Antecedent site:

For Concord list:

Detail on carbon reduction and cost saving

First, the cost savings:

In-town generation of electricity saves both

  • transmission costs (to transport supplies from outside town), and
  • forward capacity charges (a regulatory fee to incent new generating capacity, but not charged if the supply is in-town).

These combined savings are estimated at about 8 to 9 cents a kWH. This lowers the 11 to 12 cents bid prices to a very attractive level, relative to other sources for the town’s electricity.

But this attractive price is only on the Tioga portion, a quite small part of Concord’s need, perhaps half a percent if the Ammendolia land should prove to be off the table. Despite the dramatically low 'cents per kWH' price, the saving in fact is not significant.

There would be an additional cost saving from the Tioga bid. The level of Concord’s ‘peak demand’ is fixed annually – typically on some afternoon in June, July or August. That peak demand moment determines what will be the two cost elements above, for the next year, that is both transmission costs and capacity charges. Solar should lower that peak demand – that is, the max demand Concord places on external transmission and on external capacity. The consequent saving on the capacity charge is across, not just the Tioga portion, but all of Concord's energy purchases.

But this latter saving from peak reduction is certainly not as large, for instance, as the $2.3 million lost by not locking in the Morgan Stanley project. In fact at the Selectmen's hearing Sep 27, that savings amount was testified to be $125 thousand per MW of reduced peak. With no more than half a MW reduction anticipated now, there are perhaps $65 thousand projected savings on forward capacity charges. That amount is in the context of roughly $20 million in total CMLP energy purchases annually – less than a third of a percent.

Thus there are cost savings in these two ways. But the savings for transmission cost on perhaps half a percent of electricity is quite small. The savings potential from reduced demand is not material at CMLP's scale.

(It is also important to note that savings on demand reduction, to lower the forward capacity charge, could become more material for us some years in the future. Then there might be a fortunate confluence of lower capital costs for solar and our need to use solar for reducing peak demand.)

Now, carbon reduction:

If the Tioga bid is accepted, that will cause investment in solar technology. Solar technology is about twice as expensive per unit of output as other available renewable options. (The prior solar site documents this cost differential verifiably.) So:

A dollar directed to solar will fail to reduce twice the carbon that the dollar might otherwise have reduced, applied to other renewables. In Concord’s case:

By one established conversion factor (957 lbs/MWH), the projected Tioga output for one year, all parcels, (3,733,228 kWH) would remove 1,950 tons of carbon. By going with Tioga, all parcels, Concord will fail to reduce an equal amount, another 1,950 tons of carbon annually

Concord has entirely within its power whether it acts responsibly for the environment.