Vermont officials say a new battery system to provide backup power has been installed in the Statehouse in Montpelier. It’s thought to be the first such system in a state capitol in the country.
Vermont’s statehouse is one of the oldest in the country. It was built over 160 years ago when gas-fired chandeliers were in vogue. Eventually a diesel generator would provide backup and emergency power. Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services Acting Commissioner Jennifer Fitch announced that a public-private project has installed a battery system that will reduce operational costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Through partnerships with the private sector the state of Vermont installed an innovative battery backup power system that allows the state to sell energy back to the grid during peak demand and buy it back during low demand reducing the state’s operational costs. This system also lowers greenhouse gas emissions continuing to support the state energy management program.”
Governor Phil Scott said Vermont is the first state to install a battery-powered back up power system. “Not only is this a cutting edge solution that reduces both carbon emissions and costs but it also increases reliability. The work done today shows that not only can we reduce carbon emissions but if we’re strategic we can also save money in the process. The battery power will allow systems in the Statehouse to become more efficient and less of a burden on the grid saving thousands of dollars every year. I realize this project is just one small step in reducing carbon emissions and I know we have much more work to do. But I’m proud of what we’ve done here today and I look forward to seeing how we continue making Vermont a leader in green technology.”
The governor said a public private partnership was vital to complete the project. Green Mountain Power CEO Mari McClure says collaboration with other companies and the state will save Vermonters money. “This project alone has savings of $44,000 over the next 10 years and importantly carbon reduction, over 6,000 pounds of carbon annually which is the equivalent of not using about 300 gallons of gasoline per year.”
Dynapower CEO Adam Knudsen said the project is another example of Vermont’s leadership in green technology and innovation.
“This innovation is exactly what Vermont has been known for and we are just beginning the impact on the clean energy world. Not just what Vermont does but how Vermont can export that technology around the globe. This is just a perfect example.”
Northern Reliability CEO Jay Bellows described the batteries which can provide 250 kilowatt hours of power. “They’re called Mega E2 batteries. The battery charges and discharges in a two hour window. It’s located in the basement of the Statehouse and took the same footprint that the generator was in beforehand. You’re probably looking at between 15 and 20 years life on that battery.”
McClure explained the design and planned use of the battery system. “First and foremost the battery is there to provide backup power to the state when they need it in the case of an outage, in the case of a weather event. And then secondly the battery is there when Green Mountain Power on our grid, on our network, is experiencing peak demand. And so we have this network of batteries which now includes the Statehouse battery that we’re able to tap into at those peak times and by doing that we reduce our peak demand and we reduce costs across all our customers.”
The project took over two years to complete. It is part of a Green Mountain Power project that provides financial incentives to businesses to install batteries and then share the backup energy on the grid.