"Vermonters have clearly stated their desire for clean, low-emission, renewable energy if it can be obtained at an affordable cost, and this contract meets all of those criteria," CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement.
CVPS’s contract, its third recent wind turbines contract, is for 20 percent of the output of Noble Environmental Power’s planned 99-megawatt Granite Reliable Power Wind farm in Coos County, N.H., for 15 years starting in November 2012. C
VPS had previously executed a contract for 30.3 percent of the output of the Granite Reliable project in February, and plans to execute another, subject to approval by the Vermont Public Service Board, for two-thirds of the output of Iberdrola Renewables’ planned Deerfield Wind Project in Readsboro and Searsburg, Vt. The Vermont Public Service Board approved the first Granite Reliable contract earlier this year, and the Deerfield contract is currently under review.
Green Mountain Power’s contract is for seven percent of the Granite Reliable project for 20 years, starting in November 2012. GMP previously executed a contract for 25 percent of the output in February. GMP has a longstanding commitment to wind. It owns and operates the six-megawatt Searsburg wind farm and is proposing to build up to 63 megawatts of wind in Lowell, Vt.
"Our customers have long enjoyed arguably the cleanest power supply in the nation, and these contracts will help us retain a very clean portfolio," Young and Powell said. "These new contracts are very competitive with other wind offerings we’ve seen in the marketplace. That’s especially important given the increasing cost pressures local utilities face for the bills for regional transmission improvements and system upgrades to maintain and improve New England’s reliability in the coming years."
To protect negotiating position in ongoing talks with other power suppliers, the utilities did not disclose the price, though regulators will fully vet the contract proposals.
The utilities have been crafting new power portfolios in anticipation of the end of major contracts with Hydro-Quebec and Vermont Yankee, which supply roughly two-thirds of the power needed to serve customers. CVPS and GMP recently signed a major new contract with Hydro-Quebec and announced several other efforts to replenish their portfolios.
"We continue to examine the market and look for opportunities to diversify our power portfolio while honoring our legacy of environmentally based power choices," the utilities said. "While new renewable sources are more expensive than our existing non-renewable power sources, these contracts are the most attractive options for meeting Vermont’s goal of using new renewable power to meet 5 percent and 20 percent of customer demand by 2013 and 2017, respectively. Today’s contracts, in particular, represent a solid value for customers."
Young and Powell said that among the factors considered when adding to the companies’ portfolio are Vermont’s renewable power content goals, price and price stability, fuel diversity, environmental attributes, reliability and the public preferences that were determined through the state’s public outreach process.
CVPS, Vermont’s largest electric utility, serves more than 159,000 customers across Vermont. The company is recognized by Forbes as one of the most trustworthy companies in America.
Green Mountain Power serves more than 95,000 Vermont customers and was recently named a finalist in the Platts Global Energy Awards for green energy initiatives.