Microgrids Are Coming To Vermont

Microgrids are the central feature of a plan to bring new products and services to Vermont residences and businesses.
Published: Wed 10 Sep 2014

Vermont’s largest power company Green Mountain Power (GMP) has partnered with NRG Energy to transform Vermont’s power grid towards a cleaner energy future with distributed energy solutions and energy management products for consumers.

The partnership is part of an effort to establish Rutland as the Energy City of the Future, and is intended ultimately to spread throughout Vermont.

By leveraging NRG’s microgrid capabilities, the two firms aim to transform the distribution grid from a century-old power delivery model to a market-based platform.

"Through this partnership, we hope to demonstrate that investing in a 21st century energy eco-system … is more sensible than pouring more investment into the creaky old grid infrastructure from the 20th century," said David Crane, president and CEO of NRG

New energy products and services

The project will offer the following:

Personal energy management: Beginning in 2015, GMP will offer Vermont customers a comprehensive personal energy management solution – a multi-level home control and convenience offering. Subscribing customers will be able to remotely manage energy consumption in their homes to increase comfort and save money. GMP will also offer NRG's web-based technology to provide customers clear insight into their electricity use. Customers may also be able to participate in demand response, in which they voluntarily reduce their use of electricity for specific periods in return for payments or credits on their bill.

NRG Portable Power: GMP will offer NRG’s Portable Power solution enabling customers to charge phones away from home or with a rentable NRG Power Pack.

Electric vehicle infrastructure: GMP will work with NRG’s eVgo division to develop and roll out an expanded, interconnected network of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state, including several charging package options. Both “Level 2” and DC Fast Chargers will be installed in commercial and workplace locations.

Community solar power: In 2013, NRG Home Solar (formerly Residential Solar Solutions) built one of the nation’s first third party financed community solar arrays in Rutland. This array provides 50 residents and businesses a credit on their GMP bill for their portion of the solar energy produced by the array. Customers pay a small monthly fee and are covered by a power production guarantee. NRG is currently working on additional projects in Vermont as part of the partnership with GMP.

Micro-power: GMP is working with NRG to offer micro generation solutions, including NRG’s Beacon 10. These units generate up to 10kW of electricity, provide heat for water and space heating, and offer battery storage and solar integration capability with onsite solar systems.

“This partnership is a really big deal for our customers and for Vermont," said GMP president and CEO, Mary Powell. "Our customers consistently tell us they want tools to save money and move to renewable energy sources, and we can show the rest of the country how to get there. This is what our energy future looks like."

Investing in microgids and facing climate change

Vermont joins a growing number of northeast states investing in microgrid and other technologies to enhance the resiliency of the grid and move to cleaner energy supply. [Engerati- Community Microgrids Coming To New York]

“As governor, I am strongly committed to ensuring that Vermont faces climate change head on,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “That means investing in local renewables like solar and wind. It means using the latest energy storage technologies that give our communities greater energy independence. It means showing the rest of the country how a small state like ours can have a big impact on our energy future."