North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival Celebrates 20 Years — Sept. 29-30

It is September and time for the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival  — Sept. 29-30, 2018. Join us in the Portal to Future for energy talks, activities, food and special activities brought to you by North Quabbin Energy and Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op. Plan to attend one of the Renewable Ener gy and Local Living Workshops —2018 Garlic & Arts RE-LL Talks Poster.

Moving Forward — Storage Batteries for Large Solar Projects

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.

Continue reading Moving Forward — Storage Batteries for Large Solar Projects

Putting Carbon Back in the Soil — How Do We Do This?

Did you miss the films about Carbon Sequestration and Finding Ways to Restore Soil and Reduce Climate Change?

You can find the films and more information on YouTube. For “4 Per 1000 -Soils for Food Security and Climate” see

For “Soil Solutions to Climate Problems” See 

For “Soil Carbon Cowboys”  see and for “Put Carbon Back Where It Belongs” see  You can also find other films on this topic on YouTube.

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 LibraryPanelists will include: Ricky Baruc (, Ridge Shinn (, Caro Roszell of Wendell, Sharon Gensler (NOFA-Outreach) and Julie Rawson (

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 –


North Quabbin Energy Continues with Education Projects

  Renewable Energy Activities at Mahar

Students (left to right) Piper Stephenson, Nicolas Caswell, Kye Austin and Robin Bousquet team up to build a small wind turbine.

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.

Continue reading North Quabbin Energy Continues with Education Projects

Beginning 2018….

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”

Resilience and Resistance — Garlic & Arts Workshops Online. Fall Films Continue

Renewable Energy and Local Living Workshops from Garlic & Arts Festival are now online  — See 2017 Garlic & Arts Festival

See photos of 2017 Festival and other past festivals at 

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.


Focusing on Education and Projects Calling for Action by Citizens

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 the American DreamThis 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.

Royalston Energy Committee has their Fall Special Town Meeting on Friday, October 27th and is also asking people to vote YES on the Stretch Energy Code. Continue reading Focusing on Education and Projects Calling for Action by Citizens

Fall Film Series Begins

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.  

“Go Solar” at the 2017 North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival

This year at the Garlic and Arts Festival, North Quabbin Energy will be focusing on the theme “Go Solar,” with resources, games, and inspiration for bringing more solar power into your home and your life.

“Solar power” probably makes most people think of high-tech panels and technologies, and we’ll have information about those too, including incentives and strategies for installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on your own home or buying into shared generating projects. The tax and production incentives for home installations will be changing in March 2018, and we’ll be able to point you toward the latest info on what that will mean for homeowners.

But solar power can be the simplest and most low-tech, too! If the sun is out, we’ll demonstrate some techniques for solar cooking, as well as the “why” and “how” of letting the sun dry your laundry.

Make sure to visit our booth in the Portal to the Future area behind the main stage (you know you’re going to be coming back there anyway to get your Bart’s Ice Cream). While you’re there, test your knowledge about solar energy and make a flag to add to the beautiful installations at the new “Climate Action for All” section of the festival. There’s a presentation about electric bikes (rechargeable by the sun) at 2 pm on Saturday, and one at noon on Sunday on making New England’s power grid fully renewable and resilient. Click here for more about these and other great presentations at the Renewable Energy and Local Living tent.


2017 “Food from the North Quabbin” is live!

Like the slow, damp 2017 spring, extending right into the summer season, this year’s local food brochure has been slow getting going. But it’s available at last, here on our website as well as in area farmstands, stores, libraries, and other venues.

This year’s edition features a sidebar on small local food stores, a crucial piece of our local foodscape.

There are also listings for food producers in the nine North Quabbin towns plus Barre and Hardwick, as well as information about farmers markets, food-related festivals, and resources relating to food, farming, and gardening.