185,000 and Kingston received $363,000. McMackin noted Kingston’s total was high because it was the first town in the region to become involved. There are currently 110 communities participating.
The committee began looking into the green community option after revisiting the possibility of a wind turbine in Norwell.
“We explored the possibility of a wind turbine, but it didn’t look viable,” McMackin said. “It doesn’t seem worth pursuing, but solar energy is definitely something we should be talking about.”
It was agreed selectmen would discuss the issue at meetings over the next month and would make a decision at the first meeting in April.
“It’s a conversation we have to have again,” Selectmen Chairman Gregg McBride said.
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