WBMLP's Energy Strategy

WBMLP headquarters
WBMLP Headquarters

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 a very clean energy supply with stable and competitive electricity rates. Our generation and transmission expenses represent 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 fueled generation and adopted a Greenhouse Gas Emission Standard (GGES). Our GGESS goal is “Net Zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

50% of WBMLP's energy supply did not emit GHGs in 2020. This means we are halfway towards meeting our net-zero GGES goal already! Over time, WBMLP will need to invest in additional renewable and clean energy in order 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 dates of the contract. Some of our existing clean energy supply commitments extend until 2057.

West Boylston's Sources of Energy 2020 Infographic

Check out the charts below for more 2020 information.

2020 WBMLP Percent Purchased by Generation Asset

31% Nuclear, Seabrook, NH
14% Hedged Energy Purchases, ISO-NE
12% Nuclear, Millstone, CT
16% Realtime/Day-Ahead Market Purchases, ISO-NE
6% Hydroelectricity, Electricity Imported from NY
5% Wind, Berkshire Wind, Hancock, MA
4% Solar, Community Shared 1, West Boylston
3% Wind, Hancock County, Maine
1% Hydroelectricity, Eagle Creek Hydro, NH
2% Solar, Community Shared 2, West Boylston
2% Natural Gas & Oil, Stony Brook, Ludlow, MA
1% Wind, Princeton, MA
1% Solar & Flywheel Energy Storage, West Boylston
1% Hydroelectricity, HQ Canada
0.01% Solar, West Boylston, Residential Net Metered
100% TOTAL

2020 WBMLP Percent Energy Purchased by Type of Energy Resource

43% Nuclear
31% ISO-NE Energy Market
9% Wind
8% Hydro
7% Solar
2% Natural Gas & Oil
100% TOTAL

50% is Imported Hydroelectricity and Nuclear Generation which emitted "0" Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). WBMLP retains all the environmental attributes from this generation.

12% is solar and wind generation controlled by WBMLP and qualified as “renewable energy” under the MA RPS program. (WBMLP sells these renewable attributes, but plans to retire them at a future date.)

See WBMLP's "Percent Energy Purchased by Type of Energy Resource" and "Percent Purchased by Generation Asset" here.


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 25-33% 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 12-14% of West Boylston’s annual energy supply.

WBMLP receive and retires, through our joint action agency MWMEC, the “Emissions-Free Energy Credits” (EFECs) associated with our share of Seabrook and Millstone nuclear power plant.   The EFECs are transferred from NEPOOL GIS into MMWEC’s GIS account and retired on behalf of WBMLP.  Our annual MWh’s from both Seabrook and Millstone are reported as non-GHG emitting energy on MassDEPs AQ31 annual report.  WBMLP expects this energy to qualify under any future “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standard” or “Clean Energy Standard” and contribute to the Commonwealths goal of “Net Zero” GHG emissions by 2050.

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 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.

SOLAR GENERATION ASSETS

West Boylston Solar Cooperative: West Boylston owns and operates a 333-kilowatt (AC) solar system located at the corner of Shrewsbury Street and Paul Tivnan Drive. This solar system became operational in 2011 and is expected to operate through 2036. There are (1,760) Evergreen 210-watt solar panels and four Solectria PVI82 inverters generating renewable energy from the sun on this site. This generation asset produces approximately 1% of West Boylston’s annual energy supply. WBMLP owns, but currently sells, the renewable energy attributes (RECs) from this project. WBMLP will consider retiring the SREC I qualified RECs after 10 years, once the SRECs expire and convert to class I RECs at the end of 2020.

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 Hydro: West Boylston began importing 600 kilowatts of clean reliable hydroelectricity from the Canadian public power entity Hydro-Quebec (HQ) in late 2020. 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 700 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 2.5% 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.

TRANSMISSION ASSETS

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 run through October 2020 and we expect to negotiate an extension 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.

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