Live Green

Sustainable Belmont March '11 Meeting Minutes.   
      March 2, 2011
      Flett Room,  Belmont Public Library  7-9pm

Those in attendance:  Jennifer Santoro, Roger Colton, Jan Kruse, Ed Crisafi, Judy Otto, Ron Geiger, Gary Fauth, Jennifer Page, Phil Thayer, Marty Cohen, Kurt Reiss, Jennifer Kundrot, Natalie Trusso, Heidi Baram, Paul Solomon, John Kolterman and John McAlpin.

Special Guests:
    Nancy Brockway and Gil Myette

Upcoming dates of interest:
   3/12/11  - Environmental Action Conference
                    Bentley University  Waltham, MA

4/6/11 - April Sustainable Belmont Meeting
             7-9pm  Belmont Public Library 

We had two speakers on two topics.  The first speaker was Gil Myette.  He is an Energy Portfolio Manager with Energy New England who happens to purchase all the RECs for BMLD.

Gil gave nice presentation of what RECs are, their role in promoting the rollout of renewable energy and how they get priced.
REC is an acronym for "Renewable Energy Credit" with each REC representing 1 megawatt of renewable energy used to produce electricity.  

As part of the Global Warming Solutions Act, Massachusetts created a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which aims to have 25% of the state's electrical power needs met by renewable energy by the year 2020.  RECs are the vehicle used by the producers of utility scale electricity for getting there.

While there are 20 classes of RECs, only 3 or 4 are actively used within Massachusetts.  The most prevalent of these being the Class 1 REC which pertain to certain renewable sources (wind, solar, landfill methane, etc) that have gone into production since 1997.  

Our second speaker was Nancy Brockway, an expert on the topic of security and privacy implications surrounding the rollout of smart meters.  She led off with the statement that smart meters are inevitable, the real question is when Belmont should embark on this journey.  While much of the US and Europe have already implemented smart meters on a grand scale, technologies and standards are still evolving.  

Smart metering entails the digital transmission and storage of your electrical usage at a very granular level (15 minute to 1 hour intervals), which introduces a host privacy issues.

Another topic she introduced was a mechanism for funding energy conservation measures at the commercial and residential levels.  This program is called "pay as you save," or PAYS.  The interesting feature of this is that the loan for your efficiency measures is tied to the "meter" and not the home owner.  For example, if you take out a loan for $10K to make your dwelling more energy efficient and then move after 3 years, the sale of your property would include a provision that the new owner, or renter, would be responsible for the residual of the loan payments, until the loan is paid in full or they move on to another property, which ever comes first.  Something like this could be a great fit for Belmont.  If you're interested to learn more, check out:

Respectfully submitted,
John Kolterman


Green Living Tip

Consider purchasing one or more RECs from BMLD.   These RECs cost $6 / month beyond what you  already pay.  Each REC  purchased represents 100 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity.  Besides offsetting some of your carbon footprint, they promote the development of renewable energy.