Vermont’s energy conundrum

By Rep. CAROLYN PARTRIDGE    Brattleboro Reformer

Monday April 11, 2011

As we build a new economy in Vermont, one of the most important considerations is where we will get our energy. This is also an area that has, unfortunately, suffered a lack of planning over the last several years.

There are those who believe that there was a lack of planning so that when the Entergy Vermont Yankee (ENVY) nuclear plant was due to close, there would be few, if any, choices, and we would be forced to allow them to continue operation. Whatever the intent, energy planning was woefully inadequate and the required energy plan was more of an inventory of the resources we had, as opposed to a plan for our future needs and how we should move forward to meet them.

Currently, the state of Vermont gets one-third of its power from ENVY, but those contracts are due to expire when the plant closes in 2012. Another third of our power comes from Hydro-Quebec (HQ) with those contracts expiring in 2015 and 2016.

Recently, a new 25-year, 225 megawatt (MW), guaranteed contract was signed with HQ that starts with a price that is less than what we pay today. Going forward the price will be collared to protect both the consumers and the producer from the highs and lows of the market. The guaranteed nature of the contract requires that, if for some reason (like an ice storm), HQ is unable to deliver power, we still pay the contracted price. That is not the case with ENVY.

Our average daily statewide usage is approximately 700 MW, with peaks at 1000 MW, so the new HQ contract will provide close to one third of our average daily usage. In the northeast, there is an abundance of potential power due to efficiency measures put in place over the last ten years. The recession has also reduced the demand for power, so we are in a good position to negotiate power contracts. This is definitely the time to get things in place for the future.

(the end of the article details 2 Renewable energy bills H.56 and H.57)

full article  – http://www.reformer.com/ci_17816494?source=most_viewed

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