Solar gain


To the Editor:

Tisbury, Edgartown, and other member towns, of the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC), are starting a new era in producing electricity from the sun. As part of this fresh approach, each member town will soon begin to realize the savings and advantages of generating electricity where the short, medium, and long-term cost of fuel remains constant: zero.

Because the electricity is produced locally, portions of the delivery services charges, included in each town’s monthly electricity bill, will not have to be paid.

Delivery services include the NSTAR customer charge. This represents the costs of providing services such as metering, billing, and account maintenance. These are fixed costs and are not affected by the actual amount of electricity used.

And: Distribution charges that reflect the cost of delivering electricity over wires to your home; transition charges that are the cost of past investments in generating plants and power contracts; transmission charges that represent the cost of moving electricity over high-power lines from a generating plant to NSTAR’s service area; renewable energy charges that represent a charge the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund exacts to increase the availability of renewable energy; Energy Conservation Charges that cover the cost of energy efficiency programs.

CVEC will calculate the delivery service charge savings and pass these on to each town, monthly, over the next 20 years.

For Tisbury, CVEC estimates the first year’s savings at approximately $60,000, increasing to almost double this amount by the year 2020. The increased longterm savings result, in part, from the difference between the fixed cost of the fuel from the sun (zero), versus the projected increased cost of natural gas, coal, and uranium.

Three classes of fuels are used to produce electricity in America: fossil, nuclear, and renewable. Two (fossil and nuclear) have asking prices that vary according to supply and demand to meet market conditions; the third (renewable), is free, requiring no capital expenditure. Nationwide, fossil fuels contribute approximately 75 percent, nuclear 20 percent, and renewable 5% to meet America’s electrical needs.

In my view, all Island towns should join CVEC. It is time to unite, to work together, and become part of an innovative approach to meeting our Island’s energy needs.

Peter Cabana