New Federal License Means More Renewable, Low-Cost, Reliable Energy for Customers
PROCTOR, VT – With a federal license now in hand, Green Mountain Power plans substantial improvements to Otter Creek hydroelectric units that will generate more renewable, low-cost, and reliable energy than they have created since they were built early last century.
In the new license order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a GMP proposal to upgrade stations in Proctor, New Haven and Weybridge, allowing the expansion of the combined plants from 14 to 23 megawatts. The three stations were purchased in 2010 from the Vermont Marble Power Division of Omya.
“These improvements will significantly expand those hydro units by more than 50 percent, providing more low-cost energy for our customers and replacing market purchases,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said. “This is part of our mission to deliver more renewable, reliable and cost-effective energy to Vermonters. We are so pleased that clean energy projects like this and Kingdom Community Wind are helping lower rates for customers.”
In Proctor Station, GMP will make major upgrades that will increase its capacity from 3 MW to 10 MW, making it the company’s largest hydro facility. At Huntington Falls in Weybridge, GMP will install two new turbines, increasing capacity from 5.5 MW to 6.7 MW. GMP expects to complete the improvements at Proctor by March 2015 and the capacity improvements at Huntington Falls in 2016. The New Haven plant does not require significant upgrades.
The three plants have produced an average of 52,800 megawatt-hours in recent years, and are expected to produce 69,000 MWh annually after completion. That’s enough energy to power 9,200 homes.
“The improvements will not only produce more clean energy, they will improve habitat on Otter Creek and dramatically improve the look of the sites,” GMP Vice President Steve Costello said.
To improve aesthetics and habitat for aquatic species, GMP will provide a continuous minimum flow at all three sites. The license for the projects expired on March 31, 2012; since then, the plants have operated under annual licenses. The plants were certified as meeting water quality standards by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation last May, setting the stage for the new 40-year license.