City Gets Green Update

ST. MARYS — City Councilors learned about green energy options during Monday night’s meeting.

AMP representative Mike Weadock gave a presentation to St. Marys City Councilors regarding an upcoming solar energy project. Earlier this year, city officials submitted a proposal to be in contention for possibly hosting a solar field that would give the city access to green energy.

“AMP’s in the process of developing these behind the members’ meters,” Weadock said, noting AMP board of trustees directed the entity to seek out solar projects. “The installation will be behind the members’ meters —  you stay away from interconnection agreements ... And a lot of other issues of getting on the grid.”

The project will include a phased approach, with facilities coming online throughout a period of time. Member communities will be selected to host solar fields depending on a slew of requirements and specifications.

“They are going to do the phase I project and develop that,” Weadock said, noting AMP has $51.5 million which would fund approximately 30 megawatts of solar energy. “You’re probably looking at several years to develop that.”

Weadock said the city of Napoleon recently opened a solar field as part of the project. The Napoleon facility is capable of producing 3 megawatts of solar energy.

Weadock, the former safety-service director for the city, said St. Marys has been recommended to purchase 2,300KV. That figure would represent an estimated 2.5 percent of the city’s overall energy portfolio.

“This is a really small piece of your portfolio,” Weadock said.

The deadline to participate in the project is Nov. 1. Weadock said that allows AMP officials to determine who is involved, and to start the site selection process.

City officials submitted a site at the former landfill for consideration as a solar field. Safety-Service Director Jason Little told councilors he believed the project, even if the city is not awarded a solar field, would benefit the residents.

“We have a good site,” Little said. “Even if we decide we don’t want to be a host site, in order to get the solar, we have to sign on. So we might as well benefit and be a host site. Economically, I think that would help (Development Manager) Susan (Crotty) ... It says we are proactive and that we have green energy and I think that puts us on the map a little bit. I think it’s a win-win.”

In other business, councilors:

• Heard a presentation regarding a proposed review of the city’s electrical system by Spectrum Engineering. During a committee meeting last week, members of the electric committee voted to recommend the proposal, which also would provide the city with a master plan for the utility system.

• Listened as a resident addressed them regarding the riding of a power wheelchair on city roads. The resident initially said she was granted permission to ride the power wheelchair on city roads eight or nine years ago. However, an officer recently told her it was illegal. Little said he would research the topic with the police chief and provide the resident and councilors with an answer.

• Entered executive session to discuss personnel. No action was taken when councilors reconvened in regular session.

The next meeting of the St. Marys City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the city building located along East Spring Street.