Our Energy Generation Strategy
Our Power Supply Portfolio & Renewable Strategy
WBMLP manages its power supply costs by continuously evaluating and acquiring new sources of reliable and cost-effective energy. Power supply costs are a major component of our annual budget and represent approximately 75% of our annual operating expense. Municipal light plants may own entitlements to physical generation assets and commit to long-term, cost effective energy contracts. This unique ability results in low and stable prices for our ratepayer/owners.
In order to carry out our energy strategy, WBMLP is a member of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC). MMWEC is a public energy partnership initially established in 1969 to provide the services, expertise and strategic vision to help municipal utilities optimize their energy resources. In 1976, MMWEC became a non-profit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts empowered to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance ownership interests in energy facilities. 20 Massachusetts municipal utilities including West Boylston are members of the MMWEC organization, with 28 municipal light departments owning entitlements in MMWEC energy facilities.
The majority of WBMLP’s entitlements to generating assets do not emit greenhouse gas emissions. WBMLP’s energy portfolio is comprised of nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, natural gas and oil-fueled generation. The following bars illustrate the percentage of each resource in the WBMLP energy supply forecasted for 2017. Below that, is a short description of each generation asset to which we’re committed through either direct entitlement or contract. Click here to view a PDF that tracks our past, present and future purchases from 2014-2017.
WBMLP 2017 Forecasted Energy Purchased by Type of Resource
WBMLP’s Long Term Energy Portfolio
Nuclear Generation Assets
Seabrook Station: This pressurized water reactor nuclear generation plant is 1,244 megawatts and is located in Seabrook, NH. The plant began commercial operation in 1990 and is expected to operate through 2050, once it receives approval for a license extension. Seabrook Station is primarily owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. Through our joint action agency MMWEC, 28 Massachusetts municipal light plants, including West Boylston, own approximately 144 megawatts or 11.6% of the plant. This unit generates non-greenhouse gas-emitting energy that comprises approximately 25-33% of our Town’s annual energy supply.
Millstone Unit 3: This pressurized water reactor nuclear generation plant is 1,237 megawatts and is located in Waterford, Connecticut. The plant began operation in 1986 and is expected to operate through 2045. Unit 3 is the newest and largest unit out of the three that are primarily owned and operated by Dominion Nuclear Connecticut. Through our joint action agency MMWEC, 27 Massachusetts municipal light plants, including West Boylston, own approximately 59 megawatts or 4.8% of the plant. This unit generates non-greenhouse gas-emitting energy that comprises approximately 12-14% of our Town’s annual energy supply.
Wind Generation Assets
Berkshire Wind Co-op: The Berkshire Wind Project is a 10-turbine, 15-megawatt wind farm located atop Brodie Mountain in Hancock, MA. The project, which started commercial operation on May 28, 2011, is owned and operated by the Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative, a non-profit entity that consists of 14 Massachusetts municipal utilities and their joint action agency, MMWEC. Berkshire Wind is a unique public power initiative that provides environmental and economic benefits to its members including West Boylston. The Berkshire Wind Power Project is the second largest operating wind farm in Massachusetts, capable of producing enough electricity to power 6,000 homes. Berkshire Wind produces approximately 4-5% of WBMLP’s annual energy requirements.
Hancock Wind: MMWEC entered into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement for the Hancock Wind Project located near Ellsworth, ME. MMWEC is under contract to purchase 37.5 megawatts of the output of the project. The project has commenced construction, with commercial operation planned for late 2016. The output will be utilized by 17 MMWEC contract participants including WBMLP. West Boylston expects this wind energy to meet approximately 2.4% of our annual energy requirements.
Princeton Wind: West Boylston purchases, through a seven-year power purchase contract, the energy output of the 3-megawatt, two-turbine wind project located in Princeton, MA. WBMLP purchases approximately 17% of the total energy and capacity output from this wind generation project, which in turn, provides about 1.4% of West Boylston’s annual energy requirements.
Solar Generation Assets
West Boylston Solar Co-op: WBMLP owns and operates a 370-kilowatt solar system located at the corner of Shrewsbury Street and Paul Tivnan Drive. This solar system started operating in 2010 and is expected to operate through 2035. There are 1,760 Evergreen 210 watt solar panels and four Solectria PVI82 inverters generating energy from the sun on this site. This generation asset produces approximately 1% of West Boylston’s energy needs cleanly and reliably.
West Boylston Landfill Community Shared Solar: West Boylston will own and operate a second solar system to be installed on the capped landfill located at the corner of Temple Street and Peirce Street. Installing a new 1.5-megawatt solar system using ballasted racking that doesn’t penetrate the landfill cap makes the best use of this town-owned property. Construction will start in mid-2016 and will be completed by January 7, 2017. This 6-acre site will utilize approximately 6,000 JA Solar 320 watt solar panels and (50) 30 kW Solectria inverters. WBMLP expects this generation asset to produce approximately 4-5% of our annual energy requirements.
Hydroelectric Generation Assets
New York Power Authority Contracts: West Boylston, through MMWEC, purchases and receives inexpensive hydroelectric power from the New York Power Authority (NYPA). All 40 municipal light plants in Massachusetts receive and proportionally share 53 megawatts from the Niagara Hydroelectric Project in New York. WBMLP receives approximately 4-5% of its energy from NYPA.
Eagle Creek Hydro: MMWEC entered into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement for 11.53 megawatts of hydroelectric energy from six generating plants located in New Hampshire and owned by Eagle Creek. The resources are run of river hydroelectric facilities whose output is utilized by 13 MMWEC contract participants. The Eagle Creek Hydro portfolio consists of River Bend Hydro, Bow Street Hydro, Lochmere Hydro, Gregg Falls, Pembroke Hydro and Clement Dam. Approximately 2% of our annual energy requirements will be met by this entitlement.
Natural Gas Generation Assets
Stony Brook Intermediate Unit: The Stony Brook Intermediate Unit is a 354-megawatt, combined-cycle power plant that entered commercial operation in 1981. MMWEC owns 90.75% of the unit, or about 321 megawatts of generating capacity, of which WBMLP’s entitlement is 4.4 megawatts. The balance of the unit is owned by Green Mountain Power Corporation (8.8%) and the Village of Lyndonville, VT (0.44%). The unit's three gas turbines generate electricity using either No. 2 oil or natural gas, with additional electricity produced using a single steam turbine in the combined-cycle process. MMWEC's Stony Brook Intermediate Unit project participants include 24 Massachusetts municipal utilities.
Stony Brook Peaking Unit: The Stony Brook Peaking Unit is a 172-megawatt peaking plant that entered commercial operation in 1982. MMWEC is the sole owner and operator of the Peaking Unit, of which WBMLP’s entitlement is 3.9 megawatts. The unit's two gas turbines generate electricity using No. 2 fuel oil. MMWEC's Stony Brook Peaking Unit project participants include 22 Massachusetts municipal utilities.