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Solar company objects to Vermont company's hydropower plan

Posted November 26

— A Vermont electric company's plan to buy 14 hydroelectric stations will hinder renewable energy development, according to a solar power developer.

Green Mountain Power announced in September that it had reached an agreement with Enel Green Power North America for three stations in Vermont and 11 others in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. The company said the deal will benefit ratepayers, but a New York firm that builds solar projects said it would displace demand for in-state renewable energy projects.

GMP is now seeking state and federal regulatory approval for the deal, which is expected to close some time next year. Allco Renewable Energy asked the Public Service Board to intervene in Green Mountain's petition for a state permit, but the board rejected the request, Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2fCYVxk ) reported. The board agreed with GMP that Allco's competitive business interests did not give it standing to intervene.

A GMP spokeswoman said the deal would benefit customers.

"If you look at New England and New England energy, it's the whole grid, and how the whole grid connects and works together," said Kristin Carlson. "And so there really aren't borders when you look at energy."

The addition of the 14 dams to the 32 hydro plants GMP already owns in Vermont would provide enough hydro power to produce enough energy for 21,000 homes. In addition to the dams Green Mountain Power hopes to buy, the utility said it September it also reached a long-term power-purchase agreement with the company to buy power from dams the company owns in Sheldon and Ticonderoga, New York.

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