Nahant Alternative Energy Study Committee






Last Updated

April 2004





(Information printed in italics identifies information that needs further development.)




Written by Committee Members: Dorothy Allen, Josh Antrim, Larry Bradley, Jeanne Fiore, Linda Pivacek, Jim Walsh.


Contributing Writers:


Table of Contents


1.   Introduction


            1.1  Mission Statement

                        1.1.1  Environmental Issues

                        1.1.2  Economic Issues

                        1.1.3  Security Issues


2.  Energy Regulation


            2.1  Electricity


                        2.1.1  Power Generation and Delivery

                            Role of Utilities and Generators

                            Wholesale Spot Market

                        2.1.2  Municipal Power

                        2.1.3  Distributed Generation

                            Net Metering

                            Small Quantity Generation  

                            Standby Rates and Wheeling Charges       

                        2.1.4  Power Purchase Options


                            Green Power Purchases

                        2.1.5  Regulatory Agencies


            2.2  Gasoline/Diesel/Biodiesel

                        2.2.1  Regulatory Agencies


            2.3  Natural Gas

                        2.3.1  Regulatory Agencies


2.4  Alternative Energy Technology Subsidies


3.  Town of Nahant Energy Use Summary


3.1  Electricity

3.2  Natural Gas

3.3  Heating Oil

3.4  Gasoline

3.5  Diesel


3.6  Description of Town Infrastructure that Demands Energy

3.6.1  Buildings

3.6.2  Street Lights

3.6.3  Water and Sewer Pump Stations

3.6.4  Vehicles

3.6.5  DPW Equipment

3.6.6  Electrical Distribution System


4.  Baseline Environmental Impact of Town of Nahant Energy Use


4.1  Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets


5.  Conservation


6.  Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies


6.1  Wind Power

                        6.1.1  General Technology Information

                        6.1.2  Specific Project Examples

                        6.1.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


6.2  Solar

6.2.1  General Technology Information

                        6.2.2  Specific Project Examples

                        6.2.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


6.3  Ocean Hydropower

                        6.3.1  General Technology Information

                        6.3.2  Specific Project Examples

                        6.3.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


6.4  Biodiesel

                        6.4.1  General Technology Information

                        6.4.2  Specific Project Examples

                        6.4.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


6.5  Biomass/Biogas

6.5.1  General Technology Information

                        6.5.2  Specific Project Examples

                        6.5.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


6.6  Alternative Technologies for Distributed Generation

                        6.6.1  General Technology Information

                        6.6.2  Specific Project Examples

6.6.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


6.7    Geothermal

6.7.1  General Technology Information

                        6.7.2  Specific Project Examples

                        6.7.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


7.  Municipalization


8.  Short Term Recommendations


9.  Long Term Recommendations


10.  Appendices


All material referenced in the Report is either included or referenced in the Appendices.  Each Report Chapter is provided with a separate Appendix.



Chapter 1 – Introduction


The 2003 Annual Town Meeting provided for the formation of the Nahant Alternative Energy Study Committee (NAESC) to study the feasibility of use of alternative energy technologies and fuels for the benefit of the town of Nahant.  The findings of the NAESC study were to be presented as a report and recommendations (the Report).  This DRAFT Report represents the status of the Committee’s study up to the date indicated on the Report cover.   At this date the Report is not final and the target date for its completion is April 2005. 


There are several terms used in the Report that need to be explained, and these are: distributed generation, renewable energy and alternative energy technologies.  The diagram1 below illustrates an electric grid that contains both a central power plant with transmission and distribution lines as well as various types of distributed generation technologies that generate and supply electricity at locations where the electricity is used. 



In the Report the terms alternative and renewable energy technologies refer to those technologies that have been developed recently for use in the context of distributed generation.   The alternative energy technologies refer to machines such as gas microturbines or fuel cells that use fossil fuels. The renewable energy technologies refer to those machines, technology and fuels that utilize the sun’s energy such as wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, ocean hydro systems and biofuels or utilize the ambient heat such as heat pumps.


In its exploration of renewable and alternative energy technologies, the Committee found that there is a rapidly changing and developing world of technologies. American entrepreneurial drive has already engendered new and improved alternative energy sources spurred on by public and political interest, venture capital and government incentives. In the business community, renewable and alternative energy is predicted by some to be one of the big markets of the future.


Solar power has advanced significantly: newly developed solar cells are a thousand times thinner, lighter and cheaper than those of the past and are characterized as photovoltaic Saran Wrap. Wind power has also advanced in a direction away from individual small machines at sites such as individual buildings. Giant wind turbines, greater than 400 feet tall, and  “farms” of turbines, can produce energy more efficiently. Significant advances have been made in fuel cell technology, where hydrogen and oxygen react to produce electricity.


Energy from fossil fuels continues to be used more widely than that derived from renewable and alternative energy technology sources, so for these sources the challenge is more efficiency and lower costs, as well as overcoming institutional barriers and educating the public. It is the hope of this Committee that Nahant will be in a position to make more informed decisions about its energy requirements and sources now and in the future.


Section  1.1  Mission Statement


The following is the mission statement as adopted by the vote of the NAESC.  As stated in the Introduction the Committee’s issuance of the final Report on study findings and recommendations is planned for the 2005 Annual Town meeting.


Nahant Alternative Energy Study Committee Mission Statement        


Established by the 2003 Town Meeting, the Nahant Alternative Energy Study Committee is comprised of seven appointed members having the directive to evaluate the feasibility of establishing an alternative energy project or projects for the Town of Nahant.  The Committee’s mission is to undertake the study, and to obtain assistance in the study, for making use of alternative technologies and fuels for the production of energy and energy conservation in order to achieve positive environmental, financial and/or security benefits.  The Committee will make recommendations to the 2004 Annual Town Meeting, based on study findings and evaluation. 


1.1.1        Environmental Issues


The adverse environmental impacts resulting from the exploration, extraction, transport, refining and use of fossil and nuclear energy are significant on both global and local levels.  It is beyond the scope of this Report, however, to evaluate all these impacts in relation to actions that the Town of Nahant may take.   


However, in recognition of the significance of global temperature rise and the need to address the human contribution to climate disruptions, the evaluations of the environmental impacts and benefits in the Report focus on the emissions of the greenhouse gases.  Focusing on the emissions of greenhouse gases has been central to political global efforts such as the development of the Kyoto Protocol (more on Kyoto Protocol, provide link) and regional efforts (Climate Action Plan, New England Governors and Northeastern Premiers, provide link).  The United Nations’ sponsored Website Consortium for Local Environmental Initiatives, Cities for Climate Protection Program, provides resources for cities and towns to perform energy audits and develop action plans to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. (Provide link)   


While many different gases may have more pronounced atmospheric warming effects, the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) are associated with energy utilization and contribute most significantly to global atmospheric temperature increases.  (Provide reference)  Also, because information on CO2 emissions that result from energy production is readily available, the Report focuses on estimating CO2 reductions as measures of effectiveness of energy conservation and alternative energy technology utilization by the town.  Where data is available the Report also makes estimates of emissions for other greenhouse gases.


The Committee’s Report addresses environmental issues on a local level. When considering the town’s adoption of alternative energy technology the Report evaluates issues such as, for example, local emission increases for microturbines or impacts on avian populations for wind turbines.


1.1.2        Economic Issues


The Report evaluates the economics of adopting an alternative energy technology for the town.  The adoption of some alternative energy technologies may result in net costs to the town while the adoption of others may result in savings and perhaps may even provide the potential for added revenue. 


                        1.1.3  Security Issues


Describe the dependence of the country and the Town of Nahant on uninterrupted supply of electricity and fuels.  Further describe tightening of fuel supply, the inefficiency and vulnerability of transmission and the inter-relationship of energy and water supply and wastewater disposal.  



Chapter 2 – Energy Regulation


The exploration, extraction, transport, refining and use of fossil and nuclear fuels are vastly regulated.  The Report does not summarize all these regulations.  While the environmental, economic and security policies that are the foundations of such regulation can be effected by individuals, these activities involve the political process and advocacy efforts.  There are local organizations that pursue energy and environmental advocacy and these include:  Healthlink, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, (More and provide links, Salem?)


The Report summarizes the pertinent regulation of electricity or fuel delivery that the town and individual residents should understand in order to take advantage of existing conservation programs and electricity purchasing and sale opportunities.


Section  2.1  Electricity


2.1.1        Power Generation and Delivery

                            Role of Utilities and Generators

                            Wholesale Spot Market

                        2.1.2  Municipal Power

2.1.3  Distributed Generation    Net Metering


Net Metering Program (local power generation connected to the grid)


The Massachusetts net metering program was originally ordered by the Department of Public Utilities through 220 Code of Massachusetts Regulation, Section 8.04(2)(C), in 1982. In 1997, the Department of Telecommunications and Energy amended the net metering program through 220 Code of Massachusetts Regulation, Section 11.04(7)(C). Originally, qualifying facilities with a generating capacity of 30 kW or less were eligible for net metering and excess generation was to be purchased at the utility's avoided cost. The 1997 amendments increase the allowable capacity to 60 kW or less and stipulate that any net energy generated by the qualifying facility during the course of a month be credited at the average monthly market rate to the next month's bill. It is assumed, however, that there will be no net generation on a yearly basis, and any credits are therefore carried over from month to month. At no point does the utility actually purchase power from the facility. The intent of the program is to encourage small power production facilities and diversify the resource mix of the state. Very few customers have signed up for the net metering programs. Almost all of them are small cogenerators using diesel engine/generator sets.


For further information, refer to 220 Code of Massachusetts Regulation, Section 11.04(7)(C)


“A Customer of a Distribution Company with an on-site Generation Facility of 60 kilowatts or less in size has the option to run the meter backward and may choose to receive a credit from the Distribution Company equal to the average monthly market price of generation per kilowatt-hour, as determined by the Department, in any month during which there was a positive net difference between kilowatt-hours generated and consumed. Such credit shall appear on the following month's bill. Distribution Companies shall be prohibited from imposing special fees on net metering Customers, such as backup charges and demand charges, or additional controls, or liability insurance, as long as the Generation Facility meets the Interconnection Standards and all relevant safety and power quality standards. Net metering customers must still pay the minimum charge for Distribution Service (as shown in an appropriate rate schedule on virtual with the Department) and all other charges for each net kilowatt-hour delivered by the Distribution Company each billing period.”



                            Small Quantity Generation

                            Standby Rates and Wheeling Charges       

                        2.1.4  Power Purchase Options


                            Green Power Purchase

                        2.1.5  Regulatory Agencies


            Section  2.2  Gasoline/Diesel/Biodiesel


2.2.1  Regulatory Agencies


            Section  2.3  Natural Gas


2.3.1  Regulatory Agencies


Section  2.4  Alternative Energy Technology Subsidies





Chapter 3 - Town of Nahant Energy Use Summary


This chapter summarizes of the energy use by the town of Nahant municipal sector for the fiscal year 2002/03.  Where possible the municipal energy use is compared with estimates for the residential sector.  The data1 for the presentations in this chapter was obtained from the Nahant Administrator’s Office and can be found in Appendix 3.


The following charts are designed to illustrate annual town expenditures for five energy sources: electricity, natural gas, heating oil, gasoline and diesel.  The charts indicate that the electricity and natural gas purchases comprise almost 80 % of all energy purchases by the town.


Information on energy use by the residential sector in the US and New England is summarized in the table on Household Energy Use2 in Appendix 3.    In depth information on residential sector energy consumption can be found on the Energy Information Administration web site  Provide more specific site address. 





Section 3.1 – Electricity 

Electrical power is measured in watts (W). One kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1,000 watts. One megawatt (MW) is equal to 1 million watts. Electrical energy is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).  One kWh is equal to 1 kW of electrical power being used or generated in one hour.

The charts in this section present the electricity use by department in order from most to least expensive and provide: annual energy use (kWh) and annual cost ($).  The charts indicate that most of the electricity use is attributed to street lighting, pump stations and the school. 


The charts also indicate that different departments are charged different rates for electricity.  For example, street lights, while using nearly equivalent amount of energy as pump stations or the school, cost almost twice as much as either of the two.


Summarize price range ($/kWh) and describe the purchasing mechanism that accounts for this.


For comparison, the annual Nahant’s residential electricity use can be approximated as follows: 1,350 households (Town Administrator’s Office) x 8,000 kWh /yr 3 = 10,800,000 kWh.   Assuming the residential standard offer contract with Massachusetts Electric of 12.5 cents/kWh, the annual average electricity bill is 1000 $ per household and an annual expenditure of 1.35 million $ for the Nahant residential sector.   The municipal sector electricity use and expenditures are about 7 % of the residential sector.





Section 3.2 - Natural Gas 


(Explain Therms and units of heat measure)


The charts in this section present the natural gas use by department in order from most to least expensive and for each provide: annual fuel use (Therms) and annual cost ($).  The use of natural gas results from need for heating in winter.  It is apparent that the school uses the vast majority of natural gas in the municipal sector.


Summarize natural gas pricing ($/Therm) and the purchasing mechanism.


Residential Sector Comparison - Contact Keyspan for total supply to the town that includes residential sector. Describe purchasing options.




Section 3.3 - Heating Oil  


This section lists of all heating fuel users in the municipal sector for the fiscal year 2002/03. 


Library                         4,451.2 gal                   4,405.88 $

Town Hall                  11,591.60 gal                10,555.11 $


Both buildings were supplied by Todd Oil and purchased oil at price of 0.99 $/gal.


For fiscal year 2003/04 the Library building has been converted to natural gas use for heating purposes.


Residential Sector Comparison – obtain average fuel use and pricing for this area and provide use and cost for the towns residential sector.  Describe purchasing options.



Section 3.4 - Gasoline  


This section presents the municipal energy use of gasoline by department in order from most to least expensive and for each provides: annual fuel use (gallons) and annual cost ($).  Most of the gasoline is used for services provided by the Police and the Public Works Departments. 


Summarize gasoline gas pricing ($/gal) and describe the purchasing mechanism.


In the beginning of 2003 the Town’s Assessor’s Office has a record of 3082 privately owned vehicles in Nahant.  According to the state statistics4 the Massachusetts drivers use 581 gal/vehicle/yr.  The resulting residential sector annual gasoline use is 1,790,642 gal. The municipal sector gasoline use is about 1 % of the residential sector.



Section 3.5 - Diesel  


This section presents the diesel use by the municipal sector. The charts list all diesel use by department in order from most to least expensive and for each provide: annual fuel use (gal) and annual cost ($).  The vast majority of diesel use is attributed to the equipment operated by the Department of Public Works.


Summarize diesel pricing ($/gal) and describe the purchasing mechanism.


Residential Sector Comparison – obtain data about passenger diesel car use in the area and diesel boat engine use.



Section 3.6 - Description of Town Infrastructure That Demands Energy


3.6.1  Buildings – for each building provide information on heating equipment, including type, age and expected date of obsolescence; equipment requiring electricity use, such as light fixtures and appliances.  Describe the maximum electrical load and wiring for each building.




Town Hall


Fire Department Building


DPW Building


Police Building


Johnson School


Coast Guard


Cemetery ?


3.6.2  Street Lights – describe the type of lighting used for streets and Massachusetts Electric account specifics.


3.6.3  Water and Sewer Pump Stations – for each pump station present information on the pumping equipment (electrical power demand) and location (pumps stations map).


3.6.4  Vehicles – for each account number list the make of cars, years, expected dates of replacement and gas mileage. 


3.6.5 DPW Equipment   list the type of equipment, years, expected dates for replacement and fuel efficiency


3.6.6  Distribution System - provide map of the electrical distribution system, indicating voltages and substations.


Chapter 4 - Baseline Environmental Impact of Nahant Energy Use


Present in general environmental impacts (land, water and air) associated with the extraction, transportation, refining and use of fossil fuels and electricity generation.  Using accepted coefficients for electricity and various fuels estimate the other baseline greenhouse gas (NOx and CH4) emissions for Nahant.


The baseline emissions chart shows annual CO 2 emissions associated with different types of energy use; electricity, natural gas, heating oil, gasoline and diesel.


Provide information on emissions for world and US, region and individual footprints.

Nahant Municipal Sector Baseline CO2 Emissions



Energy Type





Pounds CO2







Natural Gas






Heating Oil

























Total baseline CO2 emissions for the municipal sector are 2,651,098 pounds or 1,206 metric tons.


Nahant Residential Sector Baseline CO2 Emissions


Energy Type





Pounds CO2




















Total baseline CO2 emissions for the residential sector are 48,920,583 pounds or 22,237 metric tons.


The baseline emissions of CO2 municipal sector are about 5 % of the residential sector.  This comparison does not include emissions associated with the residential use of natural gas, heating fuel oil or diesel.   


Section 4.1 - Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets


Present global (Kyoto Protocol) and regional (NE Governors’ and Eastern Premiers’ Climate Action Plan) greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.   Present local GHG reduction targets adopted by other towns (Watertown, Marblehead, Salem, Somerville, Newton, Arlington).



Chapter 5 - Conservation


The NAESC contacted Massachusetts Electric to discuss conservation measures related to Nahant’s electricity use. 


In the months of March and April a representative of the utility performed energy audits on town buildings.  The audit results and conservation proposal on Town Hall were received on March 3, 20041 and is included in the Appendix 5.  The rest of the buildings will be assessed by the end of April.  Give summary of all Massachusetts Electric’s audits.


Summarize utility approach to billing for street lighting and installation of high pressure sodium lights.


Contact Keyspan to perform free energy audits for the buildings.


Other ideas:


Buildings  (adoption of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) weatherization, passive solar renovations, high efficiency appliances (STAR Energy) and HVAC equipment).  Coordinate with efforts on Johnson School HVAC building renovation.


Cars and Diesel Equipment (high mpg cars and energy efficiency equipment, bulk purchasing contracts)


Pumps (public awareness campaign about water conservation and impacts on town energy use)


Carbon sequestration, tree planting campaign


Potential Sources - (Mass Electric, Keyspan, DOE, Mass Consumers Alliance, ICLEI, CCP, MCAN, other audits.)

Chapter 6 - Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies


The Report evaluates the use of alternative energy technologies and renewable energy sources by Nahant’s municipal sector.  The Report gives a short summary of each technology, includes description of general technology applications and presents technology applications potentially applicable to Nahant.  


The specific examples for the applications in Nahant provide a description of the project that includes environmental impact evaluation with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and potential local environmental impacts; economic evaluation that includes discussion of costs, financing options, available subsidies, revenue sources or avoided purchase estimates; and security implications.


The use of the alternative energy technologies by the residential sector is mentioned where possible or applicable.  


The following is a chart that compares some technologies applicable to distributed generation.1


Comparison of Distributed Generation Technologies



Fuel Cells

Gas-Fired Engine

Diesel Engine w/ SCR

Micro Turbine

Small Gas Turbine


Wind Turbine

Electric Efficiency (LHV)








Typical Capacity (kW)








Installed Cost ($/kWh)








O&M Cost ($/kWh)








NOx (lb/MWh)








SO2 (lb/MWh)








PM-10 (lb/MWh)








CO2 (lb/MWh)








NOx = Nitrogen oxides

PM = Particulate Matter

LHV= Lower Heating Value

           SO2 = Sulfur dioxide

CO2 = Carbon dioxide

SCR= Selective Catalytic Reduction

Source: Emissions data from Joel Bluestein, Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc. The emissions data for the gas-fired engine assume a rich-burn engine with a three-way catalyst.


Describe Combined Heat and Power (CHP).  Scan the increase of efficiency diagram.



Section 6.1 – Wind Power


6.1.1  General Technology Information


The background information on wind turbine technology is concisely presented on a web site .


There are several important factors that need to be explained with regards to wind turbines.  The technology has a large capital cost associated with the purchase of the machines and their installation.  There are continuing operation and maintenance and insurance costs but no fuel costs.  The machines produce electricity because of presence of wind, therefore a wind turbine should be installed in a windy location.  If this is not done the large capital costs will not be offset by adequate revenues from electricity sales and the project will not be profitable.   


The annual energy production of a wind turbine is calculated as follows:


Installed Capacity (MW) x 24 hr/day x 365 day/yr x Capacity Factor = Annual Energy Production (MWh/yr)


The Installed Capacity of a wind turbine reflects the maximum amount of power that the machine can generate at a maximum wind speed.  This of course happens intermittently since the machine will not be operating at very fast wind speeds all the time.  The power curves for wind turbines look similar and the following is an example for two Vestas machines.



Capacity Factors can be viewed as the percentage of the time that the maximum capacity of the machine is achieved.  The Capacity Factors may vary a little for different machines at the same location but vary greatly at different turbine locations where there are different wind speeds.


The annual energy production for various wind speeds at normal distribution are presented in the table below.1


Annual avg wind speed at hub height

GE 1.5 SL, 1.5 MW

Vestas V80, 1.8 MW

Est. Capacity Factor

Est. MWh/yr

Est. Capacity Factor

Est. MWh/yr

6.0 m/s





6.5 m/s





7.0 m/s





7.5 m/s







The commercial size wind turbines can be connected to the electrical grid (distribution lines) or an on site power load through a transformer.  Provide more information on transformers and safety.  Under the first scenario the turbine owner and operator (the generator) sells the power to the utility at avoided cost or wholesale prices.  Under the second scenario the power can be used on site and retail power purchases are offset.  While the second scenario is more profitable the reality is that it is not easy to find facilities such as factories, water or wastewater treatment plants, college campuses, etc. in windy places with open space adequate to accommodate wind turbines.


More information on wholesale prices. The wholesale prices at which NEPOOL generators sell their electricity on the spot market vary from day to day and even hour by hour.  The generator price bids at any point in time are placed in a stack by the Independent System Operator (ISO) with the lowest prices going to the bottom and the most expensive bids going on top.  The hourly price is set by the by the bid that happens to meet the system load at the given time.  The wholesale electricity prices can be expected to vary between 0.035 and 0.04 $/kWh depending on the season and peak load-check and reference. 


More information on retail electricity prices and options for selecting generators.  Retail electric generation prices can be found on the local electric bills.  The standard offer “generation charge” of 0.061 $/kWh is the existing retail electricity price that does not include the delivery charges associated with transmission and distribution.  With the inclusion of transmission and distribution charges (excluding other charges) the cost of standard offer is about 0.10 $/kWhr.


The wind turbine technology is subsidized on state and federal levels.  On the state level, with the adoption of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, there is a demand for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).  Since the utilities are required to buy an increasing amount of electricity from renewable energy generators or pay a 0.05 $/kWh fine, and because there is a shortage of such generators, every kWh of electricity that is generated through a renewable energy technology may worth at a maximum 0.05 $/kWh.  This revenue is in addition to any energy sales.


The federal subsidies are in the form of Renewable Energy Tax Credits for taxable entities and Renewable Energy Production Incentives (REPI) for non-taxable entities.  These subsidies favor wind power and are worth about 0.015 $/kWh for the first 10 years of the turbine operation.


6.1.2  Specific Project Example


The Committee engaged the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC).  This organization controls the distribution of the multi-million Renewable Energy Trust Fund that exists through collection of 0.005 $/kWh on the sales of electricity in the Commonwealth.   The MTC has reserved 4 million dollars for use through the Community Wind Initiative,  The Community Wind Initiative involves several steps.  The first step is the installation of a meteorological tower (met tower) that measures wind for a year at a location in the community.  Upon such met tower deployment the MTC would make funds available to engage professionals to perform a feasibility study for locating wind turbines in the community.


The MTC performed an assessment to identify appropriate met tower locations in Nahant and provided a report1.   In March 2004 the Committee voted to proceed with administrative steps required to allow for the met tower installation at the Nahant’s Composting Area location.  It is important to note that the location for the met tower installation is not the location for any future wind turbines.


Taking into consideration windy open spaces in Nahant there appear to be three potential models for turbine installations in Nahant.  Upon installation of the met tower, the Committee may propose that technical and legal professionals investigate the actual feasibility of these three models.


Model 1 – Involves installation of several turbines along the Nahant Causeway with sale of electricity to the utility or to the load entities along the Lynnway without involving the utility.


Model 2 – Involves the installation of a single turbine on Bailey’s Hill with electricity supply (via cable) to the Johnson School and sale of electricity to the utility.


Model 3 – Involves the installation of one or two turbines on East Point with sale to the utility.


6.1.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis


A single 1.5 MW turbine located on the Nahant Causeway (Capacity Factor = 0.28) would replace about 3,720 MWh of electricity annually.  This results in (3,720,000 kWh x 1.28 lbs/kWh2 = 4,761,600 lbs)  2,164 metric tons of CO2 not being released into the atmosphere.  May need to use NEPOOL peak emission data.


A single 1.5 MW turbine located at East Point (Capacity Factor = 0.36) would replace 4,790 MWh of electricity annually.  This results in (4,790,000 kWh x 1.28 lbs/kWh = 6,131,200) 2,787 metric tons of CO2 not being released into the atmosphere.  May need to use NEPOOL peak emission data.


Local Environmental Impacts


With the understanding that one picture is worth a thousand words, the visual impacts of the three models can be examined by viewing visualizations3 (Appendix 6.1) prepared by the UMASS Renewable Energy Research Laboratory and funding from the Department of Energy Resources. These visualization present Vestas 660 kW machines and 1.5 or 1.8 MW machines would of course be larger. Ask for visualization of larger machines.       




Interference with TV and cell phone reception, emergency communication


Electromagnetic effects




Economic Evaluation


The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has developed an economic analysis model4.  This model describes the economics of wind turbine projects and allows for manipulation of many input parameters to perform sensitivity analyses and allow of comparison of various project proposals.  Provide some comparisons.


Costs – predevelopment, contracting (construction and revenues), turnkey construction, O&M (maintenance, insurance, bookkeeping)


Financing/Ownership Options – developer, town, joint ownership, cooperative


Revenue Sources – power purchase agreements with utility or load


Subsidies – MTC for predevelopment and turnkey, state RECs, federal REPI


Security Implications


The table below shows that a number of wind turbines that on an annual basis can provide all of Nahant’s electricity needs (Residential and Municipal-11,545 MWh/yr).  However, because the machines generate electricity on an intermittent basis, some days producing more than the town needs while on other, less windy days, providing no electricity at all, the turbines can not make Nahant energy independent.  In addition, because Nahant does not own the local distribution system (electrical poles and wires), Nahant’s only option is to sell the electricity to the utility or use the electricity at a site of or very near the turbine location.


Mean Wind Speed (m/s)

Capacity Factor (no units)

Annaul Energy Production of 1.5 MW Wind Turbine (MWh/yr)

Number of Turbines to Meet Nahant’s Electricity Use















Section 6.2 – Solar PV


The discussion in the Report reflects the consideration of the use of photo voltaic technology to generate electricity.  (Evaluate if the use of passive solar energy in construction or the use of solar energy to provide hot water is feasible in existing municipal buildings while these may go through major.)   


6.2.1        General Technology Information


General information on solar electric systems is available from many Internet sites.

Provide site addresses.  Describes the components of PV, panels (efficiencies), inverters, batteries(optional).


Photovoltaic energy (PV) silently converts sunlight to electricity using no moving parts, burning no fuel and creating no pollution. PV produce electricity from the sun’s rays using semiconductor technology. Sunlight absorbed by silicon wafers causes electrons to flow, creating electricity to use immediately, or to charge storage batteries for later use.


Large free-standing solar arrays are usually not practical in the densely populated areas of the eastern United States, therefore solar energy is frequently used for individual buildings. Although these small installations are less cost effective, they are more acceptable aesthetically and environmentally and the electricity generated can be used directly by the consumer rather than feeding into a “power grid” to be sold to other entities. To offset the costs, incentives are provided by federal and state agencies, like the Massachhusetts Technology Collaborative administrated by Mass Energy.



6.2.2        Specific Project Examples


The data used for the specific example for a municipal building in Nahant is found in the Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Solar Electric System1.


The model for municipal use of solar PV technology is to place photovoltaic panels on the roof of one of the town buildings with the most direct southern exposure without any obstructions, such as trees or other buildings, to solar radiation.  The table below summarizes the energy generation potential and the corresponding panel surface area requirements for PV module efficiency of 16% located in the geographic area specific to Nahant with the Energy Production Factor of 1600 kWh/kW-yr.


Installed Capacity (kW)

Required Roof Area (sq ft)

Annual Energy Production (kWh/yr)


  80 (8’ x 10’)



320 (4’ x  80’)



800 (8’ x 100’)



Provide comparison with annual electricity use by various town buildings and the estimated roof area of the corresponding buildings. 

Provide plot plans for town building with roof orientation.


                        6.2.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis and Local Environmental Impacts


Advantages of a PV system are clean renewable energy with no visual impact or noise. The system is located on the building that directly uses the generated power. PV systems provide a reliable uninterrupted power source and can be directed to individual energy requirements such as hot water or electricity.


Individuals wishing to take an active role in reducing greenhouse gasses and global warming can make a personal investment in a solar system. As a community, Nahant can look toward installing PV systems in public buildings as funding and grants become available.

Economic Evaluation


The costs of PV modules or panels vary as do prices of inverters and installation.  In general the costs decrease with the increase of system capacity.  For example a 5 kW system cost may range between 6 to 8 $/W resulting in a $ 30,000 to 40,000 price range for the 5 kW system.


The majority of systems installed through the current Mass Energy program are 2 kW systems, but larger systems may be installed on larger public buildings.  A 2 kW system can produce 2600 - 3000 kWh annually, saving $350 per year of electricity at today’s prices. The estimated cost of the system is $20,000 but can be reduced to $8,500 with the available incentives (some received over a 3-year period). Other incentives and grants are available and, for individual citizens of Nahant, there is a property tax reduction for the use of solar power.


(Provide information on the sale of RECs at .06/kWh and specifics on bringing down the cost of installation as well as  offsetting local retail electricity prices, sales, property and state tax benefits, and which may apply to a town owned installation.)  


Security Implications



Section 6.3 - Ocean Hydropower


6.3.1        General Technology Information


Ocean renewable energy seems to break out into five approaches for harnessing that energy:





                        Saline gradient

                        Thermal gradient


The engineering involved in each approach is different.  Most of the development, to date, seems to have taken place in northern Europe and Australia.  Development in this country is not as far along, since government development money was cut off in the late 1980’s. 


Which of the above approaches one might use, depends on where in the world you are located.  For instance, for a thermal gradient to yield about 2% efficiency, you want at least a 40 degree gradient.  That is more readily available in the tropical area where one has warm solar heated water on the surface and near freezing water on the ocean bottom.  In northern Europe one generally finds more active wave and tidal action. 


Predicted costs for ocean hydro electricity are around $0.08 - $0.12 per kWh compared to coal at $0.02 per kWh. Efforts are being made to make the costs more palatable by tying in the electricity generation efforts with desalination for drinking and irrigation water, fish farms, and replenishment of fuel cells and metal hydride batteries, etc.

Wave Energy

Not a mature technology from a commercial standpoint (although not a particularly complicated technology).

Offshore installations are less visually obtrusive.  Offshore installation has the complication of having to run electrical wires to the generating devices.  In Nahant area, generation devices need to be able to withstand sea state with 100 times the energy of the average sea state.

The Nahant area is not particularly attractive as a wave energy generation site since weather patterns in the northern hemisphere travel west to east and Cape Cod shelters the Nahant area from what prevailing ocean waves there are on the East Coast.

Aquaenergy’s bouys at Washington’s Olympic Pennisula will average about 50 kW each.  There are 4 bouys so 200 kW total.


Link to a report on Wave Energy in New England New Engl Wave Energy paper.pdf

Tidal Power (without building a structure i.e. dam)

The tide is completely reliable and predicable.  Swift moving current is required for a reasonable power density machine.  The area of Shag’s Rocks probably has the swiftest moving current in the Nahant area with a maximum of around 2 knots.  This current speed is well below what is currently considered an attractive site.  The mouth of the Saugus River near General Edwards Bridge might be a good spot for a demonstration project since there are a number of existing structures that might be used.


6.3.1        Specific Project Examples


                        6.3.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits



Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis and Local Environmental Impacts


Shore based systems would likely encounter fierce resistance due to visual environmental impact.  Additionally, most shore topography results in larger energy dissipation before reaching the shore.


Siting and environmental issues for the ocean environment do not seem to be as vicious as those on land.  Most of the NIMBY (not in my back yard) issues disappear when your equipment is buried under the water.  One also does not usually have to pay for under sea space.


Economic Evaluation


Security Implications

Section 6.4 – Biodiesel


(Describe the potential use of used petroleum and vegetable oil and basic chemistry of biodiesel chemistry. Also, convert to text format.)


6.4.1        General Technology Information


  • A domestic renewable alternative fuel for any diesel engine and fueling infrastructure
  • Made from renewable resources, like soybeans and used plant oils
  • Used in pure form (B100) or blended with diesel at any level
  • Works in existing diesel engines with no modification.
  • Can achieve emissions reductions across an entire diesel fleet.
  • Is an immediate solution.
  • Works in heavy-duty applications.
  • Requires no new refueling infrastructure.
  • Biodiesel is as easy to transition out of as it is to implement.
  • Biodiesel can be used in conjunction with Ultra Low Sulfur diesel, particulate traps,  catalytic converters, or diesel hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Is available right now.


6.4.2        Specific Project Examples


  • Town would deal directly with Dennis K. Burke, a Biodiesel distributor based in Chelsea.
  • Burke would deliver fuel by truck to town fuel storage tank (flat delivery fee so more economy is achieved if storage tank is large)
  • Current blend is 20% soy oil 80% standard diesel
  • Cost in roughly $.30 more per gallon than straight diesel
  • Biodiesel can be added to the storage tank without regard to how much diesel is in the tank already, in other words, Biodiesel is completely interchangeable with straight diesel
  • Studies show good application as heating oil fuel but this is uncommon, perhaps due to additional costs.


Local Wholesaler is World Energy located in Chelsea, MA

phone (617) 889-7300

fax (617) 887-2411

  • Started in 1994
  • Became World Energy in 1998 with backing from Gulf Oil
  • Largest Biodiesel Supplier in the US
  • Offices in CA and MA with operations in 32 states
  • Longest continuous fleet service
  • Most cold climate experience
  • Only primary Biodiesel Company licensed to blend and sell fuel
  • Creditswap! Credit Trading Capabilities
  • Most production capacity
  • Full Service paperwork/reporting


World Energy Customers include:

  • US Dept of Defense - DLA
  • National Forest Service
  • US Department of Energy - Green Parks
  • US Postal Service
  • New Jersey Transit
  • General Services Administration
  • Georgia Power
  • Commonwealth Edison
  • Deer Valley & Paradise Valley School Districts, Phoenix, AZ
  • 200 Fleets


                        6.4.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis and Local Environmental Impacts


  • No sulfur, nitrogen, or aromatic compounds
  • Contains 11% oxygen by weight
  • Reduces most regulated emissions significantly (PM, CO, SOx, etc…)
  • Global Warming -  green house gas reduction

·        Closed carbon cycle: 80% life cycle decrease

  • Highest energy balance of ANY fuel 3.2 to 1
  • Significantly reduces risks of cancer and birth defects (ames mutagenicity studies)
  • 90% reduction of air toxics; 75-90% PAH & NPAH
  • Lends itself to engine optimization techniques which reduce emissions further


Describe greenhouse gas emission reductions and local environmental benefits separately.


Economic Evaluation


Provide information on costs associated with biodiesel use versus existing diesel use.



Security Implications


  • The vegetable oils used in Biodiesel are domestically produced which reduces dependence on foreign crude oil suppliers
  • Domestic production adds to domestic economies.




Section 6.5 – Biomass/Biogas


6.5.1        General Technology Information

Wood Chip Heating Experience in Vermont,

2000-2001 Heating Season.




Price Range





$ / Million BTU

Hardwood Chips

$25.00 - $34.00



$3.72 - $5.06

No. 2 Fuel Oil

$0.85 - $1.25



$7.79 - $11.31


$0.10 - $0.13



$29.30 - $38.09



6.5.2        Specific Project Examples


                        6.5.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits




Section 6.6 – Alternative Technologies for Distributed Generation


6.6.1        General Technology Information

Distributed power and cogeneration are fairly common and there are a number of technologies commercially available for generating electric power or mechanical shaft power on-site or near the site where the power is used.  The three major categories of technologies for distributed generation are:

Roughly speaking, turbines and IC engines are about 35% efficient.  The remaining 65% is discarded as heat.  Cogeneration is very attractive in situations where this waste heat can be put to use, typically in the form of hot water.  So for example, a YMCA building like Lynn’s could buy a small cogeneration unit and generate electricity and use the waste heat for hot water, heating the pool water, heating and cooling the building.


Combustion turbines


Combustion turbines are a class of electricity generation devices that use natural gas or fuel oil to produce high-temperature, high-pressure gas to induce shaft rotation by impingement of the gas on a series of specially designed blades. Some turbines also use a heat exchanger called a recuperator for utilizing some of the thermal energy in the turbine exhaust heat for preheating the air/fuel mixture for the combustor section of the combustion turbine system.


The efficiency of electric power generation for combustion turbine systems, operating in a simple-cycle mode (i.e., without external use of heat in the turbine exhaust), ranges from 21 to 40 percent. Combustion turbines produce high quality heat that can be used to generate steam and hot water for other applications, including heating and cooling (using absorption chillers).


Utilization of thermal energy in the combustion turbine exhaust significantly enhances the efficiency of energy utilization. Maintenance costs per unit of power output for combustion turbines are among the lowest of all power generating technologies.


Power output rating of all combustion turbines is based on inlet temperature of 59oF. Output capacity of these turbines decreases with increase in ambient air temperature. Therefore, in hot weather climates or on hot days, cooling of turbine inlet air has been found to be cost effective for many power plants for boosting power output.

Three types of combustion turbines are commercially available:

  • Industrial turbines
  • Mini turbines
  • Micro turbines

Some discussion on each of these turbines is given below:


Industrial turbines

Industrial turbines represent one of the well-established technologies for power generation. These turbines also represent "high" end of power generating capacity equipment. These can provide 1 MW to more 100 MW of electric power. Most CHP systems need capacities below 20 MW, enough for large office buildings, hospitals, or small campuses of offices and commercial buildings. Energy efficiency of gas turbines for power generation ranges from 25 to 40 percent.


Schematic Diagram

Schematic diagram of an industrial combustion turbine and generator


For information on the development of advanced gas turbines, visit the DOE Website: power/turbines/index.shtml.


Mini and micro turbines

Mini and micro turbines are the newer generation of smaller turbines. The capacities of mini turbines range from 100 kW to 1000 kW and micro turbines range in capacities from 25 kW to 100 kW. It is not uncommon to ignore the differentiation between mini- and micro- turbines. For the purpose of discussion at this Web site all turbines smaller in capacity than 1MW will be referred to as microturbines.


These turbines can use natural gas, propane, and gases produced from landfills, sewage treatment facilities, and animal waste processing plants as a primary fuel. The fuel source versatility of microturbines allows their application in remote areas.


Microturbines evolved from automotive and truck turbochargers, auxiliary power units for airplanes, and small jet engines used on pilotless military aircraft. Microturbines have far fewer moving parts than conventional generating equipment of similar capacity. Therefore, these machines have the potential to significantly reduce maintenance and operating costs.


By using recuperators, existing microturbine systems are capable of energy efficiencies for power generation in the 25-30 percent range. These turbines have a tremendous potential for on-site power generation for CHP systems.


For more information on Microturbines please visit the DOE/DER Technology Primer on Microturbines and the DOE Microturbines Program.

 Diesel Engine

















A reciprocating engine, either 4-cycle internal combustion or diesel, is used for producing mechanical shaft power. The shaft power can be used to operate a generator to produce electric power. It can also be used to operate other equipment, including a refrigerant compressor for process or space cooling. Both of these applications of engines are very well known and widespread. Engines can use natural gas, propane or diesel fuel and are available in capacities ranging from 5 kW to 10 MW.

Reciprocating Engine










Reciprocating engines for power generation are low capital cost, easy startup, proven reliability, good load-following characteristics, and heat recovery potential. Reciprocating, or piston-driven, engines are the fastest selling distributed generation technology in the world today. Existing engines achieve efficiencies in the range of 25 percent to over 40 percent. The incorporation of exhaust catalysts and better combustion design and control has significantly reduced pollutant emissions over the past several years.


Thermal energy in the engine exhaust gases and from the engine cooling system can be employed to provide space heating, hot water, or to power some absorption and desiccant equipment.


Emissions of engines tend to be somewhat higher than those of microturbines and fuel cells. In some locations, depending on local air quality standards, engine emissions may limit its applications for CHP systems.


For more information please visit the DOE/DER Technology Primer on Gas-Fired Reciprocating Engines and the DOE Gas-Fired Reciprocating Engines Program.


Gas Engine-Driven Chillers

In a gas engine-driven chiller, the engine produces mechanical shaft power that is used for operating a refrigeration compressor. This chiller is very similar to a conventional electric chiller. The only difference is that an electric motor that drives a refrigeration compressor in an electric chiller is replaced with a gas engine.

Fuel cells



Fuel Cell













Fuel cells produce electric power by electrochemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen without the combustion processes. Unlike turbines and engine generator sets, fuel cells have no moving parts and thus no mechanical inefficiencies.


Phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs) are commercially available. More than two hundred PAFC units, most in the size range of 200kW, are operating worldwide. PAFCs are realizing efficiencies of up to 40 percent.


The only byproducts of PAFC operation are water and heat. However, hydrogen fuel is produced by subjecting hydrocarbon resources (natural gas or fuels) to steam under pressure (called reforming or gasification). This process often requires combustion and chemical reactions that produce carbon dioxide and other environmental emissions.


Even though a fuel cell produces direct current (DC), it comes in a complete package in which the fuel cell is integrated with an inverter to convert the direct current to an alternating current (AC).


There are three other types of fuel cells: proton exchange membranes (PEM), molten carbonate (MCFC), and solid oxide (SOFC). These fuel cells are at various stages of technology demonstration and are not commercially available. Each type of fuel cell has its own "preferred" range of capacities and waste heat temperatures that determine where they can be used to best advantage in CHP systems.


For more information please visit the DOE/DER Technology Primer on Fuel Cells and the DOE Fuel Cells Program.


Heat Pumps


6.6.2        Specific Project Examples

Nahant’s most likely application for cogeneration would be at the Johnson School or Town Hall with waste heat used principally for heating (and maybe cooling in the new school if AC is installed).

Cogeneration units can be run a variety of fuels.  Biodiesel could be used to power an IC cogeneration unit as well as the town’s trucks.


Provide more details on local application



                        6.6.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits



Section 6.7 - Geothermal


6.7.1        General Technology Information


6.7.2        Specific Project Examples


                        6.7.3  Environmental/Economic/Security Impacts and Benefits


Chapter 7 - Municipalization


Chapter 8 -Short Term Recommendations


Monitoring town energy use


Educate the town and residents regarding options for conservation and use of alternative energy technologies and available incentives and grants for these.  Provide assistance to town and residents who wish to pursue incentives and grants for solar power. 


Make short term proposals.


Chapter 9 - Long Term Recommendations

















Appendix 1




Appendix 2


Appendix 3


1 Town Energy Use Data



2  Household Energy Use


3  University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Research Laboratory – presentation by James Manwell.




Appendix 4


1  Energy Information Administration, DOE


Appendix 5

1 Massachusetts Electric Audit – Town Hall


Appendix 6




Appendix 6.1


1 MTC Met Tower Report


2 Energy Information Administration, DOE


3  UMASS Renewable Research Laboratory – Nahant Turbine Visualizations


East Point



Bailey’s Hill



Nahant Causeway



4  MTC Financial Model



Appendix 6.2


1    A Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Solar Electric System


Appendix 6.3


Appendix 6.4


Appendix 6.5


Appendix 6.6


Appendix 6.7


Appendix 7


Appendix 8


Appendix 9