It May Soon Be Easier to Access Renewables in Vermont Thanks to Microgrid Technology

NRG Energy Inc., the largest independent U.S. electricity producer, and the Vermont utility Green Mountain Power Corp., are jointly developing products and services that will make it easier for customers to generate and use renewable energy.

The two companies are starting with a so-called microgrid that will provide solar energy to the city of Rutland, Vermont, starting next year, Green Mountain Power President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Powell said today at a press conference.

The companies are also planning electric-vehicle charging stations, energy storage systems, software to help consumers manager their power consumption and generators that will serve individual homes. The goal is to shift away from the large, centralized power grid in favor of more efficient ways of producing and delivering electricity to the company’s 265,000 residential and business customers, she said.

“As more distributed generation technologies move along and become available to homes and businesses, you’re going to see more and more move to generating their own power,” she said at the event in Colchester, Vermont.

Green Mountain’s customers “want tools to save money and move to renewable energy sources” Powell said in a statement today. “We can show the rest of the country how to get there.” Terms of the partnership with Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG weren’t disclosed.

The Vermont efforts may serve as a model that other utilities may use to reduce costs for customers, NRG CEO David Crane said at the event.

“The average American spends about 7 percent of their income on power,” he said. “Anything we can do to reduce that number is good.” NRG already provides 50 residential and commercial customers in Rutland with power from a 150-kilowatt solar farm.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Vermont map via Shutterstock

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