OUR ENERGY SUPPLY MIX
As a local distribution utility, Belmont Light purchases electricity from wholesale generating plants all over New England and delivers it to Belmont homes and businesses. When purchasing power on our customers’ behalf, it is Belmont Light’s overall policy is to attempt to contract for environmentally benign and renewable power whenever it is cost-effective relative to other available resources. This policy allows us to acquire electricity produced by alternative energy sources while keeping our rates stable and our service safe and reliable.
We carefully manage a diverse power supply portfolio according to prices and other economic factors, reliability considerations, and the needs of our customers.
New England Market Mix- 79%
The pie chart above shows Belmont Light’s energy supply by fuel type for 2017. 79% of Belmont Light’s power supply is through contracts for non-specific resources and real-time spot market purchases. (The other 21% is contracted from specific generators and renewable resources, as further described below.) The means that the majority mix of resources used to generate the Belmont power supply reflects the general mix of resources available to us from the New England grid.
On average, natural gas and nuclear resources are the most abundant generation source in New England, together accounting for over 80% of supply in 2016. Approximately 17% of New England's power supply comes from hydro, wind, solar, and refuse resources. This percentage is set to increase steadily over the coming years as Massachusetts aims to achieve its emissions reduction goals. A decreasing amount of power in New England—3% in 2016—comes from coal and oil generators. More information on New England’s electricity resource mix is available from ISO-New England.
Direct Contracts- 21%
For 2017, 21% of the power we delivered to our customers was contracted for with specific generators based in the Northeast. 16.7% of the generation from these contracts qualifies as renewable according to definitions set forth by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. The remaining 4.58% came from generators that produce solar, hydro, and wind power, but that Belmont Light cannot claim as green power since we did not own or retire the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) associated with the generation. This type of generation is titled “Null Renewables” in the pie chart above and consisted mostly of large-scale solar, with smaller quantities provided by hydro resources and Belmont’s local residents and businesses with rooftop solar.
Wind (11.7%) and hydro (5%) resources supplied Belmont’s renewable power in 2017. Belmont Light retired RECs from our Saddleback Ridge and Spruce Mountain wind contracts, a direct contract with a New England hydro project, and our Green Choice Program (more on this below) to achieve 9% of the renewable generation. 7.7% of 2017’s renewable generation was supplied by the NYPA hydro project, which has been deemed an acceptable renewable resource for participating municipal utilities by the State.
Want to further support Belmont’s renewable portfolio?
Belmont Light purchases and retires Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) on behalf of our customers through our Green Choice Program. RECs are the “environmental attributes” that are produced when 1 MWh of electricity is generated by a qualified renewable resource. All RECs purchased and retired by Belmont Light to meet demand from the Green Choice Program are produced by generators classified as Class I renewable resources by both Massachusetts and Connecticut. To learn how you can help support renewable energy in New England for as little as $6 per month, please download and submit a Green Choice Program Application.
In 2016, Belmont’s Green Choice customers funded the retirement of 725 Class I RECs, which represents 725,000 kWhs of power and made up approximately 0.5% of our portfolio that year. To help increase this number for 2017 and 2018, sign up today!