HOLDEN, Mass. — Holden selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to support exploring a renewable energy project in Holden. The Holden Municipal Light Department will conduct a solicitation of interest from potential developers.
According to Light Manager Jim Robinson, there has been active interest in production scale renewable energy projects in town, with numerous developers inquiring over the past year about building a system in Holden and selling power to the Light Department.
A developer recently expressed specific interest in a 3.6 - 4 megawatt photovoltaic project for the area off Quinapoxet Street. The HMLD recommended to the Board of Selectmen a solicitation for other photovoltaic projects to determine what other opportunities might exist.
"For a project such as this, there are really three major factors that have to be considered," said Robinson, local support, the technical impact of such a project, and the economics of the power supply arrangement.
Though Robinson could not disclose specifics about the project, he did reveal that it would be a 3.6 - 4.0 megawatt photovoltaic system located somewhere off Quinapoxet Street, would put out 4.8 million to 5.3 million KWH per year, has a contract term of 20 years, and pricing set at 6-7 cents/KWH and escalating to 8 to 9 cents in year 20.
Though he said this project warrants serious review, the Light Department will work to develop outreach to see what other opportunities might also be available.
"In as much as the current or another opportunity may be attractive, there are several criteria that must be met, including the terms of the power purchase agreement, before a final arrangement would be brought back to the board for action," explained Robinson.
"We might find that there's nothing that's been proposed to us that makes sense for the town right now," he said.
Selectmen supported going forward with the exploration to see if such a project, or others, would feasible.
Though voting in support of beginning the investigation process as well, Selectman Jim Jumonville stressed the issue of where the project would be located, given its potential impact on abutters.