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Solar farm groundbreaking in Duxbury

Remarks at solar farm groundbreaking ceremony: Good Morning. I’m Josh Cutler, and I’d like to welcome you all here to our groundbreaking for the Duxbury Solar Farm. This is an exciting day. For me. For the Alternative Energy Committee. For the town. And I hope for all of you. The other day I heard a catchy song on the radio and the lyrics seem very appropriate. And not just because the band was Green Day! The song went: It’s another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go. I say that because today is the kind of day that we are going to look back on and call a turning point. Some turning points are big and splashy and we can recognize them immediately. A graduation. A wedding. A major election. Others are more modest: A group of citizens out on a cold Friday morning to shovel some dirt. We may not always recognize these moments or even appreciate their significance. But looking back we can see that we made a decision that has shifted our course, either as individuals or as a community. And some day in the future, I believe we will look back on this day as a milestone, as a turning point for our community in our march toward renewable energy. That’s because in a few short months from now, before the summer visitors return to Duxbury beach or the parade goers return to Halls Corner, there will be a power plant behind me on this capped landfill. This power plant will provide 594,000 kW hours of energy per year, enough to power the homes of all of those present for a year with energy to spare. But don’t be alarmed! This won’t be your typical power plant. You won’t be able to hear it. You won’t smell anything. You won’t see a smoke stack or any spent fuel rods. There are no emissions, no moving parts. This is the power plant of the future. When the sun shines, electricity is produced. It’s a simple as that. The sun is really our ultimate energy source. In fact, every minute, enough energy from the sun hits the earth’s surface to power the planet for an entire year! Think about that for a moment. We’re just scratching the surface here. Now, as solar farms go, this is a modest one. It is not going to replace our reliance on fossil fuels and the savings to the town, while welcome, will not magically fill our town coffers. Still being able to take a parcel of land that could not readily be used for any other purpose and turning it into something that is both energy-generating and revenue generating is truly a win-win situation. But what I find most exciting about this whole project is much harder to quantify. It’s the idea that some Duxbury High School student who got stuck taking out the trash on a Saturday morning is going to stumble past these panels and it’s going to change the way he or she sees energy. Maybe it will inspire them to become an engineer, or a scientist, or even a state legislator who wants to work on energy policy. It’s the idea that a middle school student playing with his iPad is going to check out the online kiosk and watch in real time as renewable energy is produced from the sun right in our town. It’s the pride I will share with all of you when I bring my own young children to the Duxbury Mall for some bargain shopping and my son asks, “what are those mirror things over there dad?” Just think about the conversations that will ensue. Today is just the first step, but it is certainly an exciting one and I thank all of you for joining us today as we take it. Before we move ahead I want to make sure I recognize a few individuals starting with Jim Goldenberg who is chairman of our committee. Jim had a last minute business trip and was unable to be here this morning, but certainly without his expertise and know-how this project would not be where it is today. I want to thank the members of our Alternative Energy Committee. Their names are listed in the program and I especially want to mention Lynn Smith who first brought up the idea of a solar array at the landfill nearly four years ago. I also want to thank Peter Buttkus, our DPW director, because this is his turf and he has been kind enough to share it with us. Town Planner Tom Broadrick and Assessor Stephen Dunn, have been key parts of the team and Town Manager Rene Reed and former Town Manager Richard McDonald also deserve recognition for their tremendous support and foresight. We want to thank our partners at ACE, American Capital Energy. They have been fantastic to work with and I can’t say enough good things about them. We also appreciate the support of our Board of Selectman, Dave Madigan, Shawn Dahlen and Ted Flynn. It is now my pleasure to introduce one of those members, someone who has served as a liaison for our committee and been a great friend to energy issues. I’m pleased to introduce Mr. Ted Flynn….


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