MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s statehouse is first in the nation to have clean backup power stored in batteries. Vermont State officials, and leaders from REV members Northern Reliability, Dynapower, and Green Mountain Power (GMP) worked together to demonstrate that battery storage is reliable, clean, and better backup power choice than fossil fuel generators.
Governor Phil Scott praised the project in a video comment. “With ‘out of the box’ thinking, common sense and collaboration, we can address tough issues like climate change and do our part to reduce carbon emissions without hurting the economy. I know many think clean energy must be more expensive, but the work done today shows not only can we reduce carbon emissions, but if we are strategic, we can also save money in the process,” Gov. Scott said.
The statehouse battery project is expected to save Vermont taxpayers $44,000 over the next ten years by offsetting the cost of maintenance and diesel fuel that would otherwise be required for a generator. In addition to saving money for the state, the new statehouse battery will become part of the arsenal of local, renewable energy devices that save money for all GMP customers. Renewable energy devices can both store and generate power, allowing GMP to save money during peak demand periods by purchasing less electricity when prices are highest. A recent report from the Cambridge-based consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics, showed that by reducing peak demand and relying on local renewable energy, Vermonters saved more than $79 million from 2014 to 2019.
GMP estimates that this one storage system in the statehouse will save all GMP customers $18,000 over the next ten years. In addition. the batteries are projected to reduce carbon emissions by 6,388 pounds per year, the equivalent of not using 326 gallons of gasoline.
Jennifer M.V. Fitch, P.E., Acting Commissioner of Buildings and General Service for the State of Vermont, expressed hope that “this project will become a model for energy management strategies and backup power systems in public buildings, and for the public-private partnerships that make them work.”
The batteries are part of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for Business program developed by REV and GMP as a complement to the successful residential BYOD program. This program provides financial incentives to businesses that install batteries and share some of that back up energy with the utility. GMP uses that stored power during energy peaks, when power is costliest and dirtiest. This reduces costs for all GMP customers and also covers the cost of the incentives.
The Samsung Mega E2 batteries were installed in the basement of the statehouse where a failing fossil fueled generator from the 1960’s once was. The 250 kWh of battery power came online this fall, and now backs up more critical systems for the historic building, including the elevator. Northern Reliability built the battery system for the State. “It’s incredibly impressive that leadership in our State Government is forward-thinking enough to replace their fossil fuel redundancy with an Energy Storage System. Its ability to fulfill their backup needs and be used by GMP for peak avoidance is just one of many ways that Governor Scott and our state leaders are doing their part not only to reduce our carbon footprint but also to work with our utilities to reduce the cost of power. Northern Reliability is proud to have been a part of such a great project,” said Jay Bellows, CEO of REV member Northern Reliability.
“Dynapower is grateful for the opportunity to support such a groundbreaking energy storage project shepherded by Northern Reliability, Green Mountain Power, and the state of Vermont. This is a perfect example of world class Vermont organizations coming together to help tackle climate issues here at home and lead the nation. Energy storage presents an incredible opportunity for Vermont to leverage its in state technical talent to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and grow jobs here in Vermont — a win, win for state,” said Adam Knudsen, CEO of REV member Dynapower in South Burlington, Vermont, which supplied the inverter for the project.
Energy storage is an important way to provide resiliency, manage the grid cost effectively, and the flexibility of batteries means the potential for even more benefits for customers in the future.
“At GMP we are about working together to deliver solutions and this project is a great example of what can be done. It will save all Vermonters, including GMP customers money while adding to GMP’s network of stored energy. That network reduced more than $3 million in costs for customers last year. We can do this with more Vermont businesses to help them save,” said Mari McClure, GMP’s president and CEO.
To learn more about energy storage systems visit https://www.revermont.org/go-renewable/electricity/energy-storage/
Video clips of battery system and Vermont statehouse: https://vimeo.com/channels/statehousepower