Microgrids, community resilience zones, and “hyper-local planning” are cornerstones of the three-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) issued last month by Vermont’s Green Mountain Power.
“This work is imperative and requires that we evolve quicker than we ever have before,” Green Mountain President and CEO Mari McClure wrote in the introduction to the document. “The climate challenges and catastrophes experienced across the country are heartbreaking and motivate us to move even faster as we radically transform the greater grid here in Vermont and deliver something much more resilient and dynamic.”
Green Mountain Power is by far the biggest utility in Vermont, delivering more than three-quarters of the state’s electricity, Microgrid Knowledge reports. In this latest IRP, “the utility said it wants to transform the grid into a two-way sharing system, generate more renewable power close to where it will be used, and foster electric vehicles.”
To do that, the company will bring its electricity planning down to the community level and count on new technologies to “drastically improve” resilience, Microgrid Knowledge says, by establishing up to six resilience zones across its territory. “The utility is determining where the zones will be located based on electric reliability data, communications/broadband connectivity data, and social vulnerability indicators.”
The news story includes capsule profiles of each of the four resilience zones that Green Mountain has finalized so far, with microgrids featuring prominently in the plan.
After years of seeing Vermont’s electricity demand decline, Microgrid Knowledge says the new IRP projects future increases due to wider electrification. “The plan also describes transmission and distribution upgrades, renewable energy additions, use of energy storage for flexible demand, power purchase plans, and other investments and innovations the company plans to pursue.”