Green Mountain Power Celebrates First Methane Plant at Westminster FarmsFixed Price Agreement Provides Renewable Power for GMP and Stable Revenue for Farm
COLCHESTER, VT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/20/2009 -- Green Mountain Power (GMP) has added farm methane to its portfolio of renewable energy sources, which includes hydro, wind, landfill methane and a planned solar plant, with the commissioning of the Westminster Farms plant. About 1,200 cows will provide enough manure to produce about 225 kw of electricity. That's enough electricity to power about 250 homes.
"This arrangement is a winner for all involved. I want to congratulate Green Mountain Power and Westminster Farms for working together to make this project possible," said Governor Jim Douglas. "Not only does this allow Green Mountain Power to provide low cost alternative energy to their customers, but it also gives the farm a much needed revenue boost."
While generating power from manure is not a new concept in Vermont, the arrangement represents an important step toward creating a sustainable model for farmers. The farm will receive a fixed price per kilowatthour generated that will ensure that it gets enough money to keep the project profitable.
"This kind of pricing arrangement makes it possible for the farmers to count on this revenue for their operations," said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. "Our customers are choosing to buy renewable energy for a lot of reasons, but we often hear that helping preserve the local economy and way of life is an important factor. With so many Vermont farms closing shop, diversifying with the addition of electrical generation will help increase their chances of survival."
An added benefit, according to Shawn Goodell, one of the owners of Westminster Farms, "is the $80,000 per year savings in operation costs that we'll have. That's the amount of money we spend on bedding for the cows. The revenue stream from producing milk, electricity and offsets for operational cost will help ensure the viability for the farm for future generations of our family."
The project is the result of collaboration between Green Mountain Power, Westminster Farms and a number of State and Federal agencies. Westminster Farms made a significant investment of nearly $700,000 in the project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided $358,993 in rural development grants and $348,268 in loan guarantees. The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund of $250,000 was also crucial to the undertaking. GMP committed $175,000. The Vermont Department of Agriculture provided a $50,000 grant as well as $10,000 from the Renewable Energy for America Program.
The Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), the agricultural financing program of the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), approved $348,268 to support the digester project. "We were very pleased to help the Westminster Energy Group bring this project to fruition," said Jo Bradley, VEDA's Chief Executive Officer. "VACC has supported several anaerobic digester projects in recent years, helping Vermont farmers realize their renewable energy goals."
Green Mountain Power customers will also help with the ongoing payment to Westminster Farms. Green Mountain Power customers have the option of choosing to purchase renewable energy through GreenerGMP. Customers opting to pay an additional 3 cents per kwh support projects like Westminster Farms, as well as power from the Moretown Landfill methane plant. In the near future solar will be added to the list as Green Mountain Power is in the permitting process for a 200 kw solar plant.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont's population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.
For further information, please contact: Dorothy Schnure Green Mountain Power Manager of Corporate Communications 802-655-8418