BRATTLEBORO -- The state office building in Brattleboro is one of several state facilities that Gov. Peter Shumlin is recommending receive its electricity from solar power.
On Wednesday, the administration announced a renewable energy initiative for 10 state buildings, including seven correctional facilities, in Vermont. The effort is meant to support local green energy production and manufacturing, and reduce the energy costs for the power produced by at least 5 percent, saving taxpayers more than $1 million.
"Moving Vermont from fossil fuels to renewable energy is critical," stated Shumlin in a press release announcing the initiative.
Shumlin was joined by Buildings and General Services Commissioner Michael Obuchowski, formerly of Bellows Falls, Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia, and others outside the Pavilion Building.
"The state is leading by example, using solar projects to improve the environment, create jobs for Vermonters, and hold down energy costs for taxpayers," stated Shumlin.
In order to challenge developers to provide lower cost renewable power in support of the Comprehensive Energy Plan, the state initiated a competitive bidding process in July 2011, seeking renewable energy projects for state facilities at a competitive or neutral cost. AllEarth Renewables of Williston won the competitive bidding process, offering a guaranteed 5 percent savings over current costs for the delivery of renewable solar power. Although the process was initially delayed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, the project has now gained momentum with the signing of agreements covering 10 state facilities.
AllEarth will site, permit, and construct the solar projects up to 500kW in size to serve the facilities chosen in this initial round. Under a 20-year agreement, the state will pay nothing for the hardware, and will save a guaranteed 5 percent. In addition, the state will save 10 percent for the electricity generated by any of these projects that are hosted on state land, and will have an option to buy these systems after seven years and again at intervals throughout the contract.
Siting and permitting work will begin immediately. The projects are expected to be located throughout the state and the first projects will be complete early next year.