Green Mountain Power pursues approvals for two solar projects in Vermont

Affiliates of Green Mountain Power are pursuing at the Vermont Public Service Board approvals of small solar projects, with public hearings coming up on both applications.

GMPSolar-Williston LLC applied July 15 for a Certificate of Public Good authorizing the installation and operation of a 4.69-MW net-metered solar facility, to be located near Mountain View Road in Williston, Vermont, and to be known as the GMPSolar Williston Project. This project is subject to a public hearing the evening of Sept. 16 to be held by the board.

Kirk Shields, Director of Business Development for Green Mountain Power (GMP), said in supporting testimony that this is net-metering project that will financially offset some electricity usage at the GlobalFoundries facility located in Essex Junction, Vermont. GMP worked with GlobalFoundries and coordinated with the Public Service Department to design and implement a type of net-metering project that will accomplish several important goals. The project will help meet the financial and electricity needs of the Essex Junction facility, the single largest electricity user in GMP’s service area, while also creating incentives for GlobalFoundries to invest in both energy efficiency programs and plant production expansion at this important facility.

Douglas C. Smith, Director of Power Supply for Green Mountain Power, said this project will meet a small portion of the energy and capacity needs of GMP’s customers, most likely by operating as a “load-reducer” within GMP’s service territory. Specifically, during hours when the project is producing net output, that output will offset the hourly load requirements that GMP needs to purchase from the ISO New England energy market.

In turn, reductions in GMP’s hourly load requirements at the time of the ISO-NE annual hourly peak load will reduce GMP’s share of regional capacity obligations in the Forward Capacity Market (FCM), Smith added. By reducing GMP’s net load requirements from ISO-NE, the project will also tend to reduce GMP’s allocation of ISO-NE ancillary service costs, although the value of these savings will likely be quite small relative to energy and capacity.

Rod Viens, Executive Vice President with groSolar, said GMP is working with groSolar to develop the project. Viens is head of the groSolar development team working on this project.

The project is an approximately 4.69 MW (+/-) (AC) solar facility located off of Mountain View Road in Williston, Vermont, on land that will be subdivided before construction from an approximately 470-acre parcel formerly owned by IBM and currently owned by GlobalFoundries. The project is expected to generate approximately 8,186 megawatt hours of electrical energy per year.

Application on 2-MW project due for hearing on Sept. 24

There is also pending a July 20 petition of GMPSolar-Richmond LLC for a Certificate of Public Good authorizing the installation and operation of a 2.0-MW solar electric facility off of Governor Peck Highway in Richmond, Vermont, to be known as the GMPSolar Richmond Project. The public hearing on this application is due on Sept. 24.

Shields, the Director of Business Development for Green Mountain Power, said in that application that in order to maximize the cost effectiveness of this particular project for customers, GMP is using a financing method called a Partnership Flip structure to make efficient use of Investment Tax Credits (ITC). GMP created an affiliate company named GMPSolar–Richmond to own and operate the project, which was specifically done to accommodate a tax equity partner. The value of all of the products and attributes produced by the solar project will flow directly to GMP customers through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between GMP and GMPSolar.

Smith, the Director of Power Supply for Green Mountain Power, said the project will, in effect, be a conventional above-the-line utility project, subject to traditional cost-of-service rate-making procedures – with the project’s costs (and the benefits of its output) reflected in GMP’s annual retail revenue requirements.

Viens, the Executive Vice President with groSolar, said this is an approximately 2.0 MW (+/-) (AC) solar  facility located off of Governor Peck Highway in Richmond. The project will be sited on 11 (+/-) acres of an approximately 35-acre parcel owned by GMP and located directly adjacent to GMP’s existing substation. The project is expected to generate approximately 3,490 megawatt hours of electrical energy per year.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.