ENERGY ASSETS & STRATEGY
West Boylston’s Generation, Transmission, and Storage Portfolio
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant (WBMLP) is a vertically integrated utility that owns distribution, generation, and transmission facilities. Our investment in generation and transmission assets produces an energy supply that minimizes greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and is billed to our customers through stable and competitive electricity rates. Our generation and transmission expense represents approximately 75% of our annual operating budget and WBMLP hasn’t had a rate increase since 2009.
WBMLP continuously evaluates new sources of reliable, non-greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting, and low-cost energy located throughout or interconnected to New England. West Boylston is transitioning away from all fossil fuel generation and adopted a Greenhouse Gas Emission Standard (GGES). Our GGES Goal is “Net-Zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
54% of WBMLP's energy supply did not emit GHGs in 2021. This means we are halfway towards meeting our net-zero GGES goal already! Over time, WBMLP will invest in additional renewable and clean energy to meet our net-zero GGES goal by 2050.
WBMLP's existing energy portfolio is comprised of nuclear, solar, wind, hydroelectricity, natural gas, oil, and storage generation. Typically, our energy contracts require us to purchase specific quantities of energy, through specific contract dates or for the life of the plant. Some of our existing clean energy supply commitments extend until 2057.
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant’s Energy Portfolio
Here is a brief description of each West Boylston owned or contracted source of generation, energy storage, and transmission assets:
NUCLEAR GENERATION ASSETS
Seabrook Station: Seabrook is a 1,244-megawatt pressurized water reactor nuclear generation plant located in Seabrook, New Hampshire. Seabrook began commercial operation in 1990 and is licensed to operate through 2050. 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 clean non-greenhouse gas emitting energy that comprises approximately 25-35% of West Boylston’s annual energy supply.
Millstone Unit 3: Millstone is a 1,237-megawatt pressurized water reactor nuclear generation plant located in Waterford, Connecticut. Millstone 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 unit 3 plant. millstone generates clean non-greenhouse gas emitting energy that comprises approximately 12-15% of West Boylston’s annual energy supply.
WBMLP’s nuclear energy counts towards our “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standard” and will help us achieve “Net Zero” GHG emissions by 2050. The energy from these two nuclear power plants generates environmental attributes called “Emissions-Free Energy Credits” (EFECs). The EFECs associated with our ownership share of Seabrook and Millstone nuclear power plant are transferred from NEPOOL GIS into our GIS account and retired on behalf of WBMLP.
WIND GENERATION ASSETS
Berkshire Wind Co-op: The Berkshire Wind Project is a 12-turbine, 19.6-megawatt wind farm located atop Brodie Mountain in Hancock, Massachusetts. The project began commercial operation in May 2011 and 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 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 4-6% of WBMLP’s annual energy requirements. Two new 2.3 MW wind turbines were installed in 2019, increasing West Boylston’s ownership to approximately 1.1MW of wind power. WBMLP owns, but currently sells, the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this project. WBMLP expects to retire the RECs once the construction loan is repaid in 2030.
Hancock Wind: MMWEC entered into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 37.5MW of the 51MW Hancock Wind Project located near Ellsworth, Maine. This wind project consists of (17) 3.0-megawatt Vestas wind turbines that became operational in December 2016. Seventeen municipal light plants will purchase the 37.5MW output including West Boylston. West Boylston expects this wind energy to meet approximately 2-3% of our annual energy requirements through 2035. WBMLP does not own or purchase the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this PPA.
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, Massachusetts. WBMLP purchases approximately 17% of the total energy and capacity output from this wind generation project, which in turn, provides about 1% of West Boylston’s annual energy requirements. WBMLP does not own or purchase the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this PPA.
Offshore Wind: WBMLP expects to either purchase or co-own a significant amount of offshore wind generation soon. There are multiple wind projects getting permitted in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts and this renewable source of energy will become a significant component of our future energy supply.
SOLAR GENERATION ASSETS
West Boylston Solar 1: West Boylston owns and operates a 333-kilowatt (AC) solar system located at the corner of Shrewsbury Street and Paul Tivnan Drive. Our first solar system became operational in 2011 and is expected to operate through 2036. There are (1,760) Evergreen 210-watt solar panels and eight SMA STP33kW inverters generating renewable energy from the sun at this location. This generation asset produces approximately 1% of West Boylston’s annual energy supply. As of January 1, 2022, WBMLP retires 100% of the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this solar system, which allows us to claim all the environmental attributes associated with this project. Retiring these RECs means our town’s energy supply emits less GHG’s and contributes to our 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas reduction goal.
West Boylston Landfill Community Shared Solar: West Boylston owns and operates a 1.856-megawatt (AC) solar system installed on the town’s capped landfill located at the corner of Temple Street and Peirce Street. This 6-acre solar system consists of (6,444) 320-watt panels mounted on a ballasted rack that doesn't penetrate the landfill cap and makes the best use of this town-owned property. Construction started in mid-2016 and was fully operational by December 2016. WBMLP expects this generation asset to produce approximately 4% of our annual energy requirements. WBMLP owns, but currently sells, the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this project. WBMLP will consider retiring the SREC II qualified RECs after 10 years, once the SRECs expire and convert to class I RECs in 2026.
Rooftop Community Shared Solar: West Boylston purchases, through a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), 100% of the energy, capacity, and environmental attributes from a 786-kilowatt (AC) solar system located at 180 Shrewsbury Street. This solar system consists of (3,186) 325-watt panels mounted on a ballasted roof top racking system and became operational in January 2019. WBMLP expects this generation asset to produce approximately 2% of our annual energy requirements. WBMLP owns, but currently sells, the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this project. WBMLP will consider retiring the SREC II qualified RECs after March 31, 2028, when the SRECs expire and convert to class I RECs.
HYDROELECTRIC GENERATION ASSETS
New York Power Authority: Massachusetts municipal light plants imports clean hydroelectricity from New York since 1985. All municipal light plants in Massachusetts receive and proportionally share 53.3-megawatts from the Niagara Hydroelectric Project in New York. West Boylston receives approximately 453 kilowatts or 4-5% of its annual energy supply from this imported, clean, non-greenhouse gas emitting energy. West Boylston expects to purchase this clean non-emitting energy through 2057.
Eagle Creek Hydro: In 2014, West Boylston entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for a percent share of 11.53-megawatts of hydroelectric energy from six generating plants located in New Hampshire. This run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation is purchased by (13) municipal light plants, including West Boylston. 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 West Boylston’s annual energy requirements are met by this energy source. WBMLP does not own or purchase the renewable or environmental attributes from this source of generation.
Hydro-Quebec Hydroelectricity: West Boylston imports 300 kilowatts of clean reliable hydroelectricity from the Canadian public power entity Hydro-Quebec (HQ). This imported hydroelectricity uses a portion of West Boylston’s transmission rights between Eastern Canada and Eastern United States, built to deliver surplus hydroelectricity into New England. This multi-year agreement provides our ratepayers low cost, non-greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting energy thru an agreement that guarantees ratepayers receive the energy without interruption and at a very competitive cost. This increases our clean energy supply by approximately 5% and is enough energy for 300 homes annually. These new contracts maintain our Town’s low electricity rates and help us meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. West Boylston is one of 19 MMWEC member utilities purchasing a total of 15 megawatts through these agreements.
NATURAL GAS GENERATION ASSETS
Stony Brook: 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 West Boylston’s percent share 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. 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 West Boylston’s entitlement is 3.9 megawatts. The unit's two turbines generate electricity using No. 2 fuel oil. MMWEC's Stony Brook Peaking Unit project participants include (22) Massachusetts municipal utilities. This fossil fueled generating plant operates infrequently and is generally used as hedge against increasing energy prices and for ISO-NE grid reliability purposes during the winter months. The Stony Brook facility generates approximately 1% of West Boylston’s annual energy requirements. MassDEP’s CMR 7.74 sets decreasing annual limits on the amount of CO2 emissions from this plant, which will help the Commonwealth achieve its “Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA)” goal of an 80% reduction in statewide CO2 emissions by 2050.
Special Project 2015A: Project 2015A is a 55-megawatt capacity and reliability resource (peaking-plant) under construction in Peabody, Massachusetts and shared with the Peabody Municipal Light Plant. MMWEC (Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company) is developing, managing, and financing this important project on our behalf. Project 2015A will increase our capacity resources and provide dispatchable (quick start) and reliable electricity generation to balance our increasing transition to intermittent renewable and clean energy resources. As we transition to 100% renewable and clean energy resources by 2050, we must also prepare for peak loads during extreme weather events and periods of time when wind and solar are not operating to prevent brownouts and blackouts. The Massachusetts 2050 Roadmap to “Net-Zero” emissions recognizes the need for this type of balancing resource up to and beyond 2050. WBMLP expects the project to be substantially completed by winter 2022 and operational by spring 2023. The 55-MW peaking plant should only operate approximately 300 hours a year so it will not generate significant amount of energy or GHG emissions.
Hydro-Quebec I and II Transmission Project: West Boylston contractually purchases 715-kilowatts of transmission rights through MMWEC, to Hydro-Quebec Phase I and Phase II, which is the largest existing electric transmission interconnection between the Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States. This transmission system was built to deliver surplus hydroelectricity power into New England (Phase I was operational in 1985 and Phase II in 1990). Our transmission contracts extend through 2040.
ENERGY STORAGE ASSETS
Flywheel Energy: West Boylston operates a (16) unit 128kW/512kWh mechanical flywheel energy storage system (FESS) interconnected through our 370kW solar energy system. The FESS became operational in September 2019. It stores daytime (10:00am-2:00pm) solar generation and discharges energy in the early evening to reduce our electric system peak loads, which typically occur weekdays between 6:00pm-10:00pm. This project Integrates solar generation with energy storage to use our least expensive energy at peak hours. In addition to the positive economic and environmental attributes, this energy storage project includes a unique 4-hour runtime technology that doesn’t require hazardous chemicals and is comprised of recyclable steel.
Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS): WBMLP is actively working with developers and MMWEC to interconnect a BESS to West Boylston’s distribution system and interconnect a transmission system BESS in Ludlow MA, at MMWEC headquarters.