News & Press
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant News Coverage
It's our job to not only provide you with dependable electrical power via a modern, well-maintained infrastructure, but also to advocate for our customers. Here is some recent reporting on events, actions and activities that WBMLP is undertaking.
West Boylston, MA. – December 7, 2017 – The West Boylston Municipal Light Plant received a state grant for an energy storage project, as part of the state’s Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) initiative. As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Energy Storage Initiative (“ESI”), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced the award of $20 million dollars to support 26 projects, including West Boylston’s, for energy storage demonstration projects across the Commonwealth. These projects are aimed at piloting innovative, broadly-replicable energy storage use cases/business models with multiple value streams in order to prime Massachusetts for increased commercialization and deployment of storage technologies. The ACES Program will help direct the Commonwealth’s first substantial investments in energy storage projects that demonstrate the benefits of storage to Massachusetts ratepayers.
West Boylston Municipal Light Plant is receiving a $243,000 grant, which covers 50 percent of the $486,000 “Amber Kinetics” flywheel energy storage project it has proposed. The plan calls for a 128-kilowatt, behind-the-meter flywheel energy storage system interconnected with WBMLP’s 370-kilowatt solar project on Shrewsbury Street. Flywheel storage technology is an innovative, chemical-free, battery storage system. The project will be used for peak load reduction, resulting in lower transmission and capacity charges, and the creation of alternative energy portfolio standard certificates.
WBMLP is one of three municipal utility members of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company, the joint action agency for municipal utilities in Massachusetts, to be awarded a grant under this initiative. The other winners are the Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant (AMLP) and the Wakefield Municipal Gas & Electric Department. “MMWEC is pleased to support its members in bringing these forward-thinking technologies to their communities,” said MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. DeCurzio. “This is yet another example of the ways municipal utilities are actively supporting the state’s policies to address climate change in Massachusetts.”
WEST BOYLSTON (January 14, 2017 courtesy of Telegram.com) — As the town's municipal light plant adds the 1.5 megawatt solar field on the old landfill to its power sources, many residents have gone green with their electricity.
The project is based on a subscriber system, with users able to sign up for power from the solar field, with no added cost, at the same rate the town offers all residents.
All of the Community Shared Solar output is subscribed already, according to Jonathan Fitch, manager of the West Boylston Municipal Light Plant. With more than 350 subscribers, there is a waiting list, as customers choose to participate or not on an ongoing basis, such as when a homeowner moves out of town.
WEST BOYLSTON October 23, 2014)— As you may have heard in the news, the investor owned utilities (IOU) are significantly increasing their electric rates. The good news is that West Boylston’s electricity rates are not increasing. In fact, WBMLP’s electricity rates haven’t significantly changed or increased since 2009. WBMLP maintains some of the lowest possible electric rates in Massachusetts, especially compared to the investor owned utilities.
The average homeowner in West Boylston consumed approximately 750 kWh’s per month and spent approximately $97.16 per month for that electricity between July 2013 and July 2014. As you can see in the chart below, WBMLP’s average residential electricity rate is lower than the investor owned utility residential rates in Massachusetts. This comparison does not even include the IOU rate increases you’re hearing about! Our large commercial and industrial electricity rates are also much lower than the comparable IOU rates.
WEST BOYLSTON (January 24, 2014)— US-based renewable energy company First Wind and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. (MMWEC) signed an agreement that will bring renewable energy from First Wind’s planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, ME to 17 Massachusetts municipal utilities including West Boylston Municipal Light Plant. Under a 25-year, fixed-price contract, First Wind will sell nearly 75 percent of the power and capacity generated at the 51 MW wind farm to MMWEC. MMWEC will resell the power and capacity at cost to 17 of its member municipal utilities. Burlington, VT Electric Department in Vermont is purchasing the remaining energy from the project.
MMWEC’s commitment to renewable energy includes the financing and development of numerous wind and solar resources in conjunction with its member utilities. Such resources include the 15 MW Berkshire Wind Power Project in western Massachusetts and several smaller municipal wind and solar projects. When built, the Hancock Wind project will feature 17 turbines with a capacity of 3 MW each and be situated near the operating 34 MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County, ME, which began operations in November 2012.
The energy from the Hancock Wind project is being sold to MMWEC at a cost-competitive price that will help to stabilize the utilities’ rates over the 25 years of the contract. First Wind currently operates five wind projects in Maine and one in Sheffield, VT. Combined, the six projects generate enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes. In addition, First Wind is currently building four solar projects in Massachusetts, which will be in operation in 2014.
WEST BOYLSTON (May 29, 2013)— The Boylston and West Boylston Light Departments are replacing its jointly owned 38 year old transmission substation equipment located on Temple Street, West Boylston MA. The site is presently under construction and may make for a good story. The new electrical substation provides both Town’s, redundant equipment, for highly reliable electric service to our customers. This critical substation provides our point of connection to the regional electric transmission system managed by ISO-NE.
The project to enlarge and replace the substation is approximately $4.5M. The entire substation is designed to handle the electric load of both Town’s. This design feature allows each Light Department to provide 100% redundant backup to the other, in the event of equipment failure or transmission connection failure. Without this design and the sharing of joint substation equipment and the connection to the New England electrical transmission system, Boylston and West Boylston would have to pay for the entire substation on its own. BMLD and WBMLP expect to complete the project by the end of October 2013.
WEST BOYLSTON (July 19, 2012)— Solar energy production could be the future for the town-owned land on Paul X. Tivnan Drive. Selectmen last week heard presentations from two companies seeking to put a solar farm on the land. With several financial questions still unanswered, however, further discussion was put off until August.
Borrego Solar joined SPG Solar, a company that had already held informal talks with department heads through a “Project Roundtable” meeting in March, in presenting plans for a roughly 4 megawatt producing facility.
Both presented plans that did differ somewhat. But, neither presentation had been made to the Board of Light Commissioners, which still has to enter its own agreement to buy energy at the rates proposed to selectmen. more...
WEST BOYLSTON (Nov. 9, 2012)
To the editor: We wish to express our gratitude to the staff of the West Boylston Municipal Light Plant, who spent Hurricane Sandy away from their homes, manning the phones and responding to incidents in town.
When a large tree branch fell and disrupted our power during the storm, the employees of the Light Plant were on the scene and quickly put things to right. And while we are especially grateful for their emergency response, we are also aware of the excellent electrical service we receive throughout the year. West Boylston is fortunate to enjoy an exemplary municipal utility. more...
WEST BOYLSTON (Sept. 23, 2010) — Though 100 years old this year, the West Boylston Municipal Light Plant is touting a youthful look for its age, according to
recent promotional materials. And, when the sun’s rays settle over West Boylston this winter, the town’s carbon footprint will begin to shrink.
The Light Plant General Manager expects the Light Plant’s newest green energy project, a 1,760 panel photovoltaic solar project at the base of Paul X. Tivnan Drive, to begin operating in November.
Built over eight rows, each 242 feet long, project designers were careful to take into account the topography, White said. Rather than level the field, the support poles were cut to match the ground. “We didn’t want to disturb the topography of the lot,” White said. “We kept the groundwork to a minimum.”
Once operating, the panels will generate more than 450,000 kilowatt hours of pollution-free. more...