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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Energy efficiency saves real money: $157 million in Vermont alone, according to the power grid 

The folks who oversee New England's power grid say that efficiency measures in Vermont have allowed them to delay $157 million in transmission upgrades, and that "small-scale distributed generation" of power (mostly solar panels, I think) is getting so extensive that they need to do a better job of keeping track of it.

That's the word from Environment Northeast, a non-profit group promoting "clean energy," that sent me the following notice, which I have edited a bit:

At a meeting of the Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday) in Westborough, Mass., ISO New England made two significant announcements. First, the continuing investment in energy efficiency in Vermont has deferred the need to construct another $157 million in regional transmission upgrades. With the $259 million in deferred construction identified last year (I reported on that in December), that brings the total known transmission deferred in the region due to state programs like energy efficiency to $416 million.

Second, the ISO announced the establishment of a working group to examine the growing presence of small scale distributed generation and its ability to reduce or limit the need to construct expensive new transmission. The decision followed quickly on the heels of a report issued last week from Synapse Energy Economics on behalf of ENE and a coalition of other interest groups in Maine. That report found that in spite of the 1,000 megawatts of distributed generation that currently exists in the region, and the projected 3,000 megawatts that will exist by 2021, the regional grid operator has yet to model a single megawatt of this important and growing resource for its ability to eliminate the need to construct expensive new transmission.