Posts Tagged "green mountain power"

Sun shines on Rutland, the Solar Capital of New England

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The state and solar communities are abuzz with the new development in solar energy news: Rutland has claimed its title as Solar Capitol of New England. The city sees this progress as an indication for turning over a new leaf and progressing into a strong community and a thriving economic area. The city along with regional planners in partnership with Green Mountain Power have been investing and working towards this goal since 2012 when they published the Project Plan detailing the procedure to becoming the Solar Capitol. As a result, Rutland is proudly generating 7.8 megawatts of electricity with 7,722 panels. The placement of the panels included the standard roof-top or backyard model but also sought to creatively revitalize space that cannot otherwise developed, such as brownfields and existing unproductive buildings. This large step for Rutland certainly symbolizes the progress and dedication the region has put into an energy independent future. This success story lends hefty weight in contribution to the Comprehensive Energy Plan of Vermont to obtain 90% of energy from renewable resources by 2050. Although there is quite a ways to go before that goal is reached, seeing a city within the state named a capitol for producing renewable energy is auspicious. You can read more about GMP’s plan for Rutland here or in the Burlington Free...

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FTC Won’t Investigate GMP

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In the past few years Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) have become a heated topic in Vermont. So much so, that it peaked the interest of Vermont Law School (VLS) and elicited a letter from the Vermont Attorney General. If you have been following the story about the sale of RECs within Green Mountain Power (GMP) territory, this update will be of interest to you. According to a February 10th article in Times Argus, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided not to investigate GMPs marketing of RECs, but said that communication to the public should remain clear. [A GMP Press Release from September 19th 2014 is available here] Kevin Jones, a VLS professor was not happy with these results. Last year VLS challenged GMP handling of their RECs, and specifically aimed this criticism towards Vermont’s SPEED law saying that, “From an environmental and electric rate (perspective), the SPEED program has been a failure”. Kristen Carlson, a GMP representative, addressed this issue by bringing to light that the sale of RECs allows for clean energy to be bought at a lower price. Thus boosting the sale of clean energy and allowing Vermont to become a leader in clean energy production. Rates are in fact lowered through the out-of-state sale of RECs. In turn the environment has greater protection through financial support, not greater pollution. [More about GMP on RECs can be found here] As the issue became more public, it morphed into a criticism of the definition of “credit”. While companies that sell energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydro are creating renewable energy, they are selling the “credits”. Thus, selling the right to call them renewable. This is no way negates the fact that these energy sources are in fact creating energy from a source that has renewable attributes, only that the jargon used, must reflect the credit exchange. In essence, this is what the issue has boiled down to. Meanwhile, those of us installing solar and wind generators in Vermont are happy to sell RECs out of state, to insure that Vermont resident’s get lower clean energy rates and that our environment is protected for future generations. Maybe we use “clean energy” instead of “renewable energy”, but the effects are the same. On Thursday a letter was sent from the FTC to a GMP lawyer saying, “Although no findings have been made that these claims [made by VLS] violate the law, we urge GMP in the future to prevent any confusion by clearly communicating the implications of its REC sales for Vermont customers and REC purchasers.” To this end, we attempt to clarify the issues here and educate our Vermont Community Solar participants on the function of RECs. Read the entire article...

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Welcome to the party CA!

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Welcome to the party CA!

UT San Diego just published an article announcing that California utilities will begin providing the community solar option to residents. This is due to a new program authorization approved yesterday. San Diego Gas and Electric is opening up options for participation in a few solar installations around the city. According to this article, Solar power shines on apartments; renters in California, the San Diego community solar billing system will be set up much like ours in the Green Mountain Power utility in VT. Participants can get up to 100% of their electricity covered by solar, and receive credit from their solar portfolio on their utility bill. There was some skepticism brought up by Mike Florio, the CA state utilities commissioner. He thinks that renters wont bite. Another trepidation, is the complexity of group net metered billing. From our understanding, it takes quite a bit of time for our dear friends in the utility billing department to set up credit for Vermont Community Solar Participants. This is especially true with the rising number of participants -let’s hope they get some reliable assistants soon! However, with community solar on the rise, and more and more people opting out of electricity from fossil fuels, it is an inevitable that renters, home owners and businesses will search out cleaner, more energy efficient options. In turn, we will find more efficient ways to bill group net metered solar. These issues are not games stoppers, and for CA they will be a cake walk. With such a high population, there is no reason that community solar will not be a hit. Welcome to the party California! We can’t wait to see how this turns out.   Below are maps of net metering policies by state. This information was found at the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Click here for more information on Net Metering policies throughout the...

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GMP Press Release on the sale of RECs

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Contact: Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power, (802) 229-8200 For Immediate Release: September 19, 2014   Coalition of Business, Energy And State Leaders Supports Clean Energy Future Group criticizes FTC filing: would raise Vermonters’ costs and hurt renewable growth Colchester, Vt – A group of Vermont business, energy, and state leaders joined Green Mountain Power today in criticizing Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic for filing a Federal Trade Commission complaint that targets Vermont’s renewable energy laws. The filing against GMP’s sale of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) would lead to higher electric rates and discourage renewables in Vermont. State laws aimed at encouraging renewable generation, like the SPEED law, have helped Vermont create the highest number of solar jobs per capita in the country. Utilities like GMP, as well as solar and wind developers, utilize RECs to help expand renewable generation and keep rates low for their customers. “In the past five years, the amount of renewable generation developed in Vermont has gone from about 10 MW to over 150 MW – that’s a 15 fold increase,” said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell.  GMP was a leader in accelerating the adoption of solar generation by launching an incentive in 2008. “We are proud of our record and the fact that we have done all of this while lowering rates for customers this year, and helping Vermont become a national leader in clean energy. We will continue to tell Vermonters the true story about our energy portfolio and the importance of selling RECs to encourage more local renewable generation and keep costs low. GMP is proud to stand with clean energy advocates, state officials, and renewable developers in support of our clean energy laws.” The sale of RECs produced about $30 million of value this year alone, dollars that went directly into the pockets of GMP customers through lower rates. “The very successful rapid development and growth of renewable energy generation in Vermont today would simply not have happened without the creation of Vermont’s SPEED program by the Vermont Legislature in 2005,” said Rep. Tony Klein Chair, House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. “Our Vermont utilities are doing exactly what the Vermont Legislature has required them to do. And as a result, it has created jobs, tax revenue and clean energy without raising our utility rates. We need to continue to move forward!” “Our company is very grateful for the work that GMP has done to keep our electric rates down at a time when costs are rising elsewhere. We depend on affordable energy to power Sugarbush each winter. I hope that the people responsible for this will cease their unnecessary and counterproductive filing so that we can focus on the real issues we face as a state,” said Sugarbush Owner Win Smith. “Selling renewable energy credits has been an unqualified success in Vermont,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.  Burlington Electric Department (BED) recently set a new utility benchmark by achieving its goal of having 100% of its power sourced from renewable generation. “The credits have allowed us to meet dual goals: aggressively supporting more wind and solar generation right here in Vermont while keeping rates low and stable for our customers. If REC sales ended today, rates would spike and construction of renewables would slow. That’s a bad bargain for BED’s customers and our community.” “Vermont’s SPEED energy policy has been incredibly effective in promoting the development of renewable generation in our state, building projects that will last for decades,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont.  “The economic development and job creation benefits have put a spotlight on...

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GMP on RECs

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Some of you may know a form of emission capping called carbon credits, or offsets. It is the idea that factories which emit greenhouse gasses must offset their emissions through sequestration of greenhouse gasses elsewhere. “Renewable Energy Credits” (RECs) act as a parallel idea that attempts to curb climate change from a production angle. one REC represents one MWh of clean energy produced. In this way RECs act as a production certificate of clean energy. In Vermont, RECs have come up against some criticism. There has been a circling idea that RECs are allowing factories to buy more pollution privileges. Vermont Law school recently filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation into the the REC market. In an article on FierceEngery, a website that follows trending markets, VLS claims this investigation is based upon the fear of rising electrical prices due to Vermont’s Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) law (Locally this concern was discussed briefly in the Brattleboro Reformer Opinion article on September 19th, “Our Opinion: Furthering the Cause”). Green Mountain Power (GMP) disagrees with the VLS complaints, and has voiced its opposition in saying the sale of RECs has not only supported the growth of clean energy in Vermont, it has also allowed them to keep electric rates reasonably low, supporting the wider economy. Vermont’s SPEED law promotes the production of renewable energy in Vermont by setting statewide goals for utilities. In the past year alone, SPEED has created a huge clean energy workforce in Vermont. In the FierceEnergy article, Mary Powell, President and CEO of GMP, is quoted in saying, “In the past five years, the amount of renewable generation developed in Vermont has gone from about 10 MW to over 150 MW — that’s a 15 fold increase,”. Thats a lot of power. Powell goes on to say that, “We are proud of our record and the fact that we have done all of this while lowering rates for customers this year, and helping Vermont become a national leader in clean energy. We will continue to tell Vermonters the true story about our energy portfolio and the importance of selling RECs to encourage more local renewable generation and keep costs low.” This comes as Burlington and The Burlington Electric Company just made the claim that it now produces 100% of its power from clean energy such as hydro, wind, solar and net metered solar projects, like Vermont Community Solar.  Clearly SPEED is having an effect, and the sales of RECs are fueling the small boom in job creation. This in tandem with growing clean energy production has made Vermont a clear leader in the clean energy industry. Market driven policy, including the sale of RECs, has helped push clean energy into high production. As The People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit tackle the issues of global climate change, the push of the market has made action a reality in Vermont. Read the full article “Green Mountain Power bite back after FTC...

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