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Corps of Engineers Proposes to Lease Government Land in Bourne to Construct Solar Energy Project: Public Meeting Set for May 23 in Sandwich

Source: 
Targeted News Service (Press Releases)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-New England District issued the following news release:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing to lease up to approximately 6 acres of Federal, government-owned property in Bourne, Mass., to a private sector entity for the development, operation and maintenance of a solar photovoltaic (PV) System. The energy produced by the solar PV system would provide the Cape Cod Canal Field Office and the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier a reliable source of renewable energy.

The Corps plans to hold a public informational meeting on the proposed project on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in the Oak Ridge School located at 260 Quaker Meeting Road in East Sandwich, Mass. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting will start at 6 p.m. The public can submit comments about the proposed plan for the solar PV system at the meeting or send comments to the Corps of Engineers by May 31, 2017.

In the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated that the Federal Government acquire 25 percent of its energy needs through renewable sources by 2025. In response to this mandate, the Secretary of the Army established in September 2011 the Army Energy Initiative Task Force (now named Office of Energy Initiatives). The OEI's goal is to implement cost-effective, large-scale renewable energy projects, 10 megawatts or greater at U.S. Army installations.

The purpose of the solar project is to provide the Cape Cod Canal (and its associated infrastructure) and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier (NBHB) with a secure and reliable renewable energy source. Both the Canal and NBHB are currently supplied with electricity from private sources. It is projected that the solar project will save the government about $180,000 annually after implementation. Currently no percentage of electrical power purchased by the Corps for the Canal or the NBHB comes from renewable energy sources.

The Corps identified two potential parcels of land along the Cape Cod Canal known as "Sagamore" and "Midway" sites that met the technical requirements for a solar PV system. These two parcels are Corps-owned properties. After preliminary investigations, the Midway site was selected for the solar project.

The proposed work is being coordinated with local, state and federal agencies: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; Massachusetts Historical Commission; the Mashpee Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah); and the Town of Bourne.

An Environmental Assessment for the installation of the solar PV system is being prepared and will be available for review upon request.

The public notice, with more specifics on the proposal and a map of the proposed site, can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Public-Notices/.

Public comments on this proposal to build a solar PV system in Bourne should be forwarded no later than May 31, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs/Project Management Division (ATTN: Erika Mark), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Project Manager Erika Mark at 978-318-8250 or by email to CCC.PPA@usace.army.mil.

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