Renewable Policies Responsible for GMP’s $80 million rate increase

by Guy Page

Green Mountain Power’s proposed 2018 5% rate increase will cost ratepayers $80 million, Vermontbiz.com said November 27. GMP spokesperson Kristen Carlson blames the hike on increased transmissionregional capacity and net metering costs. The following briefly explains these terms:

  • “Net metering” refers mostly to how Vermont subsidizes solar power at three to four times the cost of buying power on the open market [emphasis added]. Thanks mostly to large-scale solar development (think acres of pasture, not rooftop), the load share of high-cost solar has grown enough to adversely impact rates. Solar capacity totaled 107 MW in 2015 and has continued to grow since then. New state policies partially restricting the sale of renewable carbon credits out-of-state is expected to impact ratepayers.
  • “Regional capacity” refers to paying the dwindling number of New England power plants (mostly natural gas-fired) to produce power on demand, as other plants (coal, oil, nuclear) retire from service. As New England’s share of intermittent renewable power grows, on-demand “backup” power becomes increasingly necessary and therefore valuable.
  • “Transmission” refers in part to the cost of building and maintaining the 9,000 miles of New England’s high-voltage transmission power lines. ISO-New England budgeted $2.1 billion for 2017, an all-time high. Vermont will pay about $43 million more in regional transmission costs in 2018, according to GMP rate filing documents.

–  Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, Divestment Facts, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and the Church at Prison. He is a member of the coordinating committee for the Consumer Liaison Group of ISO-New England, the operators of the regional transmission grid.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

William Hays December 16, 2017 at 4:57 am

Socialist-Progressives, mostly from Chittenden County, strike again.

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