Forum, April 15: Co-op assessing solar proposal

Published: 4/14/2019 10:00:17 PM
Co-op assessing solar proposal

I commend the town of Norwich, and all communities in the region, for supporting renewable energy by considering possible sites for solar projects. Careful research and analysis results in sound decision-making. As a representative of the owners of the property mentioned in the article “Farmers Market May Get Solar Array” (April 10), my comments here may be of interest to your readers.

Our Co-op’s original and ongoing assessment of the community solar proposal presented by Norwich Solar Technologies to the Norwich Planning Committee remains the same as it was when the concept was first brought to us by Norwich Solar late last summer: The idea deserves careful review for possible impacts and benefits.

To start that process, we first wanted to hear how the manager, board and vendors of the Norwich Farmers Market felt about such a proposal. As guest users of that Hanover Co-op land for decades — and with three growing seasons remaining on the market’s five-year license — we felt it was an appropriate courtesy to add their voice to the conversation. As their views became clear, Co-op management began seeking data on the commitment, costs and payback. The solar project, as proposed, would limit use of this Co-op property for the next 25 years, could involve a potentially large investment, and necessitates a careful review of possible return to the cooperative’s triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial). Once additional facts and projections are in hand, our next and most important step is to share such findings with our board and Hanover Co-op members.

Regardless of where new community solar projects are sited, we believe they should reflect this vision of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: “As a group, ratepayers and/or taxpayers fund (community) solar incentive programs. Accordingly, as a matter of equity … (projects) should be designed in a manner that allows all contributors to participate.”

I hope this information provides useful insight to your readers and our member-owners.

EDWARD W. FOX

Hanover

The writer is the general manager of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society Inc.

N.H. bill would ban C&D burning

Two months ago, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu addressed lawmakers about the state budget. They applauded when he said, “Together we’ll continue to improve prevention of childhood lead poisoning.” Their applause is welcome news for supporters of House Bill 358, which would reduce the risk of lead exposure by restoring New Hampshire’s ban on burning construction and demolition debris, known as C&D, and its fuel byproducts. HB 358 passed the House, and it is now the Senate’s turn to support this important legislation.

C&D debris is often contaminated with lead, a toxic metal for which there is no safe level of exposure. Combustion releases lead in a form that can be easily inhaled and ingested. C&D debris should never be burned.

Current New Hampshire law allows 250 milligrams of lead in each kilogram of C&D approved for combustion. This is a shocking amount since the toxicity of lead is measured in micrograms, or a millionth of a gram. Burning 10,000 tons of C&D annually, as allowed at the Wheelabrator trash incinerator in Concord, can legally introduce 2.5 tons of lead into the environment in the form of air pollution, ash, leachate and sludge. A proposed pyrolysis facility in Epping could process up to 146,000 tons of C&D each year to make waste-derived fuels. This is unacceptable.

Restoring New Hampshire’s sensible ban on burning C&D debris and C&D fuels will reduce the risk of lead exposure. I urge Gov. Sununu and the New Hampshire Senate to support HB 358.

KATIE LAJOIE

Charlestown

Newport Market seeks vendors

The Newport Farmers Market is accepting vendor applications for the 2019 season from agricultural, prepared food and artisan vendors. The market, on the Newport Common, will be open every Friday, from 3-6 p.m., rain or shine, from May 17 to Oct. 11.

Full-time vendor cost is $135 ($140 via credit card). Part-time vendor fees are $25 per week. Electricity is available at the location. The Newport Market offers the EBT matching program (Veggie Dollars) and accepts credit and debit cards with no processing fee. The market also facilitates eight weeks of the POP Club (Power of Purchase) that introduces kids to fruits and vegetables through games and activities. Participants receive free POP Bucks for purchasing their own delicious and seasonal produce. Vendors also may be listed on our website with information about their offerings.

The market also offers concerts on the gazebo every week by local musicians and train rides for kids. Story Time on the green at 4 p.m. is sponsored by Richards Free Library.

Download a vendor application at newportfarmersmarketnh.com. For more information, email newportfarmersmarketnh@gmail.com, or call Richard Scheuer at 603-304-8328.

JACKIE COTE

Newport

The writer is a board member and treasurer of the Newport Farmers Market.




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