2012-03-17 / News

Lakewood postpones energy discussions

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Lakewood School Board members pushed back their discussion of an alternative energy plan for the district until April at the soonest.

“We’ve heard virtually nothing back from Tipping Point,” said Lakewood Superintendent Jay Gault during Tuesday night’s board meeting (this month the board met Tuesday night instead of its usual Wednesday meeting night).

Gault said he originally expected the board to discuss contracts from Tipping Point Renewable Energy to provide solargenerated electrical power to the district and SABO Limbach Energy Service outlining energy efficiency projects in district buildings. He said he heard from SABO regarding a contract, but Tipping Point had yet to present a contract to the district and he didn’t want to continue discussions with the board until contracts were available from both SABO and Tipping Point and the district’s legal counsel had an opportunity to review them both.

Board members met with SABO and Tipping Point representatives for an informational meeting Feb. 28 with the intention of discussing their proposals during the March 13 board meeting, but those plans were changed.

Gault said previously he believes solar cells could save 80 percent on electricity costs for the Lakewood high, intermediate, and middle schools. He said SBO Limbach’s projects would be financed through the Ohio School Facilities Commission Energy Conservation Program House Bill 264. The Energy Conservation Program allows school districts to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings, such as replacing Lakewood Middle School’s single pane windows, and use the cost savings to pay for those improvements.

“The savings you get has to be more than the payment for the loan,” said Gault. However, he said he needs to have the solar power contract from Tipping Point before anything can move forward with SABO.

Treasurer Glenna Plaisted said she hoped to have the necessary contracts next week. “We won’t have anything to report to the board until April,” said Gault.

In other Lakewood news:

• Gault told board members he would explore ways the district may be able to benefit from the Utica Shale oil and natural gas field. “We’re in a pretty good location for natural gas,” he said. Gault said Lakewood has more than 110 acres of land and it only makes sense to at least look into the possibility of generating some income for the district, although he was very clear he’s committed the district to nothing. Gault said gas and oil producers will pay property owners up front for the right to explore and drill their land, and then the land owner receives a percentage of the profits should oil or gas be found and produced. He said he would attend an informational meeting about the prospect of drilling for gas and oil on Monday.

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