The greening of Marion
To the Editor:
Are you ready for some good news for a change? Then read on!
The mission of Marion’s Energy Management Committee (EMC) is to pursue opportunities to move Marion toward renewable power, conserve energy, and in the process, also save money.
As the urgency to address the climate crisis gains prominence and momentum around the world, contributions by local communities are crucial to help move the needle. We thought
you’d like to know about your town’s recent progress on this front.
Back in 2016 the EMC helped negotiate a power purchase agreement to supply all of Marion’s municipal electricity from the wind turbines in Plymouth at a substantial discount. As of this
writing, the agreement has saved the town over $275,000.
In 2018, after a four-year effort led by the EMC, Marion achieved the designation of a Massachusetts Green Community, opening the door to substantial grants to pay for improvements to town facilities that increase energy efficiency. The initial Green Community funds are already at work: installing energy-efficient lighting in Sippican School and replacing
the fire station’s old boiler with a high-efficiency system.
As a part of our qualification process for Green Communities, the town’s energy use has been cataloged into an online monitoring system that will track energy use (electricity and fuels) to
help identify new opportunities to save energy and to document savings from upgraded facilities.
The EMC replaced of all the town’s street lights with LED fixtures, saving about $16,000/year in electricity costs. A grant through the Green Communities program helped pay for the new fixtures.
Two town employees are driving new all-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrids whose leases are almost completely funded with state grants, an initiative originally pursued by EMC members. Two
more vehicles are on the way.
In collaboration with the Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, Town Planner, and Department of Public Works, the EMC is leading an effort to identify the town’s vulnerabilities to coastal flooding, which poses the greatest environmental threat to our property and infrastructure. A state grant has funded a study of our sewage pumping stations, all of which are threatened by storm flooding.
The previously-approved solar project on our capped landfill — stalled because of insufficient capacity in the electrical grid network — is being revived with the help of a regional consultant.
Stay tuned for news about this project.
If you are concerned about the risks posed by climate change, rising energy costs, and environmental deterioration, please consider joining the EMC team. We are looking for new members who are passionate about continuing our momentum – as a town and as a country.
Please come to one of our meetings to find out more, or contact the Town Planner, Gil Hilario at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Marion Energy Management Committee