Recently Ashland Citizens Action Committee (ACAC) met with a company called Citizens Energy for the second time regarding placing solar panels on the Nyanza site. About a year ago, they reached out to our group to hear our thoughts on placing solar panels on the aging cap. We voiced our concerns about the integrity of the cap, how Ashland will benefit from the solar panels, and how we can insure safety for the town of Ashland.
According to their website: Founded in 2010, Citizens Solar has become one of the largest solar developers in the state of Massachusetts. As of 2013, Citizens Solar completed the construction of a $50 million portfolio of nine distributed solar projects totaling over 18 megawatts.Citizens Solar works with a diverse array of government and private sector entities to develop solar sites, allowing our partners to save on electricity costs while contributing clean and green energy to the grid.
While these are all laudable qualities, ACAC still has questions:
1. Who is responsible if there is a problem with the cap?
2. What is the contingency plan if the cap fails?
3. Who is benefitting from this plan?
4. How much will Ashland get back in affordable energy?
As part of Ashland's commitment to maintain the cleanup efforts of the Super Fund site and to oversee any future development on or near the land associated with Nyanza, the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board are conducting a peer site review of the project. This review is done by people with a similar level of competence to the original review writer. It's a great way to self regulate work by partnering with qualified members of a certain group, and the process helps groups maintain standards of quality, improved performance and credibility.
Are you interested in hearing more about this? Please reach out to us, the town, or attend any of the publicly open meetings at Town Hall. Here are the next few meetings that will address this topic:
*June 25: Conservation Commission 7-9pm Town Hall
*June 26: Nyanza Advisory Committee 7 pm Town Hall
ACAC will have representatives at each of these meetings, but welcomes any resident of Ashland that would like to learn more about this venture.