Developer Voices Concern As GMP Eyes Out-Of-State Hydro Purchases

Nov 23, 2016

Green Mountain Power is looking to buy 14 hydroelectric stations in Vermont and three other New England states. The company says the deal would benefit ratepayers, but a solar developer says investments outside Vermont will slow down renewable energy development in the state.

Three of the plants GMP is eyeing are in Vermont, and the rest are located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

GMP announced in September that it had reached an agreement with Enel Green Power North America for the 14 hydro stations, which produce 17 megawatts of electricity.

Allco Renewable Energy is a New York firm that builds solar projects, and the company told the Public Service Board that GMP's proposed acquisition would displace demand for in-state renewable energy projects.

But GMP spokeswoman Kristin Carlson says the deal would benefit customers.

"If you look at New England and New England energy, it's the whole grid, and how the whole grid connects and works together," Carlson says. "And so there really aren't borders when you look at energy."

GMP currently owns 32 hydro plants in Vermont, and said the deal would create one of the lower-cost renewable resources in the utility's portfolio.

The deal must be approved by the Public Service Board.

Allco was asking the Public Service Board to intervene in GMP's petition for a state permit, but the board rejected the company's argument.

The board says it will weigh the out-of-state investment as part of the standard regulatory process.