While Earth Day may only occur once a year, the Energy & Sustainability Committee (“ESC”) works year-round to create a more sustainable, energy-efficient community for all. The Committee’s mission is to identify and advise the Select Board on opportunities to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions and efficiently manage the municipal and school energy expenditures. The ESC often collaborates with the Facilities Department which oversees the operation of municipal and school buildings.
Green Municipal Energy Contracts
Since July 1, 2019, Bedford’s public schools and municipal buildings have been fully powered by green, renewable energy. Upon recommendation by the ESC and subsequent Select Board and School Committee approval, the Town’s energy policy was recently updated to reflect a commitment to 100% renewable energy for future contracts.
Community Choice Aggregation
The ESC is currently reviewing renewable energy options for residents and businesses as part of the Community Choice Aggregation (“CCA”) renewal process. Since December 2019, Bedford has offered a Community Choice Aggregation program for customers receiving basic electric service. Under the current contract, residents receive a total of 19% local, green energy (5% more than the 14% mandated by the state) at a stable, fixed price for the duration of the contract. CCA participants have the option to opt-up to 50% or 100% green energy. The contract is up for renewal in December, so contract negotiations are currently underway. The ESC is participating in the renewal process and will be presented with options for the amount of green energy to be included in the next contract. A CCA program is beneficial, as it increases the amount of green energy for basic service customers and provides stability through a fixed cost rather than subjecting customers to seasonal price fluctuations.
Net Zero & Hiring a Sustainability Coordinator
The Committee also follows climate-related state legislation and when appropriate, will submit letters of support to legislators and the Governor. The ESC publicly supported the recent Massachusetts landmark climate bill (S. 9 “An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy”) that was recently signed into law and provides clear guidelines for transitioning to renewable energy over the next three decades. The new state law aligns with Bedford’s Net Zero plan, which was approved by the Select Board in October 2019. The plan broadly outlines opportunities for Bedford to significantly reduce carbon emissions over the next three decades, thereby serving as a roadmap to achieve the state requirement of Net Zero emissions by 2050.
In order to achieve its Net Zero goal, Bedford needs to hire a sustainability director – someone who will coordinate across the departments and oversee the process. The ESC and the Bedford Chapter of Mothers Out Front are co-sponsoring a public forum with sustainability directors from neighboring towns on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Panelists include Ken Pruitt, Town of Arlington Energy Manager; Kate Hanley, Town of Concord Director of Sustainability; and Jillian Wilson-Martin, Town of Natick Sustainability Coordinator. This forum is an opportunity for the public to learn what a sustainability director does and how hiring one would benefit Bedford. Keep an eye out for more information and registration details in the coming weeks.
Join the Energy & Sustainability Committee!
The ESC is an appointed committee consisting of six appointed members and one Select Board liaison, for a total of seven voting members. There is currently one vacancy, so please click here to apply to the committee. Feel free to email the Committee at [email protected], if you have any questions or ideas to share. Meetings are monthly and currently conducted on Zoom to comply with Covid-19 protocols. Members of the public are encouraged to attend. Click here for more information about CCA, the Net Zero plan, and other Energy & Sustainability Committee events.