The Solar Electric Power Association presented Green Mountain Power the 2013 investor-owned Utility of the Year Award today for its initiative incorporating solar as a cost-effective solution for its customers and for its most recent decision to make Rutland the Solar Capital of New England.
“Though it is one of the smallest investor-owned utilities in the country, Green Mountain Power has demonstrated a disproportionately large commitment to clean, renewable solar energy, customer choice and the communities it serves,” SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm said. “GMP’s recent effort to make Rutland, Vermont, the solar capital of New England is an exercise in clean energy, economic and community development, all rolled into one. It is inspirational to many of us in the solar industry.”
GMP President and CEO Mary Powell received the award at SEPA’s annual membership meeting in Chicago, where 12,000 solar and utility professionals gathered this week. GMP was selected from among three finalists, and was by far the smallest utility considered for the award.
“We are thrilled, honored and proud to be selected as SEPA’s Utility of the Year,” Powell said. “The work we have done in solar is a huge benefit for all of our customers as it helps drive down the cost of purchasing power during peak times. The work we are doing in Rutland will benefit all of our customers, as lessons learned and experience gained there will help us expand our portfolio of renewable energy statewide, and help customers meet their personal generation needs.”
Powell said the award was an acknowledgment of the company’s commitment to long-view thinking about customers and the environment. “While many utilities see solar generation as a threat to their business, we see solar as an opportunity to cost-effectively fulfill customer wants and needs and support new jobs and businesses in our communities,” Powell said. “Rather than fear solar, as many utilities appear to do, we embrace it.”
The company does not know who nominated it for the award, but SEPA received numerous letters of support for the nomination. GMP recently expanded its solar goal in Rutland from 6.25 megawatts of solar generation in 2017 to 10 megawatts by the end of 2015.
Martha Staskus, chair of the board of Renewable Energy Vermont, wrote in a letter of support, “This effort is having a very positive impact on many REV members, is helping utility customers to access solar energy in a variety of ways, and is highlighting the value solar brings to the grid. In short, I am aware of no utility in the country that is working harder to make solar an important part of its energy mix, and to remove barriers to customer reliance on solar energy statewide.”
“We have found that Green Mountain Power is uniquely exceptional in its unwavering support for solar in its community,” wrote Steve Remen, executive vice president of groSolar. “GMP has gone above and beyond in organizing programs to continually reduce costs and carbon footprints and increase ambitious goals within its service region and across the state of Vermont.”
Jeff Wolfe, a solar pioneer in Vermont and nationally, also wrote a letter commending GMP for removing interconnection barriers, supporting forward-thinking regulations, and using solar as a development tool, and recommended GMP for the award. “I have worked with many utilities, across the country, and cannot think of a more deserving company for this award than Green Mountain Power,” he wrote.
“GMP has been a steadfast leader in our industry’s mission to expand adoption throughout the state and nation,” said Andrew Savage, communications director at AllEarth Renewables. “We can think of no better recipient for your annual utility award.”
GMP Vice President Steve Costello said, “This award is clearly a result of the commitment of city and community leaders, solar developers and organizations, and customers who have embraced solar and helped bring life to our vision. This is a recognition of the value of collaboration, which is at the heart of our efforts in Rutland.”
SEPA is an educational non-profit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios for the benefit of the utility, its customers and the public good. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up-to-date information about technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction, including hosting national events.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which serves more than 250,000 customers, has set its vision to be the best small company in America.