Colchester town officials christened one of two new solar farms last week with a ribbon cutting event that doubled as an official send-off to departing selectboard chairwoman Nadine Scibek.
Scibek, who stepped down from the board because she’s moving out of town, arrived at the June 11 ceremony unaware of the town’s plan to formally dedicate its solar farm off Roosevelt Highway in her honor, with a stone plaque outside the farm’s entrance commending her “selfless leadership” and vision for the town’s future. Town officials also read aloud a resolution commending Scibek’s nine-year run on the selectboard, including the last six years as chairwoman.
“I have a farm!” Scibek said when town manager Aaron Frank announced the dedication.
Last week’s event also marked the solar farm’s official completion, which, in combination with another project off Malletts Bay Avenue known as the “Pumpkin Patch” project, will provide the town about 70 percent of its municipal electric load. The two projects are also expected to save nearly $1 million over the next 25 years, while providing more than $90,000 annually in net metering credits.
“And we’re not done yet,” said new selectboard chairman Jeff Bartley, noting the town is working with Aegis Renewable Energy, which built the two farms, to identify future projects.
Nils Behn, CEO of Aegis, ended the ceremony with a “call to arms” for combating climate change, pointing to a recently-released study that showed the earth’s carbon dioxide levels have reached their highest point in human history.
“Keep that in mind: There’s definitely something going on and its human impact that’s causing this issue that we’re in,” Behn said.“The town, with what it’s doing right now, is responding to that in its own way.”