The Hardwick Electric Department (HED) expects to reach the net metering cap of 15% within the next week or so. 

This 15% represents over 1,000 kilowatts of renewable energy capacity within our service territory.  HED is very proud to have been a part of these opportunities afforded to our ratepayers, and we consider reaching the cap a great accomplishment.  Net metering was intended to provide incentives to jumpstart solar development in Vermont, and grow the solar industry – it has been a great success. 

There are presently a multitude of issues in regard to net metering being addressed through ongoing Act 99 workshops.  From the information in documents so far produced, there is little doubt that that significant changes to net metering in Vermont will occur in 2017.  Until these changes are known, HED has decided it would be imprudent to make any additional investments in net metering.

The above being said, HED has been actively and eagerly seeking opportunities to invest in renewable energy sources for our ratepayers.  Several years ago, HED began to target and add solar energy into our power portfolio.  At this point we have added solar projects to our mix that account for roughly 4% of our annual needs.  In addition to this, we purchase solar renewable energy through Vermont’s Standard Offer Program (SPEED) from the 28 participating solar facilities throughout Vermont.  These facilities contribute 51,685,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually for the state.  HED is a member of the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA).  As such we will soon be investing in another 1,000 kilowatts (our load share entitlement) of a large VPPSA solar project that is presently in the final stages of development.  Lastly, HED is evaluating developer proposals for the construction of our own 1,000 kilowatt solar generating facility as I type.  These last two projects will provide energy at prices less than what we presently pay for purchased power.  It is an undeniable fact that HED has been, and continues to be a strong supporter of solar renewable energy.

At this point HED looks forward to the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan updates being completed (presently in process), as well as to 2017 when the legislature will provide new direction for us all in regard to net metering.  In the meantime, we continue our ongoing efforts to identify renewable sources to invest in that make sense for all our ratepayers. 

Very Truly Yours,

Mike Sullivan,  General Manager