The purpose of the Northwest Vermont Reliability Project (NRP) is to ensure Vermont's transmission system continues to be reliable.
Vermont's electric load continues to grow and on August 15, 2002, the state hit a new peak of 1023 megawatts. Between 1999 and 2002 the summer peak has increased about nine percent. The peak number is critical to providing reliable electricity because the system has to be built to handle the time of the highest use. Even with the active load reducing programs that Vermont has in place the summer peak continues to grow sharply.
Because of continued growth in electric usage, we are reaching load levels at which the reliability of the electric system is in jeopardy. On June 5, 2003 VELCO filed for a permit to upgrade the high-voltage transmission system between Rutland and Burlington. On February 6, 2004 VELCO filed amendments to that permit application
There are a number of factors involved with a decision on undertaking such an upgrade, including:
Vermont's increasing peak demand. On August 15, 2002, Vermont hit a new all-time high of 1,023 MW of electricity. This represents a nine percent increase or about 84 megawatts above 1999's high of 939 MW.
The capacity of the existing high voltage system. Most of the system was built more than 30 years ago and while it is well maintained, the capacity of the system has not changed significantly. At current peak load levels, the system must be upgraded to continue to guarantee reliable electricity.
A limited amount of in-state electric generation capacity. Statewide, less than 50 percent of the summer's peak demand was met by in-state generation. In Northwest Vermont, about 90 percent of the electricity is supplied by the transmission system during peak periods.
Compliance with regional and national reliability criteria. VELCO conducted an in-depth analysis of all the potential alternatives to address reliability. The alternatives reviewed included a transmission upgrade, demand side management and energy efficiency programs, a new large-scale power plant in Northwest Vermont and many smaller scale power plants distributed throughout the region. The results of this study were made public on January 31, 2003.
VELCO staff have attended more than 125 meetings over the past two-plus years to share information about the need to improve reliability and to gather input on solutions. We will continue to meet with citizens and state and town officials to discuss the proposed transmission upgrade.
If you would like additional information on this project please email me your postal address. In the meantime, please call if you have any questions.
Northwest Reliability Project
Vermont Electric Power Company