Vermont Business Magazine Today the Vermont Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) made appointments to four of the five public seats on the Vermont System Planning Committee. The VSPC was established in 2007 to improve coordination among Vermont’s utilities in the transmission planning process, and to consider both transmission and nontransmission alternatives to meet the state’s needs. In addition to the appointments made today, membership includes all 17 electric utilities, the state’s electric energy efficiency utilities, and VELCO.
The eight new members include one primary member and an alternate representing each of the following four interests:
- Towns and regional planning organizations – Taylor Newton (representative) is a senior planner at the Northwest Regional Planning Commission. He previously worked for the Town of Milton in the Department of Planning and Economic Development. Edward Bove (alternate) is the executive director of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.
- Residential electric consumers – Michael J. Wickenden (representative) has held this seat on the VSPC since March 2017. He spent more than 20 years working on utilityscale energy efficiency programs before his retirement in 2016. Timothy M. Duggan (alternate) has been interested in electric transmission system planning for 10 years, having worked at both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Vermont Department of Public Service.
- Commercial and industrial electric consumers – Michael P. Kirick (representative) has held this seat on the VSPC since March 2017. An electrical engineer, he worked with various engineering companies before starting his own consulting engineering practice in 2001. Jeff Forward (alternate) has been an energy efficiency and renewable energy consultant for more than 20 years, focusing on commercial and institutional markets. He currently helps manage nine schools as the facilities coordinator for the Chittenden East School District.
- Environmental protection -- Johanna Miller (representative) has represented environmental interests on the VSPC since 2011. As the energy program director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council for more than 10 years, she helped build and now coordinates Vermont’s wide network of community energy committees. Sandra Levine (alternate) has worked to protect environmental interests in utility regulatory decisions for more than 20 years. She is a senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, in which capacity she participated in the PUC proceeding that created the VSPC in 2007. She has served as the alternate for environmental interests since the VSPC’s creation.
The VSPC plays a key role in the long-range planning process for Vermont’s electric transmission system. According to the 2007 PUC order that created the VSPC, this planning process is designed to: (1) coordinate and facilitate the full, fair, and timely consideration of cost-effective, non-transmission alternatives to new transmission projects, (2) encourage public involvement in Vermont transmission planning in general and in the consideration of specific projects, and (3) provide transparency and accountability to the process.
“Statewide coordination, public participation, and creative thinking are all key elements of the VSPC,” said PUC Chair Anthony Z. Roisman. “It is essential to consider non-transmission alternatives along with traditional transmission investments in the 21st-century grid.”
In addition to the four seats filled today, members of the VSPC include representatives of each of Vermont’s 17 electric distribution utilities; VELCO, the transmission utility; and the two electric energy efficiency utilities (Efficiency Vermont and the City of Burlington Electric Department).
The fifth public seat represents electric supply resources, with a term ending in 2019. In addition, two non-voting participants are appointed by the Standard-Offer Facilitator and by the Vermont Department of Public Service. Meetings are open to the public.
Source: VPUC 7.17.2018