Green Mountain Power has joined the ranks of utilities like
Xcel Energy that are working towards 100 percent carbon-free
electricity. The Vermont-based utility will target 100 percent
carbon-free by 2025 and 100 percent renewables by 2030.
In December, the company said its power sources were already 90
percent carbon-free, so the 2025 deadline won’t be a huge reach.
At the same time, Green Mountain said its mix was over 60 percent
renewables, coming from mostly hydropower.
To build up to its 2030 renewables target, the utility plans to
increase its purchases of wind and hydropower and add local,
distributed resources and energy storage.
Currently, most of Green Mountain’s electricity supply comes
from power purchase agreements. According to its latest Integrated
Resource Plan (IRP), filed in 2018, GMP gets just 20 percent of its
supply from utility-owned sources that include hydro, solar,
oil-fired and wind projects.
The utility also buys and sells renewable energy credits, but
Josh Castonguay, Green Mountain’s vice president and chief
innovation officer, said in an email that only 18 percent of GMP’s
power supply is associated with the trade of those credits.
Green Mountain’s service territory covers more than 75 percent
of the northeastern state.
Renewables and storage
Looking towards 2030, Castonguay, who also leads Green
Mountain’s power supply team, said the utility is “focused on
dramatically ramping up in-state renewable generation,” which it
quantifies as solar, hydropower, wind, biomass and cow manure
digestion. The utility will also focus on regional resources from
Canada, New York and New England to build its supply.
In its IRP, Green Mountain specifically pointed to the addition
of distributed renewables, hydropower and regional offshore wind.
In that document the utility said it assumes the deployment of 50
and 100 megawatts of “additional storage and flexible load
resources” will take place in its territory in the next
decade. Castonguay affirmed that “storage will be critical” in its
Green Mountain has already
partnered with Tesla on a residential battery program for about
2,000 customers. In addition to two existing solar-plus-storage
installations, it’s working
on three new projects, totaling 14.4 megawatts of solar and 6
megawatts of storage. The utility said the latter projects will
provide an array of benefits including frequency regulation and
money-saving during peak pricing.
Building up Green Mountain’s renewable power supply will help
Vermont meet the state’s requirement
that electricity sales reach 75 percent renewable energy by
According to a
report released last year from Environment America, Vermont has
significant work to do on in-state renewable generation. The state
also plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 1990
levels by 2028.
But Green Mountain has framed its thinking beyond state-level
benefits. In announcing the targets, president and CEO Mary Powell
report released this fall by the United Nation’s
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that laid bare the short
timeline left to fight the impacts from climate change.
“The report issued in October of 2018 shows we have just 12
years to bend back the curve on carbon,” she said in a statement
on the carbon-free and renewable announcement. “Green Mountain
Power is determined that through innovation, collaboration and
grit, we can make remarkable strides and be the example of the
change we want to see.”
Source: FS – Transport 2
Vermont Utility Green Mountain Power Commits to 100% Renewables by 2030