Dalton ponders 'cow power' for town electrical needs

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DALTON — The town is embracing wind energy, but officials plan to chew a bit more on "cow power."

The Select Board heard a pitch Monday from Hampshire Power to buy electricity produced from cow manure and compost. Doing so would support green energy and yield credits to reduce its electric bill.

The five-member board decided to hold off on a decision until its next meeting.

But the town is moving ahead to support another form of alternative energy. After a discussion, the board opted for a 24-month contract with Hampshire Power to use Maine wind power in town buildings. That source of energy costs one-tenth of 1 cent more per kilowatt-hour than the base price.

The contract begins Nov. 1.

In debating whether to buy in to cow power, board members determined that they needed more information on other proposals the town has received.

One official said he wished officials had already made a decision.

"We've done people a disservice by not acting on this sooner," said Edward Holub, a member of the board. "It's been six months since we first heard about this."

John Boyle, another member of the board, cautioned against making a decision too quickly.

"We struggle to understand this," he said. "We can't rush into it."

The board planned to ask Town Manager Kenneth Walto to put together all the information he has on the topic for consideration at the next meeting.

Updates ahead

In other business, the board skipped scheduled town manager updates on the old Dalton High School site, the green communities program and other projects, as Walto was absent because of illness.

John W. Bartels Jr. also updated the board on the town's Wahconah Regional High School project. This month, the district advertised a request for services for a design team for the project.

There have been 22 responses, mostly from in-state firms, he said.

Last spring, voters in the district's member towns approved a feasibility study to examine renovation or replacement options for the 56-year-old school building.

The next meeting of the school building committee has not yet been posted, Bartels said.

Reach staff writer Patricia LeBoeuf at 413-496-6247 or @BE_pleboeuf.


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