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Natural gas price fall drives down wholesale power costs in NE

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 12:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Wholesale power markets in New England operated competitively last year, bringing lower average power prices that reflected the drop in the price of natural gas in 2015, according to the 2015 Annual Markets Report issued yesterday by the Internal Market Monitor (IMM) of ISO New England Inc. ISO is the operator of the region’s bulk power system and wholesale electricity markets. Natural gas in recent years has also increased its market share in generation. The average real-time price of wholesale electric energy in 2015 fell by more than a third, or more than $22 per megawatt-hour (MWh), to $41.00/MWh as a result of natural gas prices that were 41% lower than their 2014 average. Vermont prices were in the middle range at $41.58, with Maine lowest and the Boston area highest. The prices of both natural gas and wholesale power were the lowest since 2012. The price of natural gas is a key factor in the price of wholesale power because the fuel generates 49% of the electricity produced in New England. The cost of fuel is the largest input into the cost of electricity production.

Survey says New Haven residents support 400 MW electric converter station

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 4:21am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The town of New Haven has expressed overwhelming support for the Vermont Green Line renewable energy transmission project, according to a survey undertaken by Anbaric, the project's developer. A week-long, town-wide survey resulted in an almost two-to-one (252-128) result in favor of hosting a converter station for the Vermont Green Line in the town, and in support of an agreement the selectboard made with project developers Anbaric Transmission and National Grid.

New firewood rule prohibits untreated firewood from entering Vermont

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 4:14am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine A new Vermont rule effective May 1 prevents invasive insects from piggybacking into the state on untreated firewood. As summer camping season arrives, visitors to Vermont should be prepared to buy firewood in-state or be able to verify that imported firewood is heat-treated to USDA-approved standards. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation already urges all campers and homeowners to purchase wood locally.

Shumlin signs law to ban conversion therapy in Vermont

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 7:20pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine At a time when some states are working to erode hard-fought advances in civil rights for the LGBT community, Governor Peter Shumlin today signed a law to advance them in Vermont by banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. The new law (S132) bans the practice of seeking to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity in the State of Vermont.

Update on North Bennington and Bennington PFOA testing results

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 4:58pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin provided an update today on results from private drinking water wells in North Bennington and Bennington tested for the harmful chemical PFOA, and detailed a small expansion to the sampling area boundaries. Results have been received for all 432 private wells sampled to date in North Bennington and Bennington. Of the 432 wells, 227 contain PFOA in concentrations over Vermont’s 20 parts per trillion health advisory limit for drinking water, ranging between 20 and 2,730 parts trillion. Fifty wells contain PFOA below 20 parts per trillion. The remaining 155 wells were not found to contain PFOA.

PAI: Vermont needs to make higher education more affordable

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 4:47pm -- tim

by Paul Cillo Public Assets Institute A college degree can be the ticket to more job options and higher pay. And a well-educated workforce is critical to strong communities and a growing economy. But as a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows, Vermont is one of only three states that has cut per-student public spending on higher education in each of the last two years, even as tuition at public colleges increases.

Protest staged at home of Public Service Department commissioner Recchia

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 4:41pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont State Police early Wednesday morning responded to a call from Chris Recchia, the state's commissioner of the Department of Public Service, of an apparent demonstration at his home in Randolph. Recchia told the group, which he said numbered 11 individuals, that they were trespassing and asked them to leave. VSP reported (see incident report below) that the protesters had left by the time they had reached Recchia's home. The group was apparently an anti-petroleum energy group, but their motivation was not clear.

GMP rates among lowest for New England

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 4:00pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power rates continue to rank among the lowest of New England’s largest utilities, according to the most recent data compiled by the Edison Electric Institute. Overall, GMP’s rates are the second lowest and 17 percent lower than the regional average, while its industrial rates are the lowest. Residential customer rates are ranked second lowest and commercial rates third lowest of the 14 utilities ranked, which cover the bulk of customers in New England. For March 2016 rates, Vermont had the lowest residential rates (17.11 cents per kwh) and second lowest overall (14.33) to Maine (13.01). The overall US average in March was 10.01 cents per kwh.

Matt Dunne files to run for governor

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 3:38pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine This afternoon, Matt Dunne submitted over a thousand ballot access petition signatures to the office of Secretary of State Jim Condos, making his candidacy for governor official. Dunne, a former state senator from Windsor County, ran six years ago in one of the most competitive Democratic races in history, which included Susan Bartlett, Deb Markowitz, Doug Racine, and ultimate winner Peter Shumlin.

Governor Shumlin to present the Deane Davis Business of the Year award Thursday at Expo

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 3:18pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The 32nd annual Vermont Chamber Business & Industry EXPO will take place Thursday at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center. This is the largest business-to-business trade show in Northern New England. With an estimated 3,000 business leader attendees and nearly 150 exhibitors, this event will create and strengthen B2B connections for Vermont economic growth. Governor Peter Shumlin will announce the winner of the 2015 Deane C Davis Outstanding Business of the Year at 10 am during opening ceremonies in the conference center foyer.  

BDCC gets $9,000 grant for workforce development

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 11:06am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) has received a Regional Workforce Partnership grant from the Vermont Department of Labor to further support their newest workforce development program, the BDCC Cluster Roundtable Initiative. The grant is for $9,000, and will support the program for the upcoming fiscal year.