Massachusetts Public Power Utilities Extend Hydropower PPAs

October 10, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
and Peter Maloney
October 10, 2021

Middleborough Gas and Electric Department (MGED) and Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP) in Massachusetts have extended power purchase agreements for hydroelectric supplies.

MGED extended its contract with FirstLIght Power for an additional 10 years to 2040. MGED said the extension helps to keep its rates affordable while growing the amount of carbon dioxide-free power in its portfolio.

“MGED’s 2021 power portfolio is more than 60 percent carbon free,” Jackie Crowley, MGED’s general manager, said in a statement. “And with the 2021 FirstLight extension we can ensure a growing share of renewable energy through 2040 as we work to reach the MGED Board’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.”

The agreement will account for approximately 910,000 megawatt-hours, equivalent to more than 12 percent of MGED’s purchases for residential, commercial and industrial customers for the term.

MGED entered into an initial 2019 agreement with FirstLight Power. The agreement was developed by Energy New England with FirstLight to supply 21 Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont municipal utilities with hydropower.

“Never before have so many municipal light plants, municipal electric departments, and other public power utilities come together to buy emissions-free renewable power on this scale,” John Tzimorangas, president and CEO of Energy New England, said at the time.

In November 2020, the 21 utilities signed agreements to purchase 200 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year of hydroelectric power produced by FirstLight Power.

Meanwhile, TMLP on Oct. 6 announced that it has extended its contract with FirstLight Power. The transaction will now encompass an additional seven years to 2030.

TMLP was the first Massachusetts utility to enter into an initial 2018 agreement with FirstLight Power, the owner and operator of hydroelectric generation facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The extension helps TMLP “to lock in the resources it needs to decarbonize its electric generation output,” the utility said.

The extension will keep the TMLP power portfolio at nearly 26 percent of hydropower through the year 2030.

MGED serves customers in Middleborough and Lakeville by purchasing electricity from regional generating plants in New England. The utility also buys local energy produced by privately owned solar arrays. Almost all the electric power MGED’s buys comes from hydro, nuclear, wind or solar power with less than 1 percent coming from fossil fuel-burning plants that are mostly used during times of peak demand.

TMLP serves over 38,000 customers in Taunton, Raynham, Berkley, North Dighton and sections of Lakeville and Bridgewater.

FirstLight Power owns hydro generation stations in Massachusetts and Connecticut and has a total portfolio of more than 1,400 megawatts that includes two pumped hydro energy storage facilities, six conventional hydroelectric generation plants, five run-of-river hydroelectric generation plants, and one solar generation facility.