PSB approves innovative CVPS renewable plans
RUTLAND, Vt. - The Vermont Public Service Board has given its approval to a variety of renewable energy projects and studies proposed by Central Vermont Public Service, setting the stage for several innovative programs.
"Our power supply is among the cleanest in the country," CVPS President Bob Young said. "Through the proposals approved by the PSB, we hope to continue to be a national leader in developing new renewable energy and solutions to vexing environmental problems."
Last month, CVPS proposed spending nearly $500,000 on new renewable energy projects, studies and education efforts. Among the projects now approved by the PSB are a significant solar project just off Route 7 in Rutland Town, studies of pelletized manure, lake weeds and algae as energy sources, education projects and new southern Vermont biomass generation.
Young said CVPS hopes to gain significant data and educational benefits form the solar project, but said the others were even more cutting-edge.
"Just as CVPS Cow Power(tm) proved manure could become a significant energy source in Vermont, we hope these projects will unlock new methods of creating energy that are not only renewable, but help solve existing environmental problems," Young said. "Our goal with the lake weed and algae study, for example, is to see if we can improve Lake Champlain while producing environmentally benign energy."
Following is the list of CVPS renewable projects approved by the PSB:
* CVPS Solar Demonstration Project ($175,000) - The project includes installation of a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array adjacent to the CVPS Service Center on Route 7 in Rutland Town. The solar project will include about 275 solar panels, each 3 by 5 feet wide. The project, along with Glen Station, a CVPS hydro facility across Route 7, will include a renewable education program where students could learn about two renewable projects at one site.
* Manure Fuel Pelletization Study ($15,000) - The goal of this project is to identify the value of digested and pre-digested manure solids as a potential pelletized fuel. The Biomass Energy Resource Center will conduct a study comparing undigested and digested manure fibers to other more commonplace biomass fuels such as wood pellets. The study will report on the feasibility of using pelletized manure fibers as a fuel supply in a cogeneration system to produce renewable electricity and using waste heat to dry manure fibers for the pelletizing operation.
* Weed Transportation/Digester Study ($10,000) - CVPS will provide funding to the Lake Champlain Restoration Association to transport harvested lake weeds to a Cow Power digester to determine the energy value of this renewable crop. The project will also determine the benefits of nutrient removal from Lake Champlain, including nutrient flows of future increased lake weed harvesting, and algae skimming of problem areas such as Missisquoi Bay.
* Southern Loop Renewable Biomass ($50,000) - This funding, with $24,000 already set aside, will create the CVPS Southern Loop Combined-Heat and Power Development Fund at the Vermont Community Loan Fund. A consultant will be hired to identify barriers to the development of CHP along CVPS's Southern Loop and seek solutions to help eliminate such barriers. A project coordinator will develop requests for proposals for up to four small and one large renewable project, and pay for selected project engineering studies.
* Workforce Renewables Training ($25,000) - This will be an educational partnership with Stafford Technical Center, Vermont Technical College and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Stafford will expand its electrical curriculum to include renewable installations in a way that can be replicated by other tech centers, and VTC will work to develop a college curriculum around renewable energy installations. The underlying goal is to teach renewable energy installation techniques for the next generation of project installers.
* Renewable Energy Education Support ($30,000) - This grant to the Vermont Energy in Education Program (VEEP) will help create a deeper understanding of what energy is and how to use it wisely. VEEP programs will teach math and science process skills to enable students to understand energy production and the efficient use of resources.
* Vermont Solar and Small Wind Incentive Program ($153,831) - CVPS has contributed to this program annually for several years. The funds support the installation of new small-scale renewable energy systems. With this round of support, CV's contribution totals nearly $900,000.