Vermont Electric Cooperative Launches New Program to Reduce Carbon and Reduce Costs in Maple Sugaring Operations
December 18, 2015
Johnson, VT- Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) has announced a new incentive program to assist maple sugaring operations to move to a future of lower production costs and lower carbon emissions.
VEC, with over 400 maple sugar producers in their service territory, is committed to identifying and assisting members that can benefit from fuel switching and emission reduction opportunities through new technology and customized solutions.
“The carbon reduction and cost savings potential in the maple sugar industry are truly staggering “ according to Jeff Wright, VEC’s Chief Operating officer. “There is tremendous opportunity to help our members in one of Vermont’s finest traditional industries save money and reduce the amount of carbon going into the environment. We are launching the first step in this new program through a partnership with Dominion Grimm who manufactures the ECOVAP product, and we hope to expand the pilot project in the future to other products and services”.
The ECOVAP is an electronic maple sugar evaporator that has total recovery of steam energy with no smoke or steam stack. It has very low energy consumption per gallon of syrup with 22 times less consumption of energy than an oil fired evaporator. An ECOVAP in operation at Maple Sugar Mountain in Belvidere VT has only had to use just over one kilowatt of electricity to boil each gallon of sap. The carbon offset from an equivalent propane or oil evaporator is roughly 30 tons of C02 emissions. This is the equivalent of about 80,000 highway miles driven, or taking 7 cars off the road.
Maple Sugar Mountain owned by David Mann, Roger Mann Jr., and Bill Baker, bought the first ECOVAP in the United States. It was installed and operated during the 2015 maple sugar season. “We were very pleased with the high quality of syrup produced by the electric evaporator, as well as the low cost to operate the unit,” stated David Mann.
Through this new VEC program, maple sugar producers will be eligible for incentives from VEC when they purchase new electric ECOVAP technology to run or expand their sugaring operation. During the initial pilot project VEC will cover the cost of the electric transformer that would be required to switch to the ECOVAP technology.
In early 2015, the Vermont Legislature passed legislation that required Vermont utilities to implement Energy Transformation Projects so that utility customers and members would be encouraged to switch to fuels that produce less carbon. VEC is developing projects to meet this requirement that are consistent with the needs of their members in the more rural parts of the state.
Chuck Ross, Vermont’s Agriculture Secretary appreciates this focus and strategy. “Maple is Vermont’s signature product – we lead the nation in annual syrup production, and high quality maple products are a hallmark of the Vermont brand. Efficiency innovations and our proud tradition of best-in-class maple, are why Vermont continues to be a leader in this industry. ”
VEC welcomes all maple sugaring operations in their service territory to contact them about the ECOVAP and other fuel switching incentives.
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About Vermont Electric Cooperative: http://www.vermontelectric.coop/ Nationally recognized for innovative and advanced use of technology, Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) is the largest locally owned electric distribution utility in Vermont.