Have you ever wondered where your power comes from?

VEC’s power supply is generated by hydro, wind, solar, farm methane, wood, nuclear, and natural gas/oil sources. (See the table below for percentages of each source.)

Starting in 2017, Vermont’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires all Vermont electric utilities to have 55 percent of their power supply come from renewable sources. The renewable requirement increases over time until it reaches 75 percent in 2032.

VEC’s policy is to provide safe and reliable power in the least expensive way possible. The analysis of which contracts are the least expensive will change depending on whether you consider the long-term or short term, and can lead to different decisions.  For example, a five-year contract that has a flat price for the entire term may be less expensive in the long run than a five-year contract that begins at a low price but increases each year.  We balance short-term savings with long-term savings and price stability.

In planning power purchases, VEC calculates our short-term (one- ­to five-year) power needs based on actual power used during the past three to five years (depending on how the weather in those years compares to long-term trends). We then adjust these figures based on major known expansions or reductions. Going into the year, we try to have contracts in place for at least 90 percent of our projected needs (sometimes more if we think it’s prudent). We buy power from the spot market, as needed for load, for the remainder. Our long-term power supply needs are projected based on formal forecasts conducted every three years.

The chart below shows VEC’s fuel mix since 2011.

Note: This chart shows the fuel sources before the sale of any Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs are the renewable attributes of the electricity, and if they are sold the energy can no longer be considered renewable. VEC currently sells many of the excess RECs associated with various renewable energy sources in order to keep rates low for members, while still fulfilling the requirements of the RPS.

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Hydro

59.6%

58.5%

43.8%

57.8%

58.5%

59.6%

60.8%

Natural Gas or Oil

17.9%

26.5%

41.3%

25.4%

7.0%

3.2%

3.3%

Nuclear

17.0%

4.0%

 

 

15.9%

17.9%

16.6%

Wind/Solar/Farm Methane/Wood

5.5%

11.0%

14.9%

17.6%

18.5%

19.4%

19.2%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 100.0%

 

As part of the RPS, VEC works to bring more renewable energy into our portfolio and has developed three solar projects in partnership with solar developers. These three projects total about 7.5 megawatts and will produce about two percent of VEC’s annual power supply needs. Currently, utility-scale solar is the most cost-effective means of bringing solar power onto the grid because of economies of scale and the ability to locate generation in places where it is most beneficial. Learn more here

Vermont also allows individuals and businesses to develop small-scale renewable generation projects through the net metering program.  For more information, please visit VEC’s net metering page.

An additional way that renewable energy projects are developed is through the Standard Offer program, which is administered by the state. Developers submit bids for projects they would like to develop, and the state awards the contracts. Utilities then purchase their share of this generation.