Recently, I have been asked by many Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (“HMLP”) customers about energy conservation and the types of programs the company has to assist customers in these efforts. The conversation typically involves discussion on customers usage, what they can do to decrease their usage, and if HMLP has rebate programs.
The Hingham Energy Policy Committee was created by the Board of Selectman to review the total energy uses in the Town of Hingham and develop of set of strategies and goals that the Town can adopt to reduce its carbon footprint and its dependence on traditional fossil fuels. The areas the Committee is looking into are: Energy Efficiency, Cleaner Energy, Transportation, Solid Waste Management and HMLP green projects. The Committee has spent several months reviewing energy plans of other cities and towns and has taken input from Town Officials and citizens to develop an outline for the final Action Plan. The Committee’s goal is to present an Executive Summary at the April Town Meeting to let the citizens of Hingham understand the direction of the committee and solicit citizen input into the final plan.
The Committee is made up of residents Russ Heissner (Chairman), Pam Harty, Brian Phillips and Rob Baynes, along with HMLP General Manager John G. Tzimorangas. The Town Accountant and School Business Manager are ex-officio members of the Committee.
The Committee request proposals from vendors who perform the Carbon footprint analysis and received three responses to their requests. The vendors then presented to the Committee their proposal and plans for the study. The committee reviewed all the information and then chose ICLEI, based on their expertise and significant experience with other municipalities in this type of study.
Chairman Heissner presented the idea of the study and the Committee’s short term recommendations to the Selectman last fall and also presented to the HMLP Light Board, who voted to help fund the study for the Town. Light Board Chairman Kevin J. Bulman commented at the Board meeting, “Hingham Light believes that this study will give us a benchmark of where we stand today in relation to emissions. HMLP has been involved in renewable energy sources (currently 12% of their portfolio is green, hydro and landfill gas systems) for a long time and we continue to research other opportunities in the market. Energy Efficiency is also a key component of the program to reduce our dependence on traditional sources of energy.”
Energy Committee member Pam Harty will be the liaison to the ICLEI team that will be collecting data on the town uses of energy and develop the current state of the Town and present their results to the Energy Committee. The study is projected to take about 2 to 3 months to complete the work and prepare the results. “This is a good time to be completing this study and reviewing the results in Hingham, as electric energy use rose 8.1% in 2007 among all classes of customers. This increase is a result of the new construction projects in the Town and the use of more energy consuming devices that we all have in our homes,” said General Manager John G. Tzimorangas. “The Light Plant continues to promote the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs and they are still available at the light plant office at no cost to our customers. This is a way for people to start the process of using more energy efficient products in their homes,” said Tzimorangas.
The Energy Committee invites citizens to come to their meetings, which are posted at the Town Hall or on the Town of Hingham website, www.hingham-ma.gov. A link to the minutes of the meetings is also available on the HMLP website.