PREP - Making progress on multiple fronts

by Bob Haring-Smith - Peterborough Renewalble Energy Project C-Coordinator

· PREP News and Events,Monadnock Ledger-Transcript - PREP Talks

(Published in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on September, 15. 2023)

PREP has progressed from Peterborough Renewable Energy Planning to the Peterborough Renewable Energy Project, and is taking this opportunity to report what has been accomplished and the additional efforts that are underway. As many will recall, the story begins with an overwhelming majority of voters at the 2021 Town Meeting committing the town to move entirely to renewable energy—for electricity by 2030 and for transportation and heating and cooling, by 2050. The rest of 2021 and 2022 was devoted to developing the plan that we are implementing now.

As befits a commitment of the entire community, the progress described here has been achieved not just by the PREP team but through the efforts of organizations and individuals throughout the town making choices that will use energy more efficiently and shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

In celebration of progress to date and to inspire residents to adopt renewable technology, PREP is collaborating with the Monadnock Sustainability Hub to hold the first Monadnock Clean Energy Fair at the Peterborough Community Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 30. At this free event, contractors who do energy audits and weatherization, install heat pumps, set up solar arrays, and sell electric vehicles (EVs) or non-polluting electric lawn implements will be on hand to talk with residents and business owners about their needs and the clean-energy options available to meet them. Workshops will discuss heat pumps and the state and federal financial incentives that reduce the cost to you of adopting energy-efficient technologies. Meanwhile, kids can drive a small electric vehicle made just for them, get their faces painted, or enjoy Frisky Cow Gelato. Visit for more information.

The 2030 date for moving our electric power consumption entirely to renewables is rapidly approaching. The Peterborough Community Power Committee (PCPC) has been playing a critical role by implementing the voter-approved Peterborough Community Power plan this year with several plan options for residents and small businesses that are both cheaper than Eversource’s default rate plan and more reliant on renewable energy. More than 3000 customers are enrolled in the plan. The goal is to sustain those low prices while gradually increasing the portion of electricity generated renewably. In addition, the PCPC is exploring how to turn the reserve fund – accrued through some of the savings in our electricity rates – into local renewable electricity sources.

At the same time, homeowners in Peterborough have been reducing their monthly electricity bills further—sometimes to nothing—by installing solar arrays to take advantage of the free energy that our sun sends to us each day and thereby increase the renewable electrical energy supply available in Peterborough.

Electricity is the linchpin of the town’s renewable energy plan whose overall strategy can be expressed as “electrify everything.” This means that we start using that renewably generated electricity to power other things that currently run on fossil fuels. An important example is converting heating systems to run on phenomenally efficient cold-climate electric heat pumps, which happily also provide cooling on those increasingly hot summer days. Anyone with an aging fossil-fuel boiler or furnace should consider replacing it with heat pumps.

As part of the effort to electrify our heating sources, the town has partnered with climate-technology company BlocPower on a pilot project to help building owners weatherize, install heat pumps, and adopt other energy-saving measures. Interested residents should visit to sign up for a free consultation about their energy needs.

PREP’s most recent accomplishment is completely revamping the website at to provide residents with information on ways they can use energy more efficiently and renewably, as well as take advantage of federal and state financial incentives that reduce the net cost of heat pumps, electric vehicles, solar arrays, Energy Star appliances, and other clean-energy technology. The website will grow as we develop more content and as the federal government finalizes procedures for incentive programs created by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Other activities are underway. The town has interviewed some candidates for the open Energy and Community Planner position in the Planning Department but is still taking applications, so if you know of a suitable candidate please direct the person to Town Planner Danica Melone. A key responsibility for the new position will be leading implementation of the renewable energy plan and helping the municipal government, residents, and businesses save money on energy. PREP is also working to ease the labor shortage in the region in the realm of energy audits, weatherization, and heat pump installation. We are collaborating with state and local institutions to offer training programs in those fields. Finally, PREP assisted the town in writing a grant proposal to the U. S. Department of Energy for substantial funds to accelerate conversion to heat pumps and support workforce development in partnership with the Town of Harrisville. A decision on the proposal is expected in October.

If there is a way that we can help you, please write to