Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power announced Tuesday that it has filed with the Public Service Board an agreement with Enel Green Power NA to acquire 14 of Enel's small hydroelectric power stations located mainly in northern New England, with an approximate total capacity of 17 megawatts. GMP has also entered into a power purchase agreement with Enel for the rights to the output of two other Enel hydroelectric power stations in accordance with a 25-year PPA. The deal, GMP said in a statement, will create one of the lower cost renewable resources in GMP’s energy portfolio. GMP also said Tuesday that it expects to sell a limited number of renewable energy credits from some of the plants to reduce costs for customers in the short term.
GMP has now filed for all state and federal regulatory approvals that will enable it to go forward with the agreement with EGP-NA. The GMP-Enel deal is subject to regulatory approval by the Vermont Public Service Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This $20.3 million acquisition is expected to close in 2017. GMP and Enel reached agreement in July and initially announced it in August. The statement Tuesday adds that the regulatory filings have been completed and that some of the RECs will be sold.
“This is a great, cost effective way for GMP to help meet the renewable energy standards and goals set by the state,” said Tony Klein, a Vermont Representative and chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. “Growing Vermont’s renewable portfolio for ratepayers is critical and this new agreement will help ensure that happens for Vermont and Vermont rate payers.”
The total renewable energy generated from these new dams is enough to power 21,000 homes. GMP already owns 32 local hydro stations.
The 14 dams range in size from 0.4 megawatts to 2.78 megawatts. GMP's current hydro fleet produces electricity at around 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. The new dams will supply electricity at about 8.5 cents per kwh. By comparison, solar panels cost 11-13 cents per kwh.
Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department, said: “Hydroelectric plants are a long-lasting, dependable source of clean, environmentally responsible energy operating at stable and predictable costs. With the acquisition of the Winooski One Hydro Plant in 2014, BED was able to source 100% of its power from renewable generation. For utilities like Green Mountain Power, leveraging hydro power creates tremendous value, providing affordable, stable rates for Vermont customers, while growing the renewable portion of its portfolio.”
GMP spokesperson Dotty Schnure told VBM in August that the agreement includes the purchase of 14 hydroelectric facilities, four of which are in Vermont: North Hartland, Newbury, Hartford and Barnet. The others are in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. The PPA includes one facility in Sheldon and another in Ticonderoga, NY. Half of the generation of the new hydro is from Vermont.
"The exciting part of this is that we're adding great, cost-effective hydro for our customers," Schnure said.
Map of GMP's hydro stations. Above, the Taftsville site on the Ottauquechee River in the town of Woodstock. GMP images.
Enel Green Power NA is a subsidiary of Italian energy giant Enel Spa.
Sources: GMP. Gaz Metro. 8.12.2016