The Town of Shoreham and Vermont Gas have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the next steps to bring natural gas to the southern Addison County town. Signed by the full Shoreham Selectboard, the agreement includes distribution of natural gas to homes and businesses in Shoreham; conditions on how and where the 10-inch underground transmission pipeline is built; the creation of a community fund; and enhanced emergency training and safety management measures. Also, Shoreham is considering converting its municipal buildings to natural gas.
Based on Shoreham's unique status hosting the transmission line to the Ticonderoga Paper Mill, Vermont Gas will create a $100,000 community fund to be administered by Shoreham's Selectboard. The fund may be used for consumer education, feasibility studies related to commercial expansion in town, retrofitting municipal facilities, and a financing program for residents to make energy-efficiency improvements.
"Our agreement with Vermont Gas is a positive step forward that will ensure our community and landowner's interests," said Paul Saenger, Chair of the Shoreham Selectboard. "The community fund, to be managed by the town, will help town officials with planning and emergency services. While natural gas will be available to some parts of Shoreham, it is our hope Vermont Gas will continue to work to expand their service so all of our citizens can benefit from the lower prices and emissions of natural gas."
"Vermont Gas is grateful to the Shoreham Selectboard for helping to identify ways to strengthen the project for the town and for the State of Vermont," said Eileen Simollardes, vice president at Vermont Gas and director of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. "Pending regulatory approval, this MOU represents a significant step towards bringing the benefits of natural gas to Shoreham as well as to Rutland."
Vermont Gas developed the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project to help residents and local businesses cut their energy bills about 50 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and keep and create more good jobs. Natural gas, which is safer, cleaner and about half the cost of the propane or fuel oil used by most Vermonters, supports many of the community and economic development goals shared by organizations across the region.
Phase 1 of the Addison Natural Gas Project, which received its Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board in December, will transport natural gas from Colchester to Middlebury, Vergennes, St. George, Monkton, and New Haven.
If approved by the Public Service Board, Phase 2 will deliver natural gas to parts of Cornwall and Shoreham, and then to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y. By extending natural gas service to the mill, Vermonters will save about $45 million of the cost to bring natural gas to Rutland by 2020 - 15 years sooner than otherwise would be possible - and help keep good-paying jobs in the region, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve regional air quality throughout the Champlain Valley.
Vermont Gas serves almost 50,000 customers in Franklin and Chittenden counties and is currently working to expand service into Addison and Rutland counties through the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. The company's long heritage for safe and reliable operations includes its award-winning energy-efficiency programs, which reduce energy use while saving $13 million annually for homes and businesses.
Source: Vermont Gas 6.13.2014. For more information about the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project, see www.addisonrutlandnaturalgas.com