Morrisville Water and Light announces decision to surrender Green River development Federal Energy Regulatory license to generate electricity

Not-For-Profit Municipal Utility Eyes Handing Over Dam to State of Vermont 

VermontBiz Morrisville Water and Light (MWL) recently filed our intent to surrender our Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license to generate electricity at the Green River hydro facility. The State of Vermont’s Water Quality Certificate conditions make the economics of the Green River hydro facility unfeasible for the small, not-for-profit utility. Surrendering the license to generate electricity is the first formal step in MWL’s plans to move the Green River Reservoir’s dam operations to the State of Vermont.

MWL is a small not-for-profit public power utility that serves approximately 4,000 residents and businesses in the Morrisville area with electric service. MWL is funded by the ratepayers of Morrisville and six surrounding rural communities.

“We recognize and greatly appreciate the value of the Green River hydro facility and the reservoir,” said Scott Johnstone, MWL General Manager. “The hydro facility has reliably generated renewable energy for the region for several decades and the dam itself preserves the incredible reservoir, the state park and is invaluable for flood control. Unfortunately, due to the State’s Water Quality Conditions, we can no longer operate this hydro facility without incurring a significant financial loss – a loss that would end up on the backs of MWL ratepayers. We cannot ask the ratepayers of Morrisville and the surrounding communities to pay higher electric rates to preserve a reservoir and a state park – that is not the role of a municipal utility.”

On March 12, 2024, MWL filed notice with FERC that the not-for-profit utility plans to submit an application to “surrender the license for operating the Green River Development.” Under this application, MWL will propose to eliminate the hydro generation component of the dam but retain the dam itself and its ability to help manage future flooding events. MWL will maintain the reservoir levels and ensure proper loon nesting habitat through the transition. It is MWL’s intent that the State of Vermont maintain the dam moving forward to retain the Green River Reservoir State Park as well as the dam’s invaluable role in flood control management.

“The Green River Reservoir dam creates the Green River Reservoir and the corresponding Green River Reservoir State Park. It is the appropriate role of the State of Vermont to manage this dam so Vermonters and visitors alike can enjoy this incredible resource and so that the dam can be appropriately managed for flood control.” said Tom Snipp, MWL Board Chair.