Concord, N.H. – Yesterday, Chris Sununu and Joe Kenney – apparently at the direction of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas – blocked a solar project that would have saved taxpayer dollars and had the support of the Manchester board of aldermen.
Click here for the full Union Leader story or see excerpt below:
On a 3-2 vote, the Executive Council shot down a plan for a solar array to generate electricity for Manchester city government.
… Under the proposal, the city would purchase electricity at a rate just below 6 cents per kilowatt/hour, which would result in $26,500 in savings in the first year of the project, according to the developers’ calculations. The city would also receive an annual tax payment of $5,000. The savings in future years would rise based on the increase in electricity rates.
Manchester Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig... said the project had support of a majority of city aldermen.
“We had a board vote and I voted to support it,” said Craig. “It was my understanding that this was the first phase, and the project could be expanded in the future.”
“This should have went through,” said Manchester Alderman Keith Hirschmann, who represents Ward 12 where the landfill is located. “The full board voted for this. I know the mayor didn’t vote for it, but the full board did, and now our constituents won’t benefit from it.”
Hirschmann said he felt it was wrong that Manchester wouldn’t benefit from the state’s renewable energy trust funds.
“This would have been the largest solar project in the state,” said Hirschmann. “Instead we have a landfill that will sit dormant, while other communities benefit from the renewable energy trust funds.”
Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, noted there is board support for the project, with the only reservation that it could be larger.
… Pappas and Van Ostern voted in favor of the Manchester project, but Sununu, and councilors David Wheeler, R-Milford, and Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield voted against the project.
Kenney voted with Pappas and Van Ostern to award a $580,757 renewable energy grant to Milford Town Solar LLC to place solar panels on that town’s landfill.
Kenney said Gatsas does not support the project, preferring the earlier, larger project, while the Milton selectmen unanimously supported that project.
“Councilor Kenney cited Mayor Gatsas’ opposition to the project,” said Craig. “I think it’s a lost opportunity for the city.”
Click here for the full Union Leader story.