Pownal Elementary to enter contract with hydro-electric group

Correction: A previous version of this article made reference to the wrong hydro project. This version was updated on May 3 to reflect the corrections.

POWNAL >> The Pownal Elementary Board has agreed to enter into an agreement to purchase electric credits from a proposed hydro-electric project in Pownal, pending approval from legal counsel.

Bill Scully, of Hoosic River Hydro, is working to bring the hydro electric damn at the former Pownal Tanning Co. back online.

The proposed contract is for 10 years, and includes an opt-out for the schools after eight years. Mount Anthony Union has already entered into an agreement with Scully's group. The school would save about 5 percent on its electric bills by buying credits from the hydro-electric group.

This comes after Pownal and most of the other districts in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union sought to enter a consortium to purchase solar credits. That project fell through last month.

Jim Kocsis of the SVSU financial office described the background of the situation: "In the past year, there have been a group of people in a consortium to try to come up with an RFP that would give the schools a discount on their electric. We found at our last meeting that the developer that was all ready to do the project, he did not have the allocation from Green Mountain Power, so we're at the point now with having no agreement with any developer. We still have an agreement with the consultant, Competitive Energy Services, who is out there looking for anyone who is developing who could help with cutting down electric costs for Pownal. Unfortunately, with Green Mountain saying they don't have any more allocations, nothing can happen with that this year, and we're not even sure anything could happen next year."

He said he has heard from other developers, but none are offering anything near the savings that were offered by the previous developer, and he described the process as "at a standstill."

"If we can save the taxpayers money, even a little bit of money, we have to look into it," said Chairwoman Cynthia Brownell.

The Pownal Elementary School Board meets the third Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the Pownal Elementary School library. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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