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|Public Service Board Approves Vermont Electric Coop’s Transmission Upgrades|
Johnson, Vermont -Vermont Electric Cooperative’s commitment to provide safe reliable power for its northern Vermont members received support from the Vermont Public Service Board in its recent order approving upgrades to 16.9 miles of transmission lines along with substation upgrades in Lowell, Westfield, and Jay.
VEC’s transmission facilities to be upgraded are now 40 years old and nearing the end of their optimal operational life. The PSB-approved upgrades will improve electric reliability and provide a foundation for future economic growth in the region. The PSB’s decision has accelerated the implementation timeline for this project which is part of VEC’s long-range capital plan and had previously been planned for 2018.
“This transmission project to improve electrical reliability to VEC members in Orleans County is important because reliable power is essential to the economic well-being in these communities and beyond,” said David Hallquist, VEC CEO. “Electric infrastructure improvements can help to attract new businesses and jobs.”
An innovative collaboration between VEC and Green Mountain Power (GMP), Vermont’s second largest electric distribution utility, means that VEC’s ratepayers will not have to bear the full cost of replacing the transmission facilities. Because these upgrades would enable the distribution of electricity produced by GMP’s proposed Kingdom Community Wind renewable energy project in Lowell, GMP will pay for a portion of VEC’s infrastructure improvements if the transmission upgrades gain approval of VEC members in a special election to be held in July. GMP would contribute 58% to power line and substation upgrades which have an overall projected cost of $12 million.
When implemented, KCW is expected to contribute approximately 4% of the energy in VEC’s total power supply portfolio at GMP’s cost of service for 25 years. It will also help VEC to meet the State’s requirement that utilities develop power supply portfolios that include a renewable energy source component of at least 20%.
“In addition to reliability improvements, VEC members will benefit from stably priced renewable power at the lowest cost currently available,” stated Hallquist. “In fact, the price of KCW renewable power will decrease over time which will help us to control future rate increases to VEC ratepayers. This initiative has long-term benefits for Coop members and we view this as a valuable part of VEC’s future power supply portfolio.”
For more details regarding the PSB order click here.
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