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Wareham may reap benefits of Plymouth wind turbines

The Board of Selectmen held off on voting on a net-metering power purchase agreement that could save Wareham approximately 27 percent on its municipal electric bill.

The savings would take place over the life of a 25 year contract with Future Generation Wind LLC.

While the agreement would harness wind power to knock money off the towns electric bill, selectmen Alan Slavin wanted to make one thing abundantly clear: “I want people to understand that the wind power is not being built in Wareham.”

Project sponsor Keith Mann plans to build four wind turbines on his 150-acre farm, located at 810 Head of the Bay Road in South Plymouth.

“You’ll be able to see the turbines from Route 25 and Head of the Bay Road,” said Mann.

Under a power purchase agreement Future Generation would sell net-metering credits to NStar. The electric company would then put those credits into the town account, and the towns electric bill would be discounted accordingly.

There is a ten megawatt cap on how many net-metering credits a town may purchase as a host customer, but in this case Marion would be the host customer and Wareham would receive discounted energy.

This mean the ten megawatt cap would not be an issue.

A wind turbine can only generate power when there is wind to power it. When there isn’t enough wind to power the turbine, the customer (Future Generation) who owns the turbine draws power from the grid.

Future Generation entered into an 20 year power purchase agreement with the town of Marion as well as the Old Rochester Regional school district last August.

When the turbine generates more power than the facility it powers can use, the customer must have a place for it to go. That’s where the Town of Wareham comes in.

Wareham gets energy credits, which would allow the town to get back a certain percentage of each dollar paid to NStar.

“If you don’t have an agreement to sell the project you can’t get financing,” said CEO of Foresight Energy Solutions Carlos Pineda, who was there to answer any technical questions regarding the agreement.

The board voted to get solid answers on what Wareham’s current usage is, versus what is allowed by the cap before moving forward.

Future Generation hopes to place an article on the spring Town Meeting warrant that would put the net-metering purchase power agreement before voters.

The company brought a similar article to the 2012 Fall Town Meeting, but Town Meeting voters voted to take no action on it.

There was some concern at the time that the agreement would be redundant, as voters approved a similar agreement with Sage Stone LLC.

With the warrant closing on March 12, it’s not clear whether or not Future Generation will have time to get their article on the warrant.

“If it’s not this one [Town Meeting] it’ll be the next one,” said Pineda.