Concord’s Municipal Light Plant recently approved a modest increase in electricity rates as part of an effort to help the town meet its long term energy goals.
The current residential electric rate varies from 14.4 to 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on a customer’s consumption. Starting in September, it will rise to a range of 15.4 to 19.7 cents, which will result in a $9 increase in the approximately $140 monthly bill for an average homeowner.
The Light Plant plans to use the revenues to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates, which are certificates utilities can buy from solar, wind, and other renewable energy producers to expand their green power portfolios, according to David Wood, executive director of the Light Plant.
The 2017 Annual Town Meeting approved a proposal that the town seek to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emission by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. In response, the Light Plant developed a plan to contribute toward meeting that goal while also expanding its investment in local renewable energy.
A key part of that strategy is to expand the renewable energy portion of the town’s power supply, which is currently about 12 percent.
The town has begun shifting from conventional to non-carbon power sources, including buying wind and hydro power from five different facilities in Maine.
But while that shift continues, the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates will allow Concord to increase the percentage of carbon-free power supplied to town consumers by 25 percent this fall and 62 percent next year.