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. Guided by an updated Power Supply Policy, it is Belmont Light’s overall policy to match or exceed the State’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) and to work toward the goals for the electricity sector as stated in the Town’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). 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- 82%
The pie chart above shows Belmont Light’s energy supply by fuel type for 2018. 82% of Belmont Light’s power supply came through contracts for non-specific resources and real-time spot market purchases. 17% was contracted from specific renewable generators, as further described below. This means that the majority mix of resources used to generate Belmont’s 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 79% of supply in 2018. Approximately 18% of New England’s power supply came from hydro, wind, solar, biomass, 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—2% in 2018—comes from coal and oil generators. More information on New England’s electricity resource mix is available from ISO-New England.
Belmont Light is on a path to achieve a 100% renewable power supply over the next few years in accordance with the Town Meeting-approved Climate Action Roadmap. In 2018, the renewable portion of our portfolio totaled 34%. All of the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) associated with our Saddleback Ridge and Spruce Mountain wind (6%) and Miller Hydro (3%) direct contracts were retired to achieve a little over a quarter of this power. Another 7% of 2018’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. The remaining 18% was reached via the retirement of RECs that Belmont Light purchased and retired through market transactions (17%) and its Green Choice Program (1%). See below for more info on Green Choice.
A small quantity of 2018’s supply (1%) was provided by Belmont’s local residents and businesses with rooftop solar. Belmont Light cannot claim the kilowatt-hours associated with this generation as renewable since we did not own or retire the RECs associated it. We call this type of generation “Null Renewables” in the pie chart above.
WANT TO HELP US ACHIEVE 100% EVEN FASTER?
Belmont Light purchases and retires RECs on behalf of our customers through our Green Choice Program. 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 Massachusetts. To help support renewable energy in New England for as little as $3 per month, please download the 2019 Green Choice Application Form.
In 2018, Belmont’s Green Choice customers funded the retirement of 1,087 Class I RECs, which represents 1,087,000 kWhs of power and made up approximately 1% of our portfolio that year. Green Choice contributions also helped Belmont Light exceed our goal of hitting a minimum of 33% renewables for the year. To accelerate our pursuit of 100% renewables in 2019 and 2020, sign up today!