Village Council

Energy group helps Village to conserve

According to the 2012 annual report from the Yellow Springs Energy Board at Village Council’s Feb. 19 meeting, the Village will, in the next few years, receive the large majority of its electrical power from renewable sources.

Specifically, while in 2012, 27 percent of Village electrical power came from renewables, power purchase contracts in place will raise that percentage to 28 percent in 2013, 71 percent in 2014 and 78 percent in 2015.

“Not too many communities in Ohio can boast that level of renewable power,” said Energy Board Chair Jerry Papania at the meeting.

Currently, following the retirements of Larry Gerthoffer and Theresa Graham from the board in 2012, the group has only two members, Jerry Papania and Eric Johnson, plus Council representative Rick Walkey. Papania acknowledged that the group could use more members, and those interested are encouraged to express their interest to Village Council.

The Energy Board contributed to increased use of renewable energy and Village energy conservation in a number of ways, according to the report. Last year the Village completed Phase 2 of its street light replacement project, which the board had recommended in 2010 as a step toward greater conservation. A total of 417 fixtures have been replaced by energy-efficient induction-type fixtures in a two-phase project that began in 2011. The cost to the Village was $139,533 for the project, which due to a rebate was completed at a cost of $118,533; the annual savings from these replacements is estimated at $49,829, resulting in a project payback in about 2.4 years, according to the report. The project is estimated to result in an annual savings of 325,000 kWh of electricity with an associated reduction of 112 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Other Energy Board efforts include:

• The board has also been active in educational projects, the report states. Equipment and software is now operational at the McKinney Middle School/YSHS that allows the schools to observe energy use data for use in science classes.

• The board has worked to promote the Efficiency Smart Program of AMP/VEIC (Vermont Energy Investment Corporation) that aims to support energy conservation in the village. According to the report, “the Energy Board introduced VEIC to significant commercial electric power users with the hope that energy efficiency opportunities would be identified that would reduce these organizations’ energy consumption and the operating costs of their facilities.”

Tom’s Market, Antioch College and YSI/Xylem have completed energy efficiency projects in the past year that qualify for rebates from the Efficiency Smart Program, the report states, and VEIC has exceeded its three-year conservation goal by 93 percent with the major contributors to the effort being the Village street light replacement program, 42 percent; Antioch College at 37 percent; residential customers at 11 percent; and the remaining savings from Tom’s Market and YSI/Xylem.

• The Energy Board also worked with the Village staff in 2012 to determine whether to participate in the Blue Creek Wind Power generation offering; the Village opted to add capacity from the project to its energy portfolio.

• The group investigated the benefits and costs of implementing the use of smart meters in the Village power distribution system.

Due to all of these efforts, the Village’s residential energy use was down 3 percent compared to 2011, commercial use was down 2.2 percent, and industrial use was up 5.7 percent. Combined, the Village energy usage was slightly lower than that of overall electrical consumption in 2011.
In 2013, according to the report, the Energy Board will continue its efforts to promote the Efficiency Smart Program, continue its educational efforts in local schools and continue to review Village policy on net metering, along with advising on potential renewable power sources.
“I’m grateful that your group is keeping track of all this,” Council member Lori Askeland said in response to the report.

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