This letter is in response to Barbara Capalbo’s letter regarding possibly changing my vote on the Brushy Brook solar project. I voted no and I will stand by my vote because I support the Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Board, and the residents.
Having attended the recent Chariho School Committee budget workshops and having spent many hours developing $728,529 in suggested budget cuts with the Chariho director of administration, I also recognize that Hopkinton needs additional sources of revenue. Although I did not think that the Brushy Brook solar project was the answer, I did ask the Town Council to consider the following actions:
1. Create a total solar-megawatt goal for the town. To date, the town has approved four zone-change projects and has allowed 12 “by right” projects totaling 16 projects for 51 megawatts. Since the 8,116 Hopkinton residents use 98 megawatts per day, we have already replaced 51% of our town’s usage by renewable energy. I am suggesting that we set a town goal of 98 megawatts to fully replace Hopkinton’s energy usage with renewable energy by 2020. The governor’s total state renewable energy goal is 1000MW by the year 2020 for the state’s 1,060,000 residents. Therefore, when Hopkinton reaches its goal, 1 percent of the state’s population (Hopkinton) will have met 10% of the state’s goal.
2. Investigate implementing a town-owned solar project. If done properly, it would generate significantly more than $5,000-per-megawatt tax revenue. With this in mind, I am researching potential town projects.
3. Negotiate a net metering agreement with a solar company similar to the one that the Chariho School District is working on to offset the town’s energy costs. It is my understanding that the Hopkinton town manager is looking into this action.
Finally, I would like to comment on Barbara Capalbo’s additional Brushy Brook project requirements. I think the entire council should have been consulted before she began her negotiations so that either the additional requirements were considered a group effort or they were not done at all.
I love Hopkinton and want to make a positive difference on the Town Council. In the end, I voted to reject the proposed project for the reasons stated in the first paragraph, and I will not change my mind. To me, no Brushy Brook solar project still means no.
The writer is a town councilor in Hopkinton.