July 11, 2011 meeting minutes

Attending: Pat Larson, Amee Hanson, Roberta (Amee’s mom), Neil Anders, Judy Northrup-Bennett, Cathy Stanton, Linda Paquet, Hal Gillam, Janice and Steve Kurkoski, Paul Goyetche, Donna Caisse, Brian Nugent, Genevieve Fraser

Garlic and Arts Festival
Steve and Janice have lined up speakers for the energy tent. Topics will include human/forest relationships, geothermal energy, permaculture, solar hot water, electric bikes, ice dams and building envelope improvement. Emphasis will be on hands-on, skills-oriented talks. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. NQE will have a table as usual. We will promote home energy audits, put out our petition asking people what they think about an electricity rate realignment to reward those who use less, have handouts about various topics + switchplate stickers about turning lights off, and have winsert demos (Brian). We will look for a good handout on phantom loads.

We will also convene a meeting of the town energy committees from 10 a.m. to noon. We will invite each committee to bring a poster highlighting what they’ve done in the past year or so. Hal will also work with a graphic designer to make a poster with a more regional North Quabbin focus. We will ask the committees if there is anything particular that they would like to see on the agenda. We will suggest that this include some discussion of regional cooperative ventures and communication among the towns. Pat will send out an email to committee chairpeople this week, and then Amee and Neil will follow up with phone calls. Hal agreed to moderate the gathering.

Electricity Rate Campaign
Janice passed around the latest chart showing how the “incentive rate” would look. We talked at length about how to present and promote the idea of a redistributed rate for electricity, and how to make this fair for large families and other people with special circumstances. The discussion moved toward the idea of trying to convince National Grid to attach some kind of community rewards to towns that meet the 3% a year reduction challenge promoted by the
Power of Action” initiative. Genevieve will contact someone at National Grid and will let Judy know what transpires, and they will come back to the NQE group working on the idea (Steve, Janice, Cathy, Bruce).

North Quabbin Solar Power Project
Hal reported that three 2-megawatt sites have been proposed and one 9-acre site in Orange has been approved by National Grid pending some paperwork. The other two are moving more slowly, but the first one will likely be built in spring 2012. Town buildings and departments will be able to sign up to use the amounts of power generated by the fields, and area towns can still express interest in being part of the agreement.

Local Food Brochure
We handed out more copies of the brochure to distribute to various paces. We may print more if needed.

Announcements

  • There will be a Smart Building Workshop taught by Bick Corsa in Athol at a date t.b.d., sponsored by the Athol town energy committee. Janice pointed out that it will be important to reach out to builders, carpenters, and others who are still anxious and unconvinced about the Stretch Code.
  • Neil recommends Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. Amee recommends John Seymour’s A Sustainable Life and How to Live It.
  • Petersham’s town garden tour is taking place this coming Sunday.

Next Meeting
Monday, August 8, 5:30 potluck picnic at Silver Lake Park in Athol. Hal will check on the availability of the pavilion.

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