Council approves MOU

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NEDO will construct a one megawatt photovoltaic plant

By Jennifer Garcia

Los Alamos County is moving ahead in an agreement with a Japanese firm to test alternative energy systems.

One of the items on Tuesday night’s agenda was the Memorandum of Understanding with the New Energy and Technology Development Organization of Japan (NEDO). “In this proposed project, NEDO will construct a 1 megawatt photovoltaic (PV) plant and a 1 megawatt (MW), 7 MWh (megawatt hours) sodium sulfur battery on the county’s closed landfill, provide an energy management system or EMS to manage those resources and will equip a typical Los Alamos home with the latest in Japanese energy management technology and appliances,” according to county documents.

“NEDO will also provide approximately 100 smart electric meters to be placed in the county’s system. The county’s part of the project will be to provide another 1 MW of PV generation, provide a house to be used as the smart house, provide smart switches on the demonstration circuit and install the smart meters in the county’s system,” the documents further state.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Department of Public Utilities Director John Arrowsmith spoke briefly with council regarding the MOU.

“We will match their one megawatt with a megawatt of our own. We’ll also provide the house,” Arrowsmith said. He also said that he had spoken with John Wolfe of Los Alamos Public Schools about possibly using middle school property for the house. In addition, he said Los Alamos National Laboratory is involved in the project and is providing information on the weather, as well as modeling a grid.

Discussion on the topic was short, with very few councilor questions. Councilor Vincent Chiravalle moved to approve the MOU, seconded by Councilor Robert Gibson and passed with a 6-0 vote. Councilor Nona Bowman recused herself from the discussion.

Council also quickly approved the certification of the Canvassing Committee results of the 2010 primary election. Bowman made the motion, seconded by Gibson. The motion passed 7-0.

As a result of council action, the North Mesa soccer field will now be called Flint Field. Councilors approved 5-2, the motion to rename the field in memory of former County Administrator Jim Flint. Councilor Sharon Stover made the motion for approval, seconded by Chiravalle. Councilors Bowman and Gibson voted against it. Gibson cited three reasons that he did not agree with the motion:

• He said he’s never been in favor of naming public facilities after people;

• He said if they were going to name a facility after someone, all candidates should be considered, not just one;

• He said the reason Flint was being considered was because he was a county administrator, not because he was a soccer coach.

A placeholder for possible council action resulting from closed session discussion of limited personnel matters (employee hiring) was permanently removed from the agenda at the request of Stover. Council voted 7-0 to remove the item.

Eight public hearings were scheduled, as well. However, six of them were taken off the agenda and rescheduled for the June 23 special meeting in White Rock. Council did hold two hearings, however. Ordinance No. 554 (water project loan)and Ordinance No. 557 (water project agreement) both passed unanimously.