MARBLEHEAD — A new deal for hydroelectric power brings the Marblehead Municipal Light Department closer to its 100% carbon-free energy goal. 

The Marblehead department is among several in Massachusetts and Connecticut receiving electricity from Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian public utility, under a five-year power flow rights agreement. According to a statement Monday from the light department, Marblehead began receiving carbon-free hydroelectric power on Nov. 1.

Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company, of which the Marblehead department is a member, negotiated the deal in collaboration with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative. 

Marblehead and 18 other participating MMWEC member utilities are collectively purchasing 15 megawatts of firm power, which translates to 131,400 megawatt hours of electric power annually. Marblehead’s share, 0.75 megawatts, translates to 6,570 megawatt hours of electric power supplied annually to Marblehead customers. This equals the amount of electricity 828 residential customers in town — or 9.3% of the town's residential customers — use each year. 

According to the light department, the agreement does not mean higher electric rates. The deal specifies that the cost of the power is reduced by the price Hydro-Quebec pays to Marblehead and the other participating utilities to flow power to the area. 

“The Marblehead Municipal Light Department is very pleased we’re participating in this deal,” light department General Manager Joe Kowalik said in a statement. “It aligns well with our strategy to Go Green without Going in the Red.”

Marblehead Town Meeting in 2018 passed a resolution that set a goal of using 100% carbon-free energy. Last year, Marblehead Municipal Light Department's power portfolio was 37% carbon-free. Assuming Marblehead’s annual electric power stays the same next year, the agreement with Hydro-Quebec will increase the town's reported carbon-free generation by roughly 6.2%, to a projected total of 43% reported carbon-free power.

“It’s exactly the type of power deal that MMLD and all Massachusetts municipals want in our power portfolios today,” said light department board Chairman Mike Hull. “We truly appreciate the fine work done by the MMWEC team. They saw an opportunity in the changing New England energy market and made this deal a reality.” 


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