SOURCE: Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power

September 19, 2014 12:19 ET

Coalition of Business, Energy and State Leaders Supports Clean Energy Future

Group Criticizes FTC Filing: Would Raise Vermonters' Costs and Hurt Renewable Growth

COLCHESTER, VT--(Marketwired - September 19, 2014) -  A group of Vermont business, energy, and state leaders joined Green Mountain Power today in criticizing Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Clinic for filing a Federal Trade Commission complaint that targets Vermont's renewable energy laws. The filing against GMP's sale of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) would lead to higher electric rates and discourage renewables in Vermont. State laws aimed at encouraging renewable generation, like the SPEED law, have helped Vermont create the highest number of solar jobs per capita in the country. Utilities like GMP, as well as solar and wind developers, utilize RECs to help expand renewable generation and keep rates low for their customers.

"In the past five years, the amount of renewable generation developed in Vermont has gone from about 10 MW to over 150 MW -- that's a 15 fold increase," said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell. GMP was a leader in accelerating the adoption of solar generation by launching an incentive in 2008. "We are proud of our record and the fact that we have done all of this while lowering rates for customers this year, and helping Vermont become a national leader in clean energy. We will continue to tell Vermonters the true story about our energy portfolio and the importance of selling RECs to encourage more local renewable generation and keep costs low. GMP is proud to stand with clean energy advocates, state officials, and renewable developers in support of our clean energy laws." 

The sale of RECs produced about $30 million of value this year alone, dollars that went directly into the pockets of GMP customers through lower rates.

"The very successful rapid development and growth of renewable energy generation in Vermont today would simply not have happened without the creation of Vermont's SPEED program by the Vermont Legislature in 2005," said Rep. Tony Klein Chair, House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. "Our Vermont utilities are doing exactly what the Vermont Legislature has required them to do. And as a result, it has created jobs, tax revenue and clean energy without raising our utility rates. We need to continue to move forward!"

"Our company is very grateful for the work that GMP has done to keep our electric rates down at a time when costs are rising elsewhere. We depend on affordable energy to power Sugarbush each winter. I hope that the people responsible for this will cease their unnecessary and counterproductive filing so that we can focus on the real issues we face as a state," said Sugarbush Owner Win Smith.

"Selling renewable energy credits has been an unqualified success in Vermont," said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. Burlington Electric Department (BED) recently set a new utility benchmark by achieving its goal of having 100% of its power sourced from renewable generation. "The credits have allowed us to meet dual goals: aggressively supporting more wind and solar generation right here in Vermont while keeping rates low and stable for our customers. If REC sales ended today, rates would spike and construction of renewables would slow. That's a bad bargain for BED's customers and our community."

"Vermont's SPEED energy policy has been incredibly effective in promoting the development of renewable generation in our state, building projects that will last for decades," said Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. "The economic development and job creation benefits have put a spotlight on Vermont for the amount of renewable development, in particular with solar. REV looks forward to discussing what the next step in Vermont energy policy will look like as SPEED comes to its expiration, including the potential for a Renewable Portfolio Standard." 

"This filing is deeply concerning for Vermont's manufacturers and other energy-intensive businesses," said William Driscoll, vice president of Associated Industries of Vermont. "Our members are trying to save and grow Vermont jobs and wages, and the only outcome the Environmental Law Clinic could accomplish with this meritless action would be to drive up costs and undermine our collective welfare." 

GMP's leadership in renewable development is nationally recognized. Vote Solar named GMP a solar champion in 2014, an award that honors leaders for outstanding efforts to make solar power a mainstream energy resource, and in 2013 the Solar Electric Power Association named GMP Utility of the Year.

About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by empowering customers to save money and move to clean energy sources. GMP recognizes the role of electric utilities is changing and is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated services, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com. Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreenMtnPower.