RECs Best Used by Returning to Utility Customers

Tony Mealy, Oberlin resident, member of PUC

To the Editor:

Oberlin Renewable Energy Credits should be distributed wisely. Based on the REC revenue update provided by the [Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System] Director this past week, there will be approximately $2.5 million in proceeds to the electric utility by the end of 2016. There will also be over $310,000 in the underutilized Sustainable Reserve Fund, which will continue to add $20,000 each year from Oberlin College. Based on these figures and the recommendation of the OMLPS director, the Public Utility Commission chairman and this member, 85 percent or $2.125 million should be returned to the electric utility customers.

Of this amount, $530,000 or 25 percent would be returned to Oberlin College, the largest electric user, which could put it to good use by providing it to the Oberlin Project, which it sponsors. Of the remaining 15 percent or $375,000 might be placed into the SRF account, giving it a total balance of $685,000.

Of this $685,000 amount, it is my feeling that initially $75,000 should be set aside for a demonstration project at the Underground Railroad Center/Park & Ride facilities along the bike path to insure that these facilities become energy-efficient, as recommended by the Oberlin Underground Railroad Implementation Team in 2010, by installing solar panels, geothermal systems, LED lighting, advanced insulation and other features to accomplish these goals.

Then, $560,000 might be set aside to establish a rooftop solar utility or solar farm on municipal property like Legion Field, Hamilton Ball Field, Green Acres or one of the 30-plus acre properties owned by the city north of East Lorain Street. These amenities would provide long-term clean energy along with additional RECs to the city for many years to come.

The remaining $50,000 could be set aside for viable local energy-efficiency projects as suggested by PUC member Carl McDaniel under his proposed new guidelines.

Lastly, the city of Oberlin and City Council should be very proud of the hard work and foresight provided by our City Manager Eric Norenberg and especially our OMLPS director, Steve Dupee, for their outstanding accomplishments on these issues over the past many years.


– Tony Mealy

Oberlin resident, member of PUC