Under the leadership of Mayor Jim Donchess, Nashua is aggressively pursuing municipal energy cost savings through numerous green energy initiatives that utilize energy conservation, energy
efficiency, and renewable energy. Nashua is also embarking on meaningful projects and programs to demonstrate our city’s commitment to accelerating progress on climate change.
Jim’s initiatives and accomplishments on the environment and energy include the following:
Nashua Community Power
- By Board of Aldermen resolution and together with the city’s energy team and the volunteer Aggregation Committee, led the April 2023 launch of Nashua Community Power, the program that allows our municipality – instead of Eversource – to purchase electricity on behalf of city residents. With this new way to buy electricity, 8,000 enrolled Nashua households now have the opportunity to realize reduced electricity costs and a more renewable energy system. And the program is already getting results. Nashua Community Power launched with lower rates than Eversource, and the typical Nashua energy user is now saving money on the monthly electric bill through participation in the program. For example, with the “Granite Basic” power option, the electric rate is currently 10.9 ¢/kWh compared with the Eversource rate of 12.582 ¢/kWh. In addition, Nashua Community Power offers an array of plans giving customers the choice to buy up to 100% renewable energy.
Energy-Focused City Governance and Staffing
- Together with the Board of Aldermen, established a new volunteer committee within Nashua city government – the Environment and Energy Committee with the mission to recommend energy efficiency projects aimed at energy cost savings for the city.
- Created a new position and hired the City of Nashua Energy Manager whose responsibilities include working across city departments and designing projects to transition the city to green energy sources of power and to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
Nashua’s Climate Goals
Together with the Board of Aldermen, approved the Environment and Energy Committee’s 2018
statement of goals:
- A 25% reduction of carbon emissions from Nashua’s municipal buildings, school
department facilities, and other city infrastructure by 2025,
- A 25% reduction of carbon emissions from Nashua’s municipal vehicles by 2025, and
- An overall City of Nashua goal to derive 100% of the energy required to power the municipal system and the school department with renewable, clean energy sources by 2050.
Programs and Projects
- Together with city staff, encouraged and led Nashua’s participation in the Community Power Coalition of New Hampshire, the cohort of New Hampshire cities and towns spearheading the community power movement. Nashua’s work over the past few years with like-minded communities in our state has led to our city’s recent launch of the Nashua Community Power program.
- With Aldermanic approval and in partnership with ReVision Energy, moved forward with solar arrays on the Lake Street Fire Station, on the city’s transit garage on Riverside Drive, on the Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School on Arlington Street, and in partnership with Conway Arena, on the ice-skating center’s Stadium Drive facility. As part of the comprehensive Nashua middle schools redesign and upgrade project, Jim urged and applauded the solarization of the Fairgrounds and Pennichuck Middle Schools’ renovations at the as well as the currently ongoing construction of the state-of-the-art solar-powered Brian McCarthy Middle School. Jim and the city also worked with Pennichuck Water to install two 1 MW solar arrays for the benefit of our city-owned water company.
- Urged the Nashua School District to undertake the conversion of the electric lightingsystems at Nashua’s two public high schools to LED lighting for significant energy cost savings for the city`.
- Added charging stations at the Elm Street Parking Garage and at the Department of Public Works headquarters building to facilitate Nashuans’ and the city’s growing ownership of electric vehicles.
- Encouraging municipal vehicle emission reductions across the entire fleet – ongoing Nashua Police Department purchases of hybrid cruisers; supplementing the eight CNG- powered buses put into service by the Nashua Transit System in 2019 with two new electric-hybrid buses in 2019 for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for Department of Public Works vehicles and Transit System buses.
- Established a Sustainability function with the Community Development Department including the Nashua Waterways and Nashua Energy Managers. Among other responsibilities, Nashua Community Power is within the group’s remit as well as the operation of Nashua’s two hydroelectric dams – the 1 MW Jackson Mills Dam and the 3 MW Mine Falls Dam – prized resources that generate green renewable energy for the city.
- Improved walkability with the $1.25M grant to extend the downtown rail trail eastward from Main Street to Temple Street and with the $1M grant to widen and rebuild Lock Street sidewalks.
- Together with more than 750 U.S. mayors – including several from New Hampshire – signed on as a member of the bipartisan Climate Mayors network, a coalition formed to demonstrate climate leadership through meaningful actions in the member communities located in 48 states and representing nearly 60 million Americans.