SEC Makes Advances: Waste Cleanup and Solar Installation
On Thursday, November 16, members of the Sustainable Energy Commission (SEC) met to discuss significant updates on two distinct initiatives aimed at making the aspirations of conservation and renewability a reality.
Firstly, preliminary discussions continued in the ongoing planning process surrounding a cleanup initiative at the property of the former Batchelder aluminum smelting site in Botsford.
The site, located at 44-46 Swamp Road, has gone essentially neglected since its abandonment in 1987.
Since that time, the former Batchelder property has not only gone unused and unimproved, but it has also contributed to a significant environmental contamination risk due to the thousands of cubic yards of metallic dross located at the site — representing literal tons of hazardous waste material.
To address these concerns, the SEC has been tasked with developing a plan for removing the waste and restoring the property to a usable condition.
According to commission Chair Kathy Quinn, however, this initiative is still very much in the planning process, and interested members of the public should eagerly await further updates on the project in the coming months as it continues to move forward.
In other news, state authorities have approved the funding of a sizable solar installation on the roof of Head O’Meadow Elementary School. This installation was one of four proposals submitted, and the only one to have been accepted at this point.
“It’s a 200 kilowatt rooftop system that will be installed under the Buy All Program. Direct solar goes into the grid, and the Board of Ed will actually get a check out of it,” Director of Public Works Fred Hurley told The Newtown Bee.
According to Hurley, the construction will involve absolutely no expense on the part of the Board of Education. In this sense, the Town will benefit financially from renewable energy generation, supporting environmental sustainability while also generating revenue.
“It’s a net cash payment to them,” he explained, “It’s equivalent to having a lease on the roof, if you will.”
The remaining three projects also proposed by the SEC, though, are currently suspended in an ongoing review process that will not be complete until early next year. Until then, it falls upon Eversource — our local utility provider — as well as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to determine if the outstanding proposals meet their guidelines for acceptance.
“We have filed a request to PURA that all the projects that are in the queue should be left in the queue for the February l round. All of these projects should be at the head of the line before any new projects get processed,” said Hurley.
In this way, he hopes to ensure that the remaining three projects proposed by the SEC take priority during the approved process. Whether any concessions from the regulatory agency will be forthcoming, however, remains to be seen.
Reporter Owen Tanzer can be reached at email@example.com