Powering Strong Communities

Reading, Mass., Utility Extends Hydro PPA With FirstLight Power

Reading Municipal Light Department has extended a power purchase agreement with FirstLight Power that will enable it to exceed Massachusetts’ noncarbon compliance requirements, which requires utilities in the state to obtain 50 percent of their power supply from noncarbon sources by 2030.

The agreement calls for RMLD to purchase all the hydroelectric power and renewable energy credits from FirstLight’s Falls Village Generating Station in Falls Village, Conn., which averages around 41,000 megawatt hours per year. Falls Village is a three-unit hydroelectric station on the Housatonic River that is qualified as a Class I renewable run-of-river energy facility. The new power purchase agreement will run from 2025 through 2040.

“This deal with FirstLight Power maintains our portfolio at approximately 25 percent hydroelectric power and reinforces RMLD’s prudent risk management practice of maintaining a balanced power supply portfolio across geography and generation type,” Gregory Phipps, RMLD’s general manager, said in a statement.

The agreement also positions the towns of Reading, North Reading, Wilmington, and Lynnfield as leaders in the state’s efforts to achieve decarbonization, RMLD said.

In November 2020, 21 public power utilities in New England signed agreements to purchase 200 million kilowatt-hours per year of hydroelectric power produced by FirstLight Power in Western Massachusetts in a deal structured and executed by Energy New England.

FirstLight has since extended individual agreements with several participating utilities, including an agreement signed in October with Energy New England that extended the power purchase agreements with 13 Massachusetts public power entities that have agreed to purchase over 110 gigawatt hours per year of hydroelectric power produced by two of FirstLight’s hydroelectric facilities in Connecticut.

Energy New England is a wholesale risk management and energy trading organization serving public power utilities in the northeast.

Reading Municipal Light Department serves over 70,000 residents in the towns of Reading, North Reading, Wilmington, and Lynnfield Center.