If massive build-outs of heavily subsidized wind and solar were to occur (at great expense and environmental damage), which would have upstream CO2 emissions, electric grids would gradually become “cleaner”, i.e., have less CO2/kWh.


That approach would take decades, plus the variable, intermittent, grid disturbing, electricity from:


1) Large-scale, ridge-line wind (competitively bid) would be charged to the rate base at about 9 c/kWh, if grid support costs and subsidy costs were shifted to ratepayers, taxpayers and debt; about 18.8 c/kWh, if no cost shifting,


2) New large-scale solar (competitively bid) would be charged to the rate base at about 11.8 c/kWh, if grid support costs and subsidy costs were shifted to ratepayers, taxpayers and debt; about 23.5 c/kWh, if no cost shifting,


3) Residential net-metered solar would be charged to the rate base at about 21.813 c/kWh, if grid support costs and subsidy costs were shifted to ratepayers, taxpayers and debt; about 25.5 c/kWh, if no cost shifting.


All those prices are much higher in NE than most elsewhere in the US, because of poor wind/solar conditions in NE. See table 5A, which uses data from:


Table 1/Vermont & NE sources


Grid support


Paid to


 Added to



to owner



rate base







Solar, residential rooftop, net-metered







Solar, com’l/ind’l, legacy, standard offer







Solar, com’l/ind’l, new, standard offer*







Wind, ridge line, new*








Gas, combined cycle, existing


Gas, combined cycle, new


Gas, open cycle, peaking, existing


Nuclear, existing


Nuclear, new


Coal, existing


Coal, new


Hydro, existing


Hydro, net metered, new


Wood burning, net-metered, existing



* Competitive bidding lowered prices paid to owners.


The NE wholesale price has averaged at less than 5 c/kWh, starting in 2009


Importing more low-cost hydro (about 5.549 c/kWh, per GMP) from Quebec to replace “dangerous nuclear” and “dirty fossil” would be a very quick, smart and economic way to reduce CO2.


* Owner prices to utilities are based on recent 20-year electricity supply contracts awarded by competitive bidding in New England. These prices would have been about 48% to 50% higher without the direct and indirect subsidies and the cost shifting. Similar percentages apply in areas with better wind and solar conditions, and lower construction costs/MW, than New England. The prices, c/MWh, in those areas are lower than New England.

Governor Scott: With Scott as governor, additional wind turbine power plants on Vermont pristine ridgelines would be unlikely for at least the next 6 years. But, the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, projections show:


- Increasing wind energy consumption (bought by GMP at about 9 - 10 c/kWh from owners, reduced by about 50% due to subsidies and cost shifting) and

- Decreasing hydro energy consumption (bought from Hydro-Quebec at about 5.7 c/kWh, unsubsidized), under a 20-y supply contract. Realistically:


- Increased wind energy consumption could happen, if wind energy were purchased from out-of-state.

- Increased hydro energy consumption could happen, if additional hydro energy were purchased from H-Q.




Approved 1000 MW HVDC Line: GMP could lower costs for Vermonters, but refuses to do so. According to Donald Jessome, CEO and president of TDI New England, 200 MW of the recently approved, 1000 MW, HVDC line, owned by Blackstone, is reserved for Vermont. “Vermont has the option to purchase up to 200 MW, but Jessome said he doesn’t expect the state to take advantage of that option.”


Apparently, Green Mountain Power prefers to buy much higher-cost wind and solar energy from a variety of local suppliers. The 200 MW could provide about 1.3 million MWh/y, replacing most of what Vermont lost when Vermont Yankee was shut down in 2014. Construction is scheduled to start in 2018. See URLs.

NOTE: Lowell production = 63 MW x 8766 x 0.30 CF = 165,677 MWh/y, about 2.72% of the supply to Vermont utilities of 6,100,000 MWh/y. The 200 MW could provide about 1.3 million MWh/y, about 7.85 Lowells, which would require destroying about 55 miles of ridgelines, plus many miles for access roads. The hydro plants are already built in Canada, the water is spilling over the spillways, there would be no additional environment damage in Canada AND Vermont, plus the price is much lower than wind and solar, plus HQ electricity is a no-particulate, very low-CO2, steady, 24/7/365, year-round supply.


But Vermont utilities have shown little interest in the 200 MW, because of the Comprehensive Energy Plan politically inspired penchant for much higher cost wind and solar electricity, so-called “local, small-scale, distributed generation”. In fact, Vermont utilities, i.e., primarily GMP, have steadily reduced future HQ electricity supplies, as contracts expired.


From GMP’s viewpoint, it is understandable not to go with the 200 MW, because it does very little for GMP’s asset base, on which GMP earns about 9%/y. Instead, GMP prefers to own/lease to ratepayers heat pumps (made in Japan), solar systems (PV panels made in China with dirty coal plants) and Tesla Powerwall 2.0 batteries (made in Nevada), because that adds to GMP’s asset base on which it earns 9%/y, and helps GMP collect cash grants, tax credits and subsidies, and have fast write offs, to minimize paying federal and state taxes, and increase its net profit. Buying power from other producers, such as H-Q, does none of that. It has nothing to do with saving the world. That is just window dressing.


That means, the Vermont economy, and already-struggling households and businesses, have to do additional suffering, because GMP, for business reasons, prefers more expensive local wind and solar energy, and futuristic “islanding” and “micro-grids”, instead of low-cost hydro energy from H-Q. The recently decreased market prices of Renewable Energy Certificates, RECs, from about 5 c/kWh to about 2 c/kWh, will increase utility costs of purchased energy, and likely would require increased electric rates for Vermont’s households and businesses.


NOTE: Washington Electric Cooperative will file a request with the PSB to increase rates by about 6%, because of decreasing prices of renewable energy certificates, RECs. The REC smoke and mirrors charade appears to be ending. Vermonters get to enjoy ruined ridgelines and ruined fertile meadows, and higher electric rates, but receive no credit to its RE goals, if RECs are sold to out-of-state entities.


Having more, low-cost*, steady, near-CO2-free, hydro energy from Hydro-Quebec would be the best way to get ALL the sectors of the Vermont economy moving again, not just the subsidy-favored RE sector.


* About 6 cents/kWh, plus 1.0 c/kWh for transmission, adjusted based on NE wholesale prices, which have been about 5 c/kWh since 2009, due to low-cost gas generation (50%) and low-cost nuclear generation (27%).


The HVDC line likely will be in operation about 2018 - 2019. The line will run from Canada, under the bottom of Lake Champlain, to a new DC-to-AC converter station near Ludlow, VT, and feed into an area of the high voltage grid that used to be fed by Vermont Yankee.


The 200 MW could provide about 1.3 million MWh/y* hydro energy from H-Q. This would be in addition to the existing H-Q Power Purchase Agreement, PPA, of about 1.25 million MWh/y, for a total of 2.55 million MWh/y, or about 28% of projected utility purchases of about 9.07 million MWh in 2050. With additional, privately owned, HVDC lines, the 28% could be increased to at least 40%.


* That energy is equivalent to (7.85) 63 MW Lowell-type plants; capital cost about $1.14 billion; energy cost about 9.8 c/kWh, subsidized; 15 c/kWh, unsubsidized. Further destruction of Vermont’s pristine ridgelines would be avoided.


Even though the money would go out of state, it would be much better than buying subsidized, homegrown wind and solar energy at 2-5 times NE wholesale prices. Vermonters could make better use of the money savings by spending it on increased energy efficiency.


That hydro energy is steady (unlike wind and solar), has grid-supporting, synchronous rotational inertia (unlike wind and solar which typically detract from grid stability), and is renewable, with near-zero CO2 (less than wind and solar), and low-cost (less than wind and solar). It would help achieve Vermont’s RE goal.


That energy would be available much sooner, and at near-zero subsidies, and at near-zero capital cost, and zero environmental damage to ridgelines and meadows, and zero social unrest, than the energy of an equivalent capacity of subsidized wind and solar systems. The world would be “saved” much sooner, and at a lower cost!


However, under the RE mantra of “transitioning away from a few large PPAs towards smaller and more diverse sources”, it appears GMP has no intention to significantly increase its purchases of hydro energy from H-Q. Hydro RECs being less valuable than solar and wind RECs may have something to do with it.


The PSB should demand GMP buy additional H-Q hydro energy, instead of swallowing GMP’s ISP, which has wording in many paragraphs that, in a carefully nuanced manner, echo much of the lexicons and mantras of EAN members.




H-Q Excess Hydro Plant Capacity: H-Q has about 5000 MW of excess hydro plant capacity, which could deliver at least 5000 x 8766 x 0.55 = 24,106,500 MWh/y, about 4 times current annual energy purchases of Vermont utilities. In addition, H-Q is planning to build 5000 MW of additional hydro plant capacity during the next 10 years.


H-Q Hydro Energy Better for Vermont: For Vermont to build-out solar systems in fertile meadows, and IWT systems on pristine ridgelines, etc., which would produce expensive energy, is beneficial to multi-millionaires who own such systems, but it is shortsighted/wrongheaded economic policy, as their high energy costs would become an additional major headwind for the near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy. As an alternative, it would be much better for Vermont’s economy to have more energy from H-Q, which:


- Would be lower in cost/kWh, much less costly than wind and solar,

- Would reduce more CO2/kWh than wind and solar,

- Would require no federal and state subsidies,

- Would not require a carbon tax to subsidize RE system build-outs,

- Would require minimal capital costs by Vermont,

- Would not be grid disturbing, unlike wind and solar,

- Would not be variable and intermittent, unlike wind and solar,

- Would provide grid-stabilizing synchronous rotational inertia, unlike wind and solar

- Would not ruin pristine ridgelines and fertile meadows,

- Would not kill birds and bats, and harm other animals,

- Would not cause social unrest among nearby people,

- Would not lower the property values of nearby people,

- Would not harm the health of nearby people and animals.


HVDC Transmission Systems from Quebec to Vermont: Large quantities of H-Q energy to NE would need to be transmitted with HVDC systems, such as the approved 1000 MW Blackstone-owned HVDC system, of which 200 MW is reserved for Vermont; GMP refuses to take advantage of it.


Whereas, Quebec’s grid has the same 60 Hz as the rest of North America, its grid does not have the same phase as surrounding networks. For example, Trans-Energie mainly relies on HVDC transmission systems, which eliminate the phase issue, and enable the export and import of electricity from other jurisdictions.ébec


The 60 Hz AC from H-Q would be converted to DC, transmitted, and converted back to 60 Hz AC in NE, to supplement any variable wind and solar energy in NE, to meet demand, instead of using NE gas-fired, CO2-emitting, OCGTs and CCGTs to provide such supplementary energy.


The NE hydro plants could also perform that service, but their supplementing capacity likely would be significantly limited, due to not enough water, on a year-round basis. For example, the Wilder Plant is operated as a run-of-river plant during March, April, May, as there is enough melt water. But, to maximize revenues from the available water, it is run as a peaking plant a few hours each day, during the other nine months.


For balancing within a grid, such as the NE grid managed by ISO-NE, see page 28 of 44 of URL.


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Comment by Willem Post on March 8, 2017 at 10:23pm
You are right.
GMP, owned by Canadians, wants to build up its asset base, on which it earns 9%, collect subsidies and tax credits and have fast write offs, minimize paying taxes, to fatten its bottom line
Buying power from other producers does none of that.
It has nothing to do with saving the world.
That is just window dressing to make the chicanery look good.
Comment by Sherwin A. Start on March 8, 2017 at 10:01pm

GET RID OF GMP - That will solve all of VERMONT's  Powewr Supply Problems- Its obvious me to me that are NOT  acting in the Best interest of Vermont's power consumers !! 

Comment by Sherwin A. Start on March 8, 2017 at 9:59pm

IF H-Q  can Supply all the Power that VERMONT Needs- Then Why  DESTROY the Vermont Mountains  with Wind Power Turbines- Unless GMP   wants to Use VERMONTS Beautiful Mountains to  "LINE THEIR POCKETS" !!  Vermont's Landscape is FAR MOre  Valuable as a Tourist/Recreation/Enjoyment VAlue than any Wind Or Solar development  could EVER  Be !! When the CITIZENS Of Vermont  Power Consumption -EXCEEDS The available Supply's- Then it will be time to look at a few alternatives !!


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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