Council seeks bids on renewable energy options at transfer station

Council seeks bids on renewable energy options at transfer station

PAWTUCKET – What if the future of the city’s waste transfer facility on Grotto Avenue is to produce clean energy instead of accepting residents’ dirty and discarded items?

That’s the question City Councilor Meghan Kallman is asking as she and the council start the process of seeking bids on various renewable energy options at the facility, including solar power, wind turbines and other energy sources.

The purpose of the request for proposals from companies would be to cap the polluted transfer facility “and do something different,” said Kallman.

The idea for renewable energy uses is one of many options officials are pursuing as they try to decide the best path going forward for the transfer station, which must be closed due to environmental issues or cleaned up and improved to an acceptable point.

Officials are at a standstill on Mayor Donald Grebien’s proposal to develop a new and expanded transfer station on Concord Street, an initiative that’s drawn sharp opposition from neighborhood residents. They’re also researching other methods for disposing of all the trash currently going to the transfer station.

Councilor Sandra Cano, serving her last council meeting, supported the idea. She and Kallman said the city now has a starting point on what to potentially do next.

The council approved a request to Grebien asking for a $5,000 retainer to pay clean Energy Development LLC to research what potential renewable energy uses at the site might look like. The consulting firm will help construct the request for proposals from companies.

Kallman said she wants to see the idea researched “thoroughly and thoughtfully.” Neighbors of the transfer station will be invited to offer input, she said.

The councilwoman has repeatedly said that she thinks it might be time for Pawtucket to get out of the trash business.

Also at the April 11 council meeting, Council President David Moran said he met with Grebien and came away believing more than ever that city leaders need to be on the same page on an important issue, and about finding a solution for waste services and what to do with the Grotto Avenue station. He said he plans to create an ad hoc committee to research options.