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    Sunday, March 03, 2024

    Norwich Public Utilities considers solar project at new sewer plant site

    Aerial view of the Norwich wastewater treatment plant on Hollyhock Island in the Yantic River on Wednesday, September 27, 2023. (Peter Huoppi/The Day)
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    Norwich ― When the city’s new $200 million new sewage treatment plant is completed in five years, the city utilities commission is considering installing a large solar power array on the former city landfill north of the sewer plant.

    Norwich Public Utilities officials have long considered a plan to build a solar array on the northern end of the manmade Hollyhock Island, which splits the Yantic River into an east and west branch as the river enters Norwich Harbor,1 NPU spokesman Chris Riley said in an email.

    The sewage plant project calls for spreading excavated materials from the sewer construction project onto the former landfill at the northern point of the island and building up the mound by several feet before capping it and seeding it, Riley said.

    At Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners, member Robert Staley made a motion that NPU work with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative to evaluate the development of a solar array at the wastewater treatment plant. The commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.

    NPU is a member of CMEEC, which provides purchased wholesale power to member municipal utilities and runs several small power generation facilities, including solar arrays in Norwich.

    CMEEC CEO Dave Meisinger said in an email to The Day that any discussions are very preliminary, and there is no additional information beyond the commission’s vote.

    Riley said once the wastewater treatment plant project nears completion, NPU will work with CMEEC to evaluate the development of the solar array, considering logistics, financing and electric market conditions in the region at the time.

    Any such project likely would require review and approval by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Projection as well, Riley said.

    c.bessette@theday.com

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