Candidate’s Statement – Michael Reive for Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (HMLP) Board

Michael Reive for Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (HMLP) Board

May 12, 2022 submitted by Michael Reive

My name is Michael Reive and I want to tell you why I decided to become a candidate for the open seat on the Hingham Municipal Light Board. The fact that I am running unopposed makes it all the more important that I share my values and vision for Hingham Light with you.

Three fundamental principles guide my candidacy: 1) Reliability - this means continuing to do those things like proactively replacing worn out transformers and wiring, trimming tree limbs, etc. - that enable us to keep the lights on no matter the weather. 2)  Affordability – continually searching for long term contracts and other mechanisms to lock in power at the most favorable rates, keeping overhead expenses low, and managing peak demand to minimize higher cost purchases in the electricity spot market. 3) Sustainability – managing all of the above within the bounds of our resources while steadily increasing the share of our supply portfolio filled by renewable energy sources. Leveraging its unique technical competencies and financial scale, I’d like to see the Light Plant intensify its efforts to foster solar installations in Hingham, so that we grow sources of renewable energy right here in town. HMLP will be a key enabler for attaining Hingham’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

To these three  principles, we need to add a fourth: Resiliency. This means that, if one component of our grid is knocked out of commission, we have the ability to instantly adjust, using other resources to maintain or quickly restore power. (The new sub-station on the agenda for Town meeting approval is one example of a prudent investment in both capacity and resiliency.) Resiliency will become more important as we increasingly depend on electricity to power our society. Electric vehicles, induction stoves, heat pumps – these are going to see rapidly increasing adoption in the coming years. Electrification is an essential part of the Commonwealth’s Roadmap for getting to net zero carbon emission by mid-century. An electrified Hingham effectively addressing the climate crisis starts at the Light Plant and extends into all our homes.

Speaking of our homes – I urge all of us to do whatever we can to help Hingham get to net zero. Make a carbon-reduction/energy-efficiency plan for your household. Do the easy, simple things like more insulation and weather stripping. Replace an aging fossil fuel furnace with an  electric heat pump system that efficiently heats and cools. Support the comprehensive climate action plan currently being developed for the Town. We can achieve Hingham’s “Net Zero by 2040” goal, but not without contributions from each of us.

Our Town-owned electric utility is a precious resource as we navigate our increasingly complex energy future. I think I can help Board members Jack Ryan and Laura Burns chart a steady course, extending the Light Plant’s excellent record of delivering high value for rate payers while prudently leveraging its resources in support of the Town’s net zero goal. I believe I am well-qualified to serve on the Board, with many years of professional experience in all phases of energy management, degrees in chemistry and environmental science, plus supplemental training in electrical engineering. With my wife and two children, I have lived in Hingham for seven years and have been privileged to serve on the Town’s Energy Action Committee as both a member and current chair. I am also a member of Hingham Net Zero, our town’s grass roots climate action group.

The Light Plant Board’s stewardship of this unique asset requires long term planning, understanding of complex technical issues and strong commitment to fiduciary responsibility. I am ready for this challenge and that’s why I am running for the HMLP Board. Your vote will enable me to work with Jack and Laura to steer a course towards a sustainable , affordable and resilient Hingham, ensuring the continued reliability that all of us have become accustomed to enjoying. Thanks in advance for your vote and your support – I will do my best to serve you well.

- Michael Reive, Candidate for Light Plant Board

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