By Bob Young
With the signing of a new contract with Hydro-Quebec, which will provide Vermonters with a baseload supply of clean, renewable energy for 26 years, Vermonters’ focus on electricity supply options has been once again renewed. That’s good, because we face critical decisions in the coming months and years.
The Hydro-Quebec contract is the best deal we have signed in quite some time. In the competitive solicitation process conducted last year, none of the renewable-based offers performed close to this deal’s combination of price, firmly scheduled delivery, volume, credit quality, reliability and term. Bottom line, this is a very good contract for Vermont’s economy, environment and reliability.
The expected 6-cent starting price is akin to our existing contract, and a very attractive price for a firm, renewable, low-emission power supply. More than 90 percent of the energy will be renewable.
The contract will also prevent large swings in the cost of the energy purchased from HQ. The contract will benefit our customers by adjusting the price downward if future power market prices decline, and limiting upward increases if market prices increase.
Our HQ energy purchases at Central Vermont Public Service will be a bit smaller than in the past, which means we can continue to support more local renewable projects regardless of the outcome of the Vermont Yankee relicensing and contract negotiations. Together with our own generation, small power producers and contracts for new renewable energy, these smaller projects will help Vermont maintain what we believe is the cleanest power supply in the nation.
Air emissions at the source of our generation are minimal. In 2009, just 0.1 percent of CVPS’s identifiable energy deliveries were generated by burning oil. Just over 3 percent of our supply came from non-specified sources through ISO-New England market purchases or non-renewable purchases from HQ. We didn’t knowingly purchase any coal-fired energy. In contrast, more than half the electricity generated in the United States comes from dirty coal.
We still have plenty of work to do to complete our power portfolio – developing and expanding our own renewable generation and signing contracts with small and medium-sized local power suppliers. We also have plans regardless of whether Vermont Yankee is relicensed.
Meantime, we’re also focusing on our transportation emissions, which are of equal concern. CVPS has steadily expanded its reliance on hybrid and hybrid-electric vehicles, and already has rate options in place to help purchasers of the next generation of all-electric vehicles operate them efficiently.
CVPS plug ’n go™ was created to help hybrid-electric and all-electric vehicle owners charge their cars at off-peak rates, which provides electric-powered transportation for the equivalent of about a dollar per gallon of gas. It could also play a big role in reducing Vermont’s vehicle emissions, which dwarf emissions from our electricity supply. To learn more, visit www.cvps.com/plugngo.Bob Young is president and chief executive officer of Central Vermont Public Service. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Costello (802) 747-5427
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