Facing high summer temperatures that strain power supplies, Vermont utilities issued peak alerts yesterday asking customers to reduce their energy use – meanwhile, Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) says that renewables, including wind and solar power, are helping to reduce both peak costs and burning of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the state.
As of 2:50 p.m. yesterday, according to ISO New England, peak energy costs spiked to over $1.50 per kWh, with a heavy reliance on the dirtiest polluting fossil fuels. To put these numbers in perspective, the majority of Vermont residents pay approximately $0.14 to $0.15 per kWh for electricity.
New England’s power mix, which Vermont utilities rely on for peak power supplies, on Thursday afternoon was primarily composed of natural gas (60%), nuclear power (14%), and coal and oil (14%, more than 834 MW of coal).
Specifically, the data breaks down to show permitted wind generation in Vermont accounted for over 156 MW and permitted solar reached 262 MW, with the state’s net-metering program contributing more than 153 MW to that total.
“Vermont renewable energy not only provides a strong economic engine to our local economy, but on days like today, our in-state wind and solar is reducing peak costs and transmission for all customers,” says Olivia Campbell Andersen, executive director of REV. “Every kilowatt of clean wind and solar installed reduces burning dirty, out-of-state fossil fuels during energy peaks that we are experiencing today and tomorrow.”
According to REV, Vermont currently has the second-lowest electric rates in New England, and while other states have seen double-digit increases in rates, Vermont rates have remained stable. In addition to lowering peak power costs, locally produced renewables reduce line losses through distribution and transmission costs for all consumers.
“Vermonters and many of our utilities have done a great job deploying renewables in our community, which keeps our hard-earned dollars local and ensures we are doing our part to see a cleaner, more reliable energy supply,” adds Campbell.