Energy

An epochal transformation in the way energy is made, delivered and used in the U.S. is under way, and in Maine an experiment in what’s called a “non-wires alternative” could disrupt electric utilities’ traditional business models by averting the need to build expensive new transmission infrastructure.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Recordkeeping at Vermont Gas Systems is so sloppy that Vermont’s consumer advocate made exceptions to consumer protection rules in order to prevent “significant financial hardship” for Vermont Gas, according to expert testimony filed with regulators.

Greg Zupkus stood in the shadow of one his company’s wind turbines. A low hiss came from the turbine’s cooling fan, and in the distance, sporadic gun shots popped off from the adjoining hunting club. But the turbines, surrounded by fields and forest, and turning in the light summer breeze were, for the most part, quiet.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Even as wind and solar energy have grown to nearly 10 percent of New England's energy mix, they're still not a reliable power source. Wind and sunshine can't simply be turned on and off with a switch. A new software company is hoping to use a simple appliance in your basement — your water heater — to store that sporadic renewable energy and transform the way the electricity grid works. 

Legislation approved earlier this year tries to give towns more say over where wind and solar projects are built. But municipalities are going to have to earn their influence, and the state is now working on rules that will govern towns’ roles in the renewable-energy siting process.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Times are bright for solar energy in New England. From small projects to massive, multi-acre arrays, solar projects are both changing the landscape and transforming the way we buy, sell and transmit electricity. 

Yet the solar boom poses unique challenges for the regional grid, as well as for one small, member-owned utility in northern Vermont.

John Van Hoesen / VPR File

Vermont Gas Systems has publicly maintained that the company plans to bring its pipeline to Addison County online by the end of this year, but a June presentation to the company’s board said otherwise: The presentation shows that by one internal estimate, the pipeline won’t be in service until April of 2017.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Proponents of wind energy say they're worried that a state-funded research project will be used to misguide Vermonters about the health effects of turbine noise.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is pursuing a civil enforcement action against Vermont Gas Systems after the company’s contractors killed dozens of protected sunflowers in July. The agency is also asking Vermont’s utility regulator to investigate the company for potential violations of its "certificate of public good," which sets out conditions for the pipeline’s construction.

The Vermont Gas pipeline to Addison County has been completed, but state regulators are looking into whether the company violated safety protocols while blasting during construction.
John Van Hoesen / VPR File

The Department of Public Service said in regulatory filings Monday that Vermont Gas isn’t likely to finish its Addison County pipeline this year, and proposed that the company be forced to cover $35.5 million of pipeline costs because of “imprudent” spending.

Courtesy Iberdrola Renewables

The town of Grafton will not hold a public vote this November on a proposed 28-turbine wind development.

Regulatory filings this week show Green Mountain Power is purchasing 17 new hydroelectric dams to add to its generation portfolio, but state regulators aren't sure the dams are a smart buy.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The City of Montpelier has set a goal to become the country's first net zero capital city, and a new nonprofit plans to take on what it calls the biggest obstacle to that goal: Montpelier's car culture.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The town of Windham will hold a vote on a controversial commercial wind project.

The Selectboard met Monday night to finalize the ballot language for the vote which will be held on Election Day.

The state's largest utility says a new rate program will allow customers to save money while helping the utility to cut demand for electricity.

AP File Photo

Entergy Vermont Yankee has agreed to fund at least two more years of emergency planning around the shuttered nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Vermont ANR

A commercial wind project in southern Vermont that's been delayed for seven years is finally moving ahead.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Public Service Board has released its interim sound standards for commercial wind projects.
After setting standards on a case-by-case basis, the board, for the first time, established uniform limits on how loud wind turbines can be.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Public Service Board held a much-anticipated hearing Thursday on a Vermont Gas Systems effort to build a pipeline through a wetland area in Geprags Park in Hinesburg.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

Bill Lee, or the "Spaceman," as he is still affectionately known from his days as a Major League Baseball pitcher with the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, is a resident of Craftsbury, and is running for Governor of Vermont in 2016 on the Liberty Union ticket.

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