Sterling, MA — Battery Energy Storage with Solar at a Municipal Light Company
On a recent sunny Saturday, Pat Larson and Janice Kurkoski traveled to Sterling Mass to attend a tour, organized by the Mass Climate Action Network (MCAN), of the grid-tied battery storage project at the Sterling Municipal Light Department’s substation. Installed in 2016, it is the first utility-scale battery storage project in New England, The $2.5 million project was built with a $1.46 million grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The project is estimated to pay for itself in 2 years, (or in 6 years if no grants were included). In addition to its backup function for the local police station, Sterling Municipal uses the batteries to shave peak load and reduce the amount of expensive power it has to buy from the ISO New England during times of high demand. Last year alone, the project saved the utility $400,000. The utility can then pass these savings onto their customers in the form of lower rates, which are around 30% lower than what neighboring National Grid customers pay.
Even more exciting is the fact that the battery storage is coupled with a large Sterling Municipal-owned solar project just up the road, which allows them to charge the batteries during the day with power from their solar panels, then return the power from the batteries to their grid into the evening after the sun fades. Across the street from the substation, another large roof-top PV array is about to go on line. The latter is a Power Purchase Agreement with Origis Energy USA, and is dubbed the “Sterling Community Solar & Energy Storage” project.
Can Soil Carbon seeRestoration in Farming Reduce Climate Change? Watch several very short films and hear from local farmers talk about practices on their land that works to put carbon back into the soil. Attend the final Reverence, Resistance, Resilience Film Series on Thurs., April 12th at 6 p.m. at the Athol Public Library. Panelists will include: Ricky Baruc (https://seedsofsolidarity.org), Ridge Shinn (https://www.bigpicturebeef.com), Caro Roszell of Wendell, Sharon Gensler (NOFA-Outreach) and Julie Rawson (http://mhof.net)
On the NOFA/Mass website you will find more about the issue of soil carbon restoration including a short video, the NOFA White Paper on “Soil Carbon Restoration” and other resources. Go to NOFA/Mass website – https://www.nofamass.org/carbon.
All eighth grade students at Mahar Regional School participated in a renewable energy workshop recently. North Quabbin Energy members worked with Susan Reyes along with science teachers Victoria Flood and Jennifer Scotland to help enthusiastic teams of students experiment with wind energy.
Susan Reyes, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) educator from Shutesbury, led the workshop and asked eighth grade science students, in teams of four, to build small wind turbines. Each team had to decide how to build the small wind turbine and then test it with 1,2,3,4 and 6 blades. Once student teams built their wind turbines, they placed them in front of household fans to substitute for the real wind. Students recorded their outputs with multi-meters attached to the wind turbines to see how quickly the blade moved. This project was organized by members of North Quabbin Energy and supported with a grant from the NQ Garlic and Arts Festival Community Grant Program.
Reverence, Resistance and Resilience Film Series Continues on March 15, 2018
Reverence, Resistance, Resilience film series: Two Short Films on a Future Worth Winning
Thursday March 15, 2018, 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM Athol Public Library, 568 Main Street, Athol (Large Program Room)
The Economics of Happiness (20 minutes) and
Joanna Macy and the Great Turning (26 minutes).
Free and Open to the Public. Light refreshments, courtesy of the Friends of the Athol Public Library. Discussion to follow with Anna Gyorgy from the Wendell Energy Committee moderating. As seating is limited, call 978-249-9515 to reserve a place.
Town Energy Committees Continue Work on Energy Reduction Projects
In 2008-2009 North Quabbin Energy began work to help citizens organize energy committees in towns of the region. As 2017 came to a close, all the towns North Quabbin Energy worked with over the course of almost ten years have received Green Communities Designation from the MA Department of Energy Resources. The latest towns to receive this designation include Orange and Royalston.
Orange — The town will receive a designation grant of $159,830 to work on energy efficiency in town buildings to save on both heating and electricity costs.
Royalston — The town will receive a designation grant of $129,365 to work on energy reduction projects in town buildings.
Other towns in the region who already have Green Communities designation include: Athol (2010), New Salem (2010), Petersham (2012), Wendell (2012), Warwick (2014), Erving (2016-17).
Work of Town Energy Committees and North Quabbin Energy continues in 2018 with several events….
Friday, February 2, 2018 — Wendell. The Wendell Town Energy Committee will sponsor their 2nd Annual Ground Hog Day Energy Event from 6-8:30 at the Wendell Town Hall. Pot-luck supper with a chance to hear reports and updates on the Wendell Community Solar Coop, Green Communities and other work.
The Reverence, Resistance and Resilience Film Series will continue at the Athol Library with North Quabbin Energy as a co-sponsor.
Thurs., March 15 at 6 p.m. — “The Economics of Happiness” & “The Great Turning.”
Thurs., April 12 at 6 p.m. — “Soil Carbon Cowboys”
Resistance at Standing Rock — Final Fall Film at Athol Public Library on December 5th at 6 p.m.
AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock AWAKE follows the dramatic rise of the historic #NODAPL native-led peaceful resistance at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North Dakota, which captured the world’s attention. Thousands of activists converged from around the country to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors (activists) protesting the construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The Water Protectors at Standing Rock have awakened the nation and forever changed the way we fight for clean water, the environment and the future of our planet.
The Reverence, Resistance, Resilience Film Series is a collaboration with the Athol Public Library and North Quabbin Energy. Please call Athol Library at 978-249-9515 to reserve a spot.
Fall Film Series Continues at Athol Public Library
November 1 from 7-9 p.m. — The second film in this series continues with Requiem for theAmerican Dream. This film features Noam Chomsky who spent time interviewing many people who bring insight to growing inequality in the United States. This film gives viewers a background on policies that allow having the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. Tim Downs, a professor of environmental science and policy at Clark University, will lead a discussion following the film. The Reverence, Resistance, Resilience Film Series is a collaboration with the Athol Public Library and North Quabbin Energy. Please call Athol Library at 978-249-9515 to reserve a spot.
Work by Town Energy Committees Call for Action
Orange Town Energy Committee is calling on residents to attend the Fall Special Town Meeting on Thursday, October 26th at 7 p.m. at Orange Town Hall and to vote YES on the Stretch Energy Code so the town can move forward with a Green Communities Designation Grant Application this year.
No. Quabbin Energy & Athol Library Team up to Present Fall Film Series
October 11th from 7-9 p.m. — This series begins with a showing of Before the Flood with Leonardo DiCaprio. The Reverence, Resistance, Resilience Film Series is a collaboration with the Athol Public Library and North Quabbin Energy. Please call Athol Library at 978-249-9515 to reserve a spot.
What local, regional, and state projects can people work on now?
The climate crisis calls on us to continue our work in each community. There are many activities that individuals can do on their own or with groups in the area. Some of these include:
Speak up about climate change by writing a letter to the editor of local newspaper to talk about the need for energy conservation, efficiency and renewables. Talk with your local legislators about these same issues. For more information on Mass Power Forward Coalition and Clean Energy Legislative Priorities for 2017-18 go to http://mapowerforward.com/legislative-agenda-2017-2018
Get involved with the work of town energy committees in the North Quabbin region. To learn about the accomplishments of town energy committees see NQ Town Accomplishments GC… .
Contact Governor Baker to ask him to speak out against new gas pipelines and support more renewable energy projects in the state.
Attend a gathering of the MA Clean Energy Tour! — These are similar to Commonwealth Conversations – The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change chaired by Sen. Pacheco is hosting hearings throughout the Commonwealth to get input from you on pressing issues in clean energy and climate. The hearing schedule for June includes: June 12th in Springfield at 6 p.m. at Western New England University’s School of Law. For complete information on all the hearings in June go to https://malegislature.gov/cleanenergyfuture.
Keene, NH – Climate March. Carpooling from Warwick — carpooling from Warwick to Keene (meet at 8:30 at Metcalf Chapel on Athol Road in Warwick, MA to carpool). The day begins at 9:30am with a meet up of all marchers with signs, costumes, puppets and noise makers in the parking lot behind Margarita’s restaurant. At 10:00 am the March commences up both sides of Main St and up to Central Square. Rally from 11:00am-1:00pm.
Springfield, MA — Climate March at 3 p.m. – March will begin at the Federal Courthouse on State Street in Springfield and proceed to Springfield City Hall where it will culminate in a rally featuring local speakers, artists, and musicians. For more information see