BURRILLVILLE – Pascoag Utility District has joined 20 public power utilities from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont in the largest publicly-owned electric utility purchase of “green power” in New England history, a contract for hydropower generated in Western Massachusetts that will lower the utility company’s greenhouse-gas emissions and overall carbon footprint at “a very competitive rate,” according to a release this week.
The purchase agreement, structured and negotiated between Energy New England and hydro generator FirstLight Power, will cover the year-round electric power demands of 23,000 typical homes across the region for the participating utilities for the next 10 years. By relying on clean hydropower from the Turners Falls and Cabot generating facilities on the Connecticut River in Montague, Mass., instead of electricity produced by natural gas or oil, the contract will deliver carbon-dioxide emissions reductions equal to taking 30,000 cars off the road by 2023, according to PUD officials.
“What FirstLight and Energy New England offered was an excellent opportunity to increase our procurement of clean, New England – based renewable energy, at highly competitive rates for our 4,900 business and residential customers,” said Mike Kirkwood, general manager of PUD, noting that the company is honored to be part of this history-making purchase of reliable, affordable energy.
“Never before have so many municipal light plants, municipal electric departments, and other public power utilities come together to buy emissions-free renewable power on this scale,’’ said Energy New England president and CEO John G. Tzimorangas.
Tzimorangas noted that the landmark transaction twill deliver environmental and economic benefits for years to come.
FirstLight CEO Alicia Barton said: “This landmark transaction demonstrates that New England municipal utilities are leading the charge nationally when it comes to delivering clean, locally-produced and lowcost power to their customers.
FirstLight’s Turners Falls and Cabot hydroelectric generating stations
have been generating renewable power for more than a century and help support more than 110 great jobs here in New England.
With this transaction we amplify those local benefits to help communities
across New England reach their carbon reduction goals.”
PUD, a quasi-municipal entity, has been serving electric and water customers in the northwest part of Rhode Island since 1887. PUD provides service to approximately 4,900 electric customers and 1,100 water customers.