The Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) will submit to the Vermont Public Service Board a series of changes to the proposed transmission upgrade between Rutland and South Burlington. Known as the Northwest Vermont Reliability Project (NRP), the transmission upgrade is needed to meet the increased demand for electricity in Vermont.
Over the past two years, VELCO has held more than 150 meetings in Vermont communities. “Because of what Vermonters have told us, we have made a number of changes to our original proposal. In some cases that means re-routing the line to avoid neighborhoods. In other towns we will relocate substations to reduce environmental and visual impacts. We are working closely with the towns to substantially increase screening investment in plants and trees and have committed to reducing pole heights where possible and appropriate,” said VELCO project manager Tom Dunn said.
The specific changes being proposed include the following:
_ Vergennes – Line relocation around the City of Vergennes
Build a new sub-station in the northeast section of the City
_ Ferrisburgh – Line relocation near Little Chicago Road
_ Charlotte -- Line relocation near the Waldorf School
Relocation of sub-station
_ Shelburne -- Line relocation near Davis Park neighborhood
Modification to sub-station, reduce footprint and add screening
_ South Burlington – Modification to sub-station to preserve screening of trees
_ Pole heights -- VELCO is proposing shorter pole heights where
possible in coordination with impacted communities
“This project is critical for us to continue to provide reliable electricity to homes and businesses in Vermont. The current system, most of which is now more than 30 years old, is no longer able to meet New England’s standards for reliability in the face of Vermont’s increasing demand for electricity, said Mr. Dunn.
According to ISO New England, the manager of the regional transmission grid, the Vermont situation is now the second most precarious in New England. “Fortunately, because this is a regional issue, Vermont will pay less than five percent of the cost of modernizing the system,” Dunn said.
The NRP is comprised of:
_ A new 345,000 volt (“345 kV”) line between West Rutland and New Haven;
_ An upgrade of an existing line to 115 kV between New Haven and South Burlington;
_ Installing larger wire on an existing line between Barre and Williamstown;
_ Completing upgrades at thirteen substations around Vermont;
_ The estimated cost of the NRP is $128 million.
The Vermont Electric Power Company (“VELCO”) maintains Vermont’s high voltage transmission network. VELCO is a transmission-only company, jointly owned by 22 of Vermont’s electric utilities. VELCO operates and maintains 534 miles of transmission lines and 25 substations that connect generating facilities with local distribution systems, which in turn deliver electricity to homes and businesses. VELCO’s mission is to provide reliable electric power to Vermont utilities and the public. For more information, visit the Northwest Vermont Reliability Project website at www.nrpvt.com.