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First Rutland Solar Project re-imagines brownfield

RUTLAND, Vt. – Signaling the first step in Green Mountain Power’s effort to make Rutland a leading solar-reliant and energy-innovative community, GMP issued a request for bids for a 150-kilowatt solar farm to be built on a recently rehabilitated brownfield.

“This project will bring the site full-circle,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said.  “It’s an innovative use of the property and returns it to a productive use that is good for the company, the community and our customers.  And it’s in keeping with GMP’s commitment to produce, clean, reliable energy while respecting our environment.”

The RFP, issued today and distributed to all Renewable Energy Vermont members, seeks a solar developer to take the project, once permitted by the Vermont Public Service Board, through construction to interconnection with the electric grid.  The project, if approved, will be nestled onto a company-owned 3-acre lot between West Street, Cleveland Avenue and East Creek.  The project will be three times the size of the solar site on Route 7 in Rutland Town.  The panels will be placed close together to maximize site output.

“This site has been under utility control since the start of the 20th Century, and this will be by far the most environmentally friendly use it has ever hosted,” said Steve Costello, GMP’s vice president for generation and energy innovation.  “This is a great example of best-use development, taking what was long a troubled site in an area of the city where investment has been minimal, and creating a positive outcome for Rutland and the neighborhood.  The site’s appearance will be vastly improved, and the energy produced will power up to 150 homes at peak.”
The property, accessed via Cleveland Avenue, just blocks from downtown Rutland, was used to produce gas from coal between 1901 and 1947, and was later used by Central Vermont Public Service for operations and equipment storage and repair.  Some locations within the site were affected by low levels of coal tar residuals associated with the former gas manufacturing process and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) associated with electrical transformer storage and maintenance activities conducted as part of historic site operations.

A cleanup and monitoring plan was approved by state and federal regulators, with the site approved for new use after completion of the cleanup last year.  Necessary site plan approvals were obtained from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Rutland Development Review Board.

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras lauded the plan for its contributions to GMP’s long-term energy vision for Rutland and the improvement it will make in the low-income neighborhood.  “An investment of this kind on Cleveland Avenue signals that GMP is committed to this community and that it understands the importance of site selection for solar sites and its planned Energy Innovation Center,” Louras said.  “This will significantly improve the lot, which has detracted from the neighborhood for quite some time.”

GMP plans to announce the winning bidder Aug. 15, and pending PSB approval, expects construction to begin early this fall.

“We are pleased to work with GMP as the company begins its solar efforts in Rutland,” said Julie Bellino,
operations coordinator at Renewable Energy Vermont.  “This is an exciting project, and a great first step in the solar city effort. We look forward to collaborating with GMP, REV members and other interested parties as we work to fulfill GMP’s vision and meet Vermont’s energy policy goals.”

About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in Vermont and is a leader in wind and solar generation. The Company, which serves more than 250,000 customers, has set its vision to be the best small utility in America. For further information, visit www.greenmountainpower.com.

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