Observing our town government in action

Members of the League of Women Voters of Marblehead, front row from left: Shari Pressman, Marta Bach, Alexa Singer, and Tom Krueger; second row from left: Judy Gates, Bonnie Grenier, Lee Mondale, Kathy Breslin, Polly Whitmore, and Mimi Hollister; and third row from left: Don Gardner, Kathy Leonardson, Nancy Powell, and Phil Blaisdell, gather in front of the Old Town House. Photo by Spenser Hasak

Observation reports are submitted by Marblehead League of Women Voters members who have attended meetings of various town boards and commissions. Observers are solely responsible for accuracy of the information. Complete reports can be found on the LWV of Marblehead website at www.lwvmarblehead.org.

LWVM Observer: Maggie Smist
Battery storage policy update – Lisa asked to table this conversation and discuss with solar rates and battery incentives. This topic will be tabled until the next meeting.
Joe said he is reaching out to other municipals about battery storage. Joe said he met with the wire inspectors in town. The purpose was to discuss the Marblehead Municipal Light Department using the system that searches permits to determine who takes out solar, battery, generator or electric vehicle permits. It will be public record. MMLD is looking for automatic pushes to their system. Jean Jacques said we should be pushing people for the incentives. Adam said we should look at the order of the steps to get a battery, generator, or EV permit. The best practice is to develop a policy with clear steps. He also thinks a one-page document for customers should be provided in addition to a policy. Adam offered to work on this procedure and the document. Lisa said it makes sense for MMLD to look at permits first before customers begin the process of obtaining solar, battery, generators or EV permits.
During the demand charge discussion, Jean-Jacques reported that the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) discussed the future of the grid out to 2050 at their conference on May 3. A regional, monthly graph was discussed covering supply and demand.
Supply – replace emitting capacity with non-emitting capacity and expand technologies.
Demand – implement demand flexibility and electrify energy consumption. Discussed demand especially during winter months. They are projecting increase in demand of 236 percent. There was a graph on capacity planning and the current gap.

A slide presented with a NuScale nuclear power plant design was discussed and reviewed. It is a carbon-free power product. The safety conditions were covered and they discussed the possibility of producing renewable energy with this product. A timeline and price of a small nuclear reactor was presented. The price of the plant is going up due to supply chain costs.
Jean Jacque discussed battery types and how it is becoming harder to manage peak times. He discussed that the world is not stable – our problems in Marblehead are not unique, but we know what our problems are in Marblehead. We have a lower number of layers of decision-makers and can be more proactive. Our scale is also a smaller capacity than others. Marblehead will need to get the legislature to assist us with money to help us implement programs. He suggested working with other municipalities.
Updates from Joe Kowalik included that Michael Hull has approached Rockett Realty to sell 75 feet of property for the Village 13 project. He is meeting with Rockett Realty again tomorrow. There was discussion on spaces and needs of the MMLD. MMLD also met with Public Works regarding the same space. In addition, Greg Chane has been appointed the new MMLD Distribution Manager, who organizes materials and manages the field employees. Greg was in attendance and gave his background and experience. He mentioned the need to do general maintenance on is next steps in his new role. Greg also discussed his staffing. There was further discussion on his next steps in his new role. For the Brown School solar project EV, Kowalik has received solar quotes and has turned them over to MMWEC for analysis. After hearing back, they will get together to make a call on the project. A joint meeting with the School Committee will be arranged.

LWVM Observer – Steven Levy
The meeting was called to order at 6:33 p.m. It was held before the Town Meeting at the Veterans Middle School. Revised Articles 15, 16, and 17 as reported on the May 1, 2023 Finance Committee report were approved. The next Water and Sewer Commission meeting will be Tuesday, June 6, at 7 p.m.
A public hearing for the rate study was set for Monday, June 26, at 8 p.m.