Salisbury To Join Energy Program

SALISBURY- Inclusion in a new state program could lead to increased efforts to improve energy efficiency in the city of Salisbury.
The city has the opportunity to become involved with Maryland Smart Energy Communities. Michael Moulds, director of Public Works for Salisbury, told the City Council that the program would look for improvements in certain areas related to energy and could facilitate grant funding to help.
“Maryland Smart Community is looking for commitment of the city to meet two of three policies,” he said.
The two policies that the city is aiming at include improved energy efficiency as well as a reduction in petroleum consumption. The third option would be focus on renewable energy, but isn’t something that the city is going to go after at the moment.
“There’s a renewable energy component which we’re not going to be chasing after,” said Moulds. “That’s related to things like solar panels.”
With energy and fuel efficiency, the city will have to meet certain reduction deadlines within five years. The baseline consumption of energy will be expected to fall 15-percent while petroleum consumption will be expected to drop 20-percent. However, the city will be able to set the starting year for that baseline.
“We can start that baseline date back and get credit for what we’ve already done,” Moulds told the council.
With energy efficiency that should be especially helpful since Salisbury is about seven percent into that 15-percent reduction. Plans to reduce it further include streetlight conversion to LED as well as an emphasis on awareness on basic energy saving strategies among all city employees.
To reduce the consumption of petroleum fuel, the city could look to add more energy efficient vehicles into service.
“And also we’re looking at researching dual-fuel opportunities using natural gas or propane,” said Moulds.
Both strategies appealed to the council.
“I’m definitely in favor of good energy practices, both from the standpoint of our impact on the environment and cost savings to the taxpayers,” said councilmember Terry Cohen.
She did question whether the city would be committed to accepting any grants that were offered even if the council did the math and deemed the projects “unfeasible.” Salisbury would not be obligated in that case, according to Moulds.
The council voted to move discussion on Maryland Smart Energy Communities to their next legislative session on Dec. 9.