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04/04/2023 EC Minutes

2155 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH 03574

Bethlehem Energy Commission

Tuesday April 4, 2023




Attendees: Scott Caisse, Mary Lou Krambeer, Bruce Caplain, David Van Houten, Chuck Phillips, Dan Crosby.  James Fitzpatrick.


Mission: The Bethlehem Energy Commission encourages and supports economically and environmentally sensible energy practices in Bethlehem, NH.


Administration – David Van Houten was reelected as Chair of BEC.


Minutes from March meeting – David motioned to approve; Chuck seconded – unanimous YES.


Public input – Barry Z. informed the committee that the transfer station committee is applying for USDA funds and they are including a solar component.  They would like to include the BEC in their planning process.


Town solar project – Highway garage array is up and running. Library array has been up and running since mid-2022.  Eversource does not yet have a transformer for the BES solar hook-up – date TBD.


Village District – at their annual meeting there was a unanimous vote to go forward with a $450,000 solar project. The District voted to take $120,000 from the sewer fund and an additional $50,000 to pay for the upfront funds needed.  $250,000 raised to date from ARPA.  Federal funds can cover up to 80% of project. We will be working on uncovering more dollars.

RFP for the the project was written by David. Commissioners will review the RFP on April 11.


Northern Borders Regional Commission Grant Review – David is writing an NBRC application for $220,000.


Commercial Solarize Main Street project is approximately $1.9m.  Bruce has been working on finding dollars for this project:  requests include OCED grant for $700,000. Congressional Directed Request $984,000, USDA REAP grant…


Residential solar campaign – if some folks are interested in creating a campaign Ammonoosuc Energy Team is thinking of such a project.


Solar tax exemption – we discussed a future warrant article to exempt solar from house appraisals. TBD.


Dual EV Fast Chargers have an estimated cost of $300,000. We need an engineer to assess the full cost – this too may need a warrant article.  To go forward we need to go to the Selectboard to request they sign a no-cost MOU to explore the idea further.  David moved we go to Selectboard, second by Chuck.  Vote was a unanimous YES.

EV Bus tour – good turnout; expensive proposition at the moment; more appropriate for urban areas right now.


Grafton County — $50,000 now available for municipal applications.  We’ll ask the Selectboard to consider directing these funds to the Village District Water Solar  Project.


Next meeting date: May 2.