By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Thinking about all aspects of energy, from wind to solar and hydro power is Frank Nitti’s job for the town of Winthrop and the city of Chelsea.
Nitti’s position in both communities comes from the 2012 green campaign with the Department of Energy Resources. With this comes grant money for energy projects in municipalities such as municipal buildings, vehicles and energy technologies. Part of the grant requires municipalities to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent in five years.
Part of the project is to provide electricity customers in Winthrop with another supplier of electricity.
The Town Council gave the nod to have Nitti look into the possibility of generating competition when it comes to electric rates and users being able to choose their supplier.
“Right now rate payers would save about $25 per household,” Nitti said. “It has to be renewable energy and they have to be projects the state is involved in.”
For example, a wind farm in Texas may supply the electricity for Winthrop.
“We create the demand at the grassroots level and come up with options to develop local renewable energy,” Nitti said.
The Baker Administration recently announced that Winthrop and four other communities have been selected to participate in Solarize Mass, a community based solar group purchasing plan that can deliver savings of up to 21 percent on solar costs.
“This can provide a lower cost rooftop solar panel,” Nitti said. “With group participation the cost goes down. This can save 20 percent on installation and you’ll see a cost payback on the system faster.”
The program will be open for residences and small businesses.
Nitti has also formed a citizens Energy Committee made up of Winthrop residents renee DiCicco, Carol Walker, Brad Fisher, Matt Belletete and Corina Campo-Basso.
Nitti has been working with the town of Winthrop to save on its energy use. In the Department of Public Works infrared heaters have been installed in the garage to reduce the amount of escaped heat when the doors open.
“The infrared heats surfaces and releases heat to the air making it more efficient,” Nitti said.
Other projects Nitti is working on include a solar project at the new middle/high school. The town is looking at proposals for solar panels on the school. The panels would be connected to a bank of batteries in the school which could then be used in an emergency.