by Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott said today he likes the concept of a Green Mountain Power plan to eliminate blackouts by 2030.
The plan, filed recently by the state’s largest utility with the Public Utilities Commission, would bury power lines underground, harden above ground lines, and build battery storage capacity in remote towns.
Utility authorities argue that climate-related extreme weather is consuming an increasingly large amount of ratepayer revenue.
“That all makes sense,” Scott said at a press conference today. “Building resiliency includes the grid.”
The news about the aggressive, expensive plan to make extreme-weather blackouts a thing of the past broke on WCAX October 9 when Darren Perron interviewed GMP President Mari McClure.
On its Facebook page, GMP included a link to the WCAX news story with this comment: “Our Zero Outages Initiative by 2030 will make sure customers stay powered up, no matter the weather or their location. We will do this by accelerating solutions that are already working like undergrounding lines, storm hardening overhead lines with insulated, stronger wire and energy storage. It’s about equity and safety – a way to address severe storms and climate change head on.”
Scott cautioned that the quoted price tag – cited by WCAX as $280 million for the first two years and $1.5 billion total – is a concern. This and other details need to be “flushed out” by the PUC, he said.
The GMP plan would do less to mitigate another potential source of blackouts: a shortage of electricity at peak demand due to the closing of New England nuclear and fossil fuel power plants in recent years.
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