Vermont public power utility Burlington Electric Department (BED) recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy resources to ensure that the utility is able to continue to source 100 percent of the city’s power from renewable energy generation in pursuit of Burlington’s Net Zero Energy by 2030 goal.
“BED will continue to go above and beyond the State of Vermont renewable energy requirements as it invites proposals for renewable energy resources to replace contracts that will be expiring in the next two to five years,” it said.
Burlington was recognized in 2014 as the first city in the nation to source 100 percent of its power from renewable generation and has continued to do so. BED not only sources 100 percent of its power from renewable generation, but also is 100 percent renewable after accounting for renewable energy certificate sales and purchases.
In 2019, Mayor Miro Weinberger and BED released the Net Zero Energy Roadmap to guide efforts to strategically electrify in the thermal and ground transportation sectors and to make other efforts to reduce emissions in service of the city’s 2030 climate goal.
BED’s strategy of having a mix of utility-owned plants, such as the McNeil Generating Station, the Winooski One Hydroelectric Plant, and solar arrays, as well as long-term contracts with renewable energy projects, is helping to reduce cost pressures for BED customers during a period of historically high prices in the New England region.
For example, absent McNeil’s operation, BED would have needed an estimated additional 20 percent rate increase in fiscal year 2023 due to volatile fossil fuel prices in the regional energy market.
The expiring resources represent approximately 28 percent of BED’s energy portfolio, which currently has excess energy-producing resources.
BED tries to maintain some excess energy availability to maintain 100 percent renewability in years with lower-than-expected renewable energy production.
BED’s preference as it pursues a cost-effective energy contracting strategy is to purchase energy associated with one or more renewable generating facilities, rather than for generic New England wholesale market energy.
Further, BED would prefer local, Vermont-based proposals, and would consider resources that exist or are being developed for the New England region.
Interested parties may view the RFP at burlingtonelectric.com/RFP by clicking on RFP # PS-2022-1. Responses are due by 4:30 pm on October 21, 2022.