The board of directors of the Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) made it official on September 28, when they met to consider both a purchase power agreement and a joint ownership agreement on the Lowell Mountain wind project proposed by Green Mountain Power.
David Hallquist, chief executive officer of VEC, said the board adopted both agreements unanimously.
Mr. Hallquist declined to say how much his utility agreed to pay for power from the wind project. He did say, however, that the price was probably double the going market rate for wholesale electric power.
In general, he said, “wind power is more expensive than the current market – if you don’t include renewable energy credits.”
Mr. Hallquist said VEC would receive the credits for wind power purchased from the Lowell Mountain project.
He said the cost of power from Lowell Mountain would decline towards market rates as time passes, and the project’s capital costs are paid off. This is a contrast with other wind projects, Mr. Hallquist said, where the price of power rises over time.
The purchase agreement, he said, gives VEC access to 15 percent of the wind project’s power, which would satisfy about 4 percent of VEC’s annual demand.
Mr. Hallquist said the joint ownership agreement commits VEC to paying 42 percent of the cost of new “transmission and distribution assets” needed to bring the proposed project’s power to market. The total cost is around $10.8-million, he said, so VEC’s share would be about $4.5-million. Green Mountain Power would pay the balance.
Mr. Hallquist said that the joint ownership agreement does not involve the wind turbines themselves, but only new transmission lines and substations, some of which VEC already planned to build.
“We already had an investment plan for our transmission and distribution system,” Mr. Hallquist said. With the agreed improvements, he added, “We actually get a better system, even if the project doesn’t get built.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding