Bow forms Community Power Committee

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 06-30-2023 5:24 PM

Bow is moving to join several other towns that have embraced the community power program in an attempt to help residents reduce electricity expenses while granting the town increased control over its electricity supply and renewable energy sources.

Under the guidance of the Community Power Coalition of NH, Bow’s Energy Committee familiarized itself with the workings of the community power model. Convinced of its potential benefits, the committee, led by chair Jessica Dunbar, believes it is highly worthwhile for Bow to pursue this program especially after a winter of soaring electric rates that were among the highest in the nation.

“It seems very likely to lower people’s electric bills and we are interested in it as it may offer opportunities for more flexibility and expansion of renewable energy being incorporated into the mix of energy that we’re using,” Dunbar said. “So there is both environmental and economic benefit.”

Community Power is a collective strategy that enables towns and cities to collaborate to procure electricity at a lower rate offered by major utilities. By banding together, communities can enhance their bargaining power and as more towns and cities join, that bargaining power grows. Currently more than 30 municipalities have approved community power agreements.

To kickstart the process, Bow’s Energy Committee has formed a dedicated Community Power Committee tasked with drafting a comprehensive plan and selecting an organization to assist in implementing the community power program, a first step in the process. The committee is seeking five volunteers to join their efforts.

“We wanted to open it up to the community to give other people an opportunity to participate in this because it’s something we think a lot of people might have an interest in and have a plan that goes through and should hopefully be a benefit for the community as a whole,” said Dunbar.

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Residents who choose to participate in the community power plan are not bound by any long-term obligations and can opt-out at any time. This flexibility provides individuals with the freedom to make choices that align with their own needs and circumstances.

Some of the other local communities that have been approved for the program are Pembroke, Canterbury, Warner, Webster and New London.

Another energy project the committee has been working on is solar installations.

The committee is currently in the process of seeking solar or other renewable energy solutions for various town-owned properties and schools in Bow.

The goal of this project is to offset the electricity consumption of the buildings.

“It really depends on what works and what makes the most sense from a technology perspective and an economic perspective for each site,” said Dunbar. “Whether or not it is the school’s electricity that is offset or the town or both.”

Properties that the Energy Committee has chosen include, the Closed Landfill on Falcon Way, the town Municipal Building on Grandview Road, Bow Recreation Center on Bow Center Road, the Baker Free Library on South Street, Bow Elementary School, Bow Memorial School and Bow High School.

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