Vermont regulators approve installation of substation equipment to interconnect solar project

The Vermont Public Utility Commission on June 21 issued a certificate of public good (CPG) to Vermont Electric Power Company and Vermont Electric Transmission Company – collectively referred to as VELCO – for the installation of certain equipment at VELCO’s Coolidge substation.

The commission issued a final order on the same day, adopting a hearing officer’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations on the matter.

As noted in that final order, VELCO in April filed with the commission a petition requesting a CPG authorizing the installation of equipment within the substation on Power Plant Road off Quent Phelan Road in Cavendish and Ludlow in Vermont, to allow for the interconnection of the Coolidge Solar Project, which the commission approved in Docket No. 8685. The order said that VELCO has identified the proposed substation improvements as necessary to allow the solar project to interconnect to the substation without adversely affecting system safety and reliability.

According to a June 20 order in Docket No. 8685, the Coolidge Solar Project is a 20-MW solar electric generation facility.

The commission’s June 21 final order said that the proposed substation modifications consist of installing three current transformers on concrete foundations and one MWh meter; removing rigid bus and replacing with conductor; relocating three pedestal-mounted voltage transformers and associated concrete foundations; relocating one multi-function meter in the control panels in the control building; installing new protection relays in the control panels; and installing below-grade fiber optic cable in the substation to connect to the Coolidge Solar Project fiber optic cables.

All of the proposed modifications will be located inside the existing substation fence, the order noted.

The cost of the project is $723,674, and will be paid for by the Coolidge Solar Project owner, which will also pay VELCO a monthly operation and maintenance fee for the life of the solar project, according to the order.

The owner of the solar facility is NextEra, according to the April 24 pre-filed testimony on behalf of VELCO of Daniel Poulin, a program manager for VELCO.

The commission’s June 21 final order noted that the substation project will not unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region, with due consideration having been given to the recommendations of the municipal and regional planning commissions, the recommendations of the municipal legislative bodies, and the land conservation measures contained in the plan of any affected municipality.

According to the order, the project will meet the need for present and future demand for service, which could not otherwise be provided in a more cost-effective manner through energy conservation programs and measures, as well as energy efficiency and load management measures.

Among other things, the order said that the project will not have an undue adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, the use of natural resources, or public health and safety.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3061 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.