Ardmore, PA - The Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners voted to purchase 100 percent renewable green energy to power all buildings, street lights, traffic signals-lights and controls in the township from two companies -- Engie and Constellation Energy.
The town will save approximately $209,000 per year over the life of the two contracts.
The move was made after the township received bids from 9 firms. There was an October 17, 2018 deadline for the proposals to be received by the municipality. Nine bids were received, and two were selected for contracts. The Township then wasted no time in getting the materials to the commissioners meeting that same night, with the entire process concluding in a mere 7 hours.
The two contracts awarded split the township's electricity purchasing into two distinct parts. First, Engie -- a French-based company whose local office is in Bala Cynwyd -- will provide the electrical power for all 55 township buildings and accounts. Second, Constellation Energy -- an Exelon Company which is the parent company of PECO Energy -- will supply electricity to power all traffic signals and street lights. All power purchased will be considered 100 percent green renewable energy.
The new energy purchases will be in place for usage starting December 1, 2018. To support this measure, the township has chosen Provident Energy Consulting, LLC to assist in all aspects of the project.
By purchasing the 100% renewable option, the township improved its green position by 90 % since the current contract has only a 10 % green renewable component.
"This is only a start, and not all decisions are going to be easy decisions like this,” said Commissioner Andrew Gavrin, chair of the Board’s Environmental Initiative Committee. “As we heard from the public and through the recent Sustainability Workshop, we need to include sustainability throughout all of our planning.”
The township’s reduced electrical consumption costs will generate savings of approximately $209,000 or more per year over the life of the two contracts. The 100% green renewable energy was purchased at a premium of less than 2 percent of the purchase amount -- meaning non-renewable energy sources would cost just a fraction less.
The total annual cost to power the township's buildings will be approximately $423,631 or $1,270,893 over the three-year period.
The cost to power the traffic control signals and the street lights is $120,334 per year or roughly $361,002 over a three-year period. The two contracts will be worth a total of $1,631,895. The amount of energy to be provided was based on usage from previous years, where the township used approximately 11,201,616.92 as a total kilowatt hour on an annual basis.
Township manager Ernie McNeely reported that the energy would be 100% green and renewable covering both contracts. To achieve that, he said, "REC's will be purchased by each of the contract holders."
A REC is a renewable energy certificate also known as a renewable energy credit. Renewable energy certificates are also considered to be a green tag, and one is created for each megawatt hour which is a thousand-kilowatt hours of renewable electricity generated and delivered to the power grid.
Renewable energy certificates provide revenues for further growth of natural renewable sources of power and allow companies across the country the opportunity to take part in the green movement.
At the meeting, McNeely along with Township CFO Eric Traub provided insight and highlights into the figures that were projected and displayed to the board of commissioners. After that, it was recommended to award the two contracts. Board of Commissioners VP C. Brian McGuire opened the floor to comment.
Five residents spoke, and all who spoke were in favor of the township purchasing the 100% green renewable option. There was a consensus of the residents present at the meeting that the move was necessary for the Township, the citizens and the planet.
A motion was made to formalize the two contract purchases, and it was approved unanimously.
The action is only the latest among a string of energy conservation moves by the Township, noted Commissioner Scott Zelov. "The Bala Cynwyd Library, renovated in 2013, uses geothermal energy," Zelov said, as one example.
Lower Merion also has an aggressive tree replacement policy, a composting facility, is currently improving the viability of the mulch available to all residents, utilizes a trash-to-steam plant, and is updating lighting in public buildings to LED technology. The township is also considering an update to LED lighting for all streetlights.
Zelov also cited the Lower Merion School District for its environmental efforts, including the building of two new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ) certified high schools, with notable water conservation efforts.