The Block Island Times
http://block-island.villagesoup.com/p/1071595

LED streetlights could save ratepayers’ money

By Stephanie Turaj | Oct 30, 2013

Converting the town’s streetlights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology would reduce light pollution, reduce electricity use, and save the town money, according to the Electric Utilities Task Group (EUTG).

At its Monday, Oct. 21, meeting, the EUTG voted to ask the Town Council to “establish a program for converting the town’s streetlights from the current technology LED.”

Currently, the streetlights are owned by the Block Island Power Company (BIPCo), and the discussion would include possibly buying the streetlights from BIPCo.

Island resident Rosemarie Ives spoke in support of using LED streetlights.

Updated Deepwater analysis

Block Island ratepayers would be saving 40 percent off their electricity rates if the island received a cable to the mainland as part of the Deepwater Wind farm project, according to analysis done by the EUTG.

The EUTG performed this analysis in Dec. 2012, and recently updated the analysis with new numbers. It used updated financial information from BIPCo and information provided by the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority [VPPSA]. With these new numbers, the EUTG reached the same conclusions as it did in December.

The draft memo said, “the results of our analysis remain the same: the DWW project, and the cable associated with it, will reduce the overall electricity costs by 40 percent.”

However, Town Councilor Chris Warfel sent an email to The Block Island Times after the meeting, claiming the EUTG used incorrect numbers in its updated analysis. While the EUTG said that Block Island would purchase power at a cost of about 6.74 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), Warfel said in the email “VPPA calculated 9.74 cents/kWh and I had estimated 10.5 cent/kWh.”

Also at the meeting, the EUTG held a brief discussion about BIPCo’s plans to generate power using Liquefied Natural Gas instead of diesel. The group concluded there was not enough information about this proposal to estimate how it would affect their Deepwater analysis.

The EUTG also discussed how to analyze BIPCo’s emissions — which was a request made to the group by the Town Council — but members said that this analysis would be better done by an outside consultant.

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