October 6, 2008
National Grid Announces Plan for New Solar Energy Program in Massachusetts
Company First to Respond Under Green Communities Act
Debbie Drew, 781-907-1753
National Grid today announced that it has made an informational filing with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities its plan to develop and own new solar generation in the Commonwealth. The company is the first in Massachusetts to present its proposal under the state's new legislation, the Green Communities Act, which allows utilities to develop and own up to 50 megawatts of solar generating facilities by 2010.
National Grid's proposal includes:
-- Developing, building, and owning solar installations across the state, initially at four National Grid-owned locations in the Greater Boston area,
-- Working with customers throughout Massachusetts to identify locations where National Grid would install, own and maintain solar generation on customer-owned buildings or properties -- such as state and federal government-owned buildings and public schools in the Commonwealth -- and promoting solar education and science curricula in schools where solar systems are located, and
-- Providing education and advice to customers who want to participate in existing solar initiatives as a supplement to National Grid's energy efficiency programs.
"We are pleased to take a leadership role in promoting renewables, an important part of the Green Communities Act. We believe that developing solar generation can offer very real benefits to our customers and complements our existing portfolio of energy efficiency programs across the Northeast," said Tom King, president of National Grid in the U.S.
"We are taking tangible action now to implement our solar program that will deliver clean electricity power resources. This is another way in which we can help safeguard our environment for future generations by helping to mitigate the effects of global climate change."
As part of its plan, National Grid has proposed installation of solar panels at four company-owned sites that have sufficient space and can best assist in relieving electricity congestion points. These locations are in:
-- Revere -- Wharf Street - National Grid proposes a 1.5 MW solar installation;
-- Dorchester - Victory Road -- The site of National Grid's natural gas tank visible from I-93 south of Boston. National Grid proposes a 1 mw solar installation at this site;
-- Everett -- Rover Street - National Grid proposes a 1.5 MW solar installation; and
-- Haverhill -- Hilldale Road - the company proposes a 1 MW solar installation at this location.
Following engineering, licensing and permitting, and working closely with the host communities, the company expects to break ground on the new installations during the spring of 2009.
Preliminarily, National Grid estimates that designing and building the four new solar sites will cost approximately $38 million, which could be offset by the amount of energy produced and available subsidies. If approved, the company anticipates these solar installations could cost its customers in Massachusetts approximately 8 cents per month.
"These installations are just a start for us; in the coming months, we expect to expand our program to include installations on customers' properties including municipal, state and federally owned buildings. Massachusetts' public schools also are included, as is providing education and advice on solar generation for our customers," King said. "Through implementation of this plan, we will help diversify the Commonwealth's renewable energy portfolio and further develop utility-scale solar generation that will be critical in advancing the development of the solar industry in the state."
National Grid has more than 20 years of experience in the solar industry, beginning with the first large scale photovoltaic installation on 30 homes during the late 1980s in Gardner, Mass. In recent years, the company has connected approximately 4.7 MW of distributed solar generation on the New England electricity system and it administered the installation of more than 1,700 solar photovoltaic systems in Long Island, New York.
National Grid is an international energy delivery company. In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.
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