Sandwich Wins Renewable Energy Technical Grant

Sandwich officials are seeking to tap renewable energy to keep the town’s emergency shelter and operations center running when the power goes out.

The officials want to design and implement back-up energy measures to prevent any replays of what happened during a severe winter storm, sometimes known as Nemo, that slammed into Sandwich in February 2013.

People staying at Sandwich High School, the town’s emergency shelter, were forced to leave when the school lost power and its generator failed, according to Brian Gallant, the town’s emergency management director.Mr. Gallant said those sheltering at Sandwich High boarded buses to go to another emergency shelter at Falmouth High School.

The emergency operations center, which is at the Human Services Building on Quaker Meetinghouse Road, also lost power from the grid, though the center was able to tap a generator to return to operation.

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That was fortunate for the town’s police station and fire headquarters, which Mr. Gallant said lost power for two days. The generator powering both buildings failed.

In response, the police and fire departments shifted operations to the emergency center until power was restored.

Given what happened in that storm, town officials now have sought and received a grant from the state Division of Energy Resources designed to help the town avoid similar scenarios in the future.

The state agency recently awarded the town a Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative Technical Assistance Grant.

Sarah Cote, chairman of the town’s energy committee, said the grant will provide the town with technical assistance to help design renewable energy systems to keep the high school shelter and emergency operations center supplied with power, even if power is lost from the grid.

Ms. Cote said the town will work with a consulting team already partnering with the state agency, which will provide Sandwich with an analysis of potential project sites that would generate renewable energy for the shelter and center.

Sandwich then would be eligible to apply for a second round of implementation funding in October.

Based on the town’s population, Ms. Cote said, Sandwich would qualify for about $350,000 in funding, although that funding is not guaranteed.

The town’s energy committee completed the successful grant application with the help of Mr. Gallant, assistant town manager Douglas A. Lapp, town facilities director Ted Hamilton and school facilities director Alan Hall.

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