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Energy Committee
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BECKET ENERGY COMMITTEE (BEC)


MISSION
The committee's charge is to advise the Becket Board of Selectmen and make recommendations about energy efficiency in town buildings and operations, ensure compliance with the requirements of the Massachusetts Green Communities Program, investigate and recommend renewable and alternate energy opportunities for Becket's municipal government, advise and assist the town and community to identify and apply for energy and conservation related grants and funding opportunities, educate residents about ways that they can save energy and reduce energy payments, advise them on energy-related issues and recommend specific initiatives.


MEMBERS

Name
Title
Term
Cathy DeFoe
Member
2017
Garth Klimchuk
Chair
2018
Alvin Blake
Member
2019
Robert Gross
Vice Chair
2019
Katherine Hoak
Secretary
2018
Chris Bouchard
Ex-Officio
-
Ed Gibson
Ex-Officio
-
Bill Girard
Ex-Officio
-
Dan Parnell
Ex-Officio
-


CONTACT
We look forward to hearing from you.  Please contact us at energy.committee@townofbecket.org with any questions, comments, requests or suggestions.  

THE BEC PLAN
The Town of Becket took its first steps towards implementing a more dedicated plan of energy reduction and greater use of renewable energy by becoming a Commonwealth Green Community on May 10, 2010.  As a result of this effort, the Town was awarded $141,326 to undertake the following projects: i) energy audits to identify energy usage and energy efficiency measures of the Town Hall and the Highway Garage, ii) installation of a high EER/SEER central air conditioning system and occupancy sensors in all rooms in the Town Hall and iii) building improvements including insulation, repair of and sealing of overhead garage doors and a programmable thermostat in the Highway Garage. The Town looked at a total of seven municipal facilities for potential energy upgrades: Becket Town Hall; Fire Station #1; Fire Station #2 and Ambulance Garage; the Becket Highway Department Garage; the Becket Washington School, which is managed by the Central Berkshire Regional School District; and the Mullen House and the Becket Arts Center. Using federal Green Communities grant funding, stimulus funds, town funds and Community Preservation Act funds, the following projects were implemented:
  • Fire Station #2 and Ambulance Garage - energy retrofit with a new Viesseman Propane Boiler, sprayed-on open and closed insulation, and reconfigured the space for energy conservation.  Since completion in July 2011, the retrofit has achieved approximately 121 million Btus of energy savings.
  • Town Hall – installed occupancy sensors and air sealed the attic.
  • Highway Garage – Sealed the building envelope, installed overhead doors, new insulation and resided the building.
  • Mullen House – installed new insulation, a programmable thermostat and high efficiency water heater, and repaired the foundation.  
The BEC will continue this effort as required under our charge and will work to provide the Town, its residents and businesses with the resources needed to make informed decisions about reducing their energy consumption and carbon footprint.  

We have established several short and long-term goals as follows:

Short Term Goals (Within One Year):
  • Provide a broad list of information resources and tools via the website herein.
  • Develop resident-based energy reduction information package.
  • Work with adjacent townships to consider membership into Solarize Mass program.  
  • Establish workshops and seminars for residents (residential and commercial) focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, permitting processes, and other relevant topics.
  • Analyze current and historic energy costs of each Town-owned building and identify additional opportunities to reduce energy consumption on a building-by-building basis.  
  • Identify and inventory Town-owned resources (land greater than 5 acres, roofs, etc) that could be utilized to reduce the Town’s energy bill and carbon footprint through dedicated renewable energy resources.
  • Examine state and regionally-based programs and proposals to see if there is a potential to offer such programs to residents and businesses of Becket to reduce their energy consumption.  
  • Assist Town commercial businesses to identify and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Long Term Goals (Beyond One Year):
  • Determine viability through a Request For Proposal program of Town-owned renewable energy projects such as commercial scale solar and wind, waste-to-energy, geothermal, small-scale hydro or other potential resources on landfills or other Town-owned space five acres or greater.   
  • Determine viability of power aggregation strategy with Washington or other adjacent towns to reduce cost of power purchases through wholesale bidding.
  • Determine viability of creating a Town of Becket municipal power company  (municipalization / microgrid) to control costs, implement Town sustainability and renewable energy objectives and reduce dependency on WMECO.

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
The BEC will be hosting workshops for Town residents.  Those dates and locations will be posted here.  The following topics are being considered:
  • Mass Save primer – review of steps to implement a residential energy efficiency plan
  • Overview of selection, installation and financial implications of residential solar with focus on real-life experiences
  • Ins and outs of solar thermal water heating
  • Overview of renewable energy resources that exist for residential and commercial users
  • Grid independence for commercial and residential users
  • Residential and commercial geothermal
  • Power aggregation for Becket
  • Overview and opportunities for small scale wind turbines
HISTORY OF TOWN ENERGY RELATED ACCOMPLISHMENTS
March 31, 2014
BEC launches website
October 23, 2013
Board of Selectman establishes Becket Energy Committee
August 2013
Town completes highway garage energy efficiency project
May 20, 2010
Town initiates energy efficiency projects
May 10, 2010
Becket is designated a Green Community


Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do If I Lose Power – review of typical questions relating to power outages and safety.  

Frequently Asked Questions on Energy Efficiency – review of typical questions relating to improved energy efficiency programs available to residents.

Frequently Asked Questions on Solar – review of typical questions relating to the installation of solar systems.

Frequently Asked Questions on Renewable Energy – review of typical questions relating to residential-based renewable energy systems.  

INFORMATION RESOURCES

Town of Becket Related Information and Resources
Town of Becket Small Wind Energy Systems Zoning By-Laws – Section 6.5 of Town zoning by-laws focused specifically on wind energy systems with heights less than or equal to 200 feet.

Town of Becket Large Wind Energy Systems Zoning By-Laws - Section 6.7 of Town zoning by-laws focused specifically on wind energy systems with heights greater than 200 feet.

Town of Becket Large Scale Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installation Zoning By-Laws – Section 6.6 of Town zoning by-laws focused specifically on solar PV systems with a minimum nameplate capacity of 250 kilowatts (kW) of direct current (DC) capacity.

Becket Green Community Annual Report – annual submission to the state detailing the Town’s accomplishments under the Green Communities Act.  

Town of Becket Building Codes – link of the newly enacted Stretch Energy Codes.


General Resources and Incentive Programs
Mass Clean Energy Center – MassCEC acts as a connector between established and startup clean energy companies, investors, strategic corporate partners and large energy users in Massachusetts and supports local incubators, business accelerator competitions, job training, networking events and provides seed investments for technology companies.  This link takes you to their “Clean Energy for Residential” site.  

Center for EcoTechnology - The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) helps people carry out their daily activities with less environmental impact by providing practical solutions that save energy, materials and money and have a positive impact on our environment and community. The company serves residents, business and communities in the areas of energy efficiency and green building, green homes and businesses, and through its retail store – EcoBuilding Bargains.  CET is a 35-year-old non-profit organization with offices in Pittsfield, Northampton and Springfield, Massachusetts.  

Energy and Environmental Affairs - Frequently asked questions for residents regarding ability to choose an alternative supplier to WMECO.

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources – state agency focused on funding and development of improved energy efficiency and clean energy resources.  

WMECO EnergyWise – local utility website focused on energy saving tips and renewable energy information.  

Mass Save Incentive Programs - The sponsors of Mass Save work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.

Solar II Rebate Program – state program that involves the distribution of rebates for solar PV systems connected to the grid.  The program provides rebates on a “first-come, first-serve” basis for any residential and commercial projects up to 15kW in capacity.  

Net Metering – WMECO description of state net metering program with access to tariff  information and an application.

DOE Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency – Federal database describing all state renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives.

Energy Efficiency
WMECO Residential Program – local utility website focused on their residential energy efficiency programs.

Western Mass Saves – free tool to monitor monthly energy use and a rewards program for those who reduce their energy use.  

HomeMPG - energy saving initiative within the Mass Save® Home Energy Services Program. This community-based initiative uses one simple number, called an “Energy Performance Score” (EPS), to define a home’s energy performance level.

Energy Saver – Federal government sponsored website that provides resources to understanding energy usage and ways to improve efficiencies and overall cost.

Renewable Energy Resources
Solar Electric (PV)
MassCEC Solar Electric Site – resource for solar electric in general and solar PV energy in Massachusetts.  

MassCEC Solar Installer Resource – resource providing guidance in the selection of a solar installer as well a list of solar projects that have been built as part of the MassCEC rebate programs.  

EnergySage – provides quotes from multiple qualified solar installers, calculates the financial metrics and provides ability to compare quotes free of charge.

Solar Hot Water
MassCEC Solar Hot Water – resource for solar hot water in general as well as a review of state benefits.

Wind
US DOE Small Scale Wind - Wind Powering America, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), produced Small Wind Electric Systems Consumer's Guides to help homeowners, ranchers, and small businesses decide if wind energy will work for them.

US DOE Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications – Federal government sponsored report focused on a review of the overall market for small, medium-scale and utility-scale applications of wind energy systems in the context of distributed systems - systems connected on the customer side of the meter or directly to a local grid to support grid operations or offset large loads.  

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Small Wind Testing – in order to assist the small wind industry and provide consumers with more certified small wind turbine systems, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy (NREL/DOE) launched this independent testing project in 2007.

Geothermal
US DOE Geothermal Program - Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) that works in partnership with industry, academia, and DOE's national laboratories to establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the U.S. energy supply.

New England Geothermal Professional Association - regional non-profit association advocating for the development of geothermal systems as a dependable, cost-effective, renewable resource for New England.  It is a group of individuals and companies representing all disciplines involved in the geothermal value chain.

Small Scale Hydro
Energy Saver - Federal government sponsored website that provides excellent resources to understanding micro hydropower systems.  

General Overview of Small Scale Hydro  – description of small-scale hydro with access to additional resources.

Small Hydro International Gateway – provides access to information and other resources focused on technology, regulatory issues and development.  

Green Communities
Green Communities Act  - state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs review of the objectives of the Green Communities Act.    

MassCEC Community Energy Strategies Program – represents one of the best sites for those interested in installing solar electric or solar thermal in the home or business.  The CESP provides local residents and businesses an opportunity to work with municipal leaders to identify and enable new energy efficiency, renewable energy and renewable heating cooling projects and programs.  Through this process, the expectation is that participating Green Community Act communities can create clean energy road maps that outline the mix of projects best suited to address local interests, needs and opportunities for clean energy development.  

Municipalization and Microgrids
Municipalization – American Public Power Association review of the process, pros and cons of creating a municipal power utility.  

Microgrid Institute - Microgrid Institute is a collaborative organization that focuses on key issues affecting microgrids and distributed energy resources (DER) around the world. Its efforts address market development and analysis, regulatory and financial models, and project feasibility and structuring.




 
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