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GMP Launches Clean Power, Cleaner Lake to Dramatically Reduce Phosphorus in St. Albans Bay

15 December 2015

First-of-its-Kind Community Digester Partnership with Farmers & the Community will help Clean Up Lake Champlain While Generating Clean Power for Customers
 
St. Albans, Vt. – Green Mountain Power was joined today with Franklin County leaders and champions of Lake Champlain to announce an innovative new project called Clean Power, Cleaner Lake. The program is the most substantive effort launched in the Lake Champlain basin to reduce phosphorous while generating electricity. Working with area dairy farms, this effort will significantly reduce phosphorus runoff while generating clean, local baseload power. This exciting initiative alone will achieve about 1/3 of the EPA’s goal for phosphorous reduction by farms in the St Albans Bay. GMP’s community digester will use technology to extract phosphorus from the manure stream, while generating renewable energy locally for customers.
 
“This first-of-its-kind innovative partnership is a model for how to create collaborations that leverage value for customers, the community and our environment to make our state a healthier, stronger place to live. We are so grateful to our farm partners and local leaders who are working with us to take immediate and significant steps to help clean up Lake Champlain by reaching a third of the farm reduction required by the EPA for this area,” said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell. “As Vermont’s energy company of the future, we are focused on delivering new innovations that will dramatically improve our state, while we continue to provide clean, cost-effective and reliable power.”
 
GMP has initial plans for five community digesters across the region to help clean up Lake Champlain. The first digester in St. Albans Town will provide tremendous benefits including: 
 
- CLEAN POWER: The digester will generate enough renewable local electricity to power about 700 homes a year.
- CLEANER AIR: The digester will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking over about 1,300 cars off Vermont roads a year.
- CLEANER WATER: The digester helps reduce harmful phosphorus pollution by 32 percent of the EPA’s TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) reduction target from agriculture for St. Albans Bay.
- CLEAN FARMS: Our farm partners will use remaining fibers from the digester process as environmentally sustainable farm bedding. 
- AGRICUTURAL VALUE: Partnerships provide sustainable, long-term revenue source for Vermont farmers.
- ODOR REDUCTION: Digesters significantly reduce farm odor typical of manure spreading to surrounding areas.
 
“This is the kind of partnership and leadership we need to take action to improve our bay,” said Denise Smith with Friends of Northern Lake Champlain. “The EPA has set guidelines we as a community must meet, and we will be a huge step closer to reaching that goal now that GMP’s community digester will take us one-third of the way towards the goal for agriculture.”
 
The digester will also reduce truck traffic necessary to truck in sawdust bedding from elsewhere, saving the farms additional money. The greenhouse gas emission reduction from the digester project is 6,500 metric tons of CO2, the same as removing 1300 cars from the highway each year. 
 
“We are excited to be a part of this project with GMP because it addresses a number of issues that are important to us,” said Paul Bourbeau of St. Albans Town, one of the three participating farmers. “As farmers our land, and indeed the environment as a whole, means everything to us. We continue to believe that the future health of the lake is everyone’s responsibility. Partnering with our neighbors and GMP in this project will help us stay on the leading edge of innovation as we continue to try to be a part of the solution.”
 
The community digester will be operated by GMP. The project is part of the company-led grid transformation that is underway to move away from the antiquated bulk grid, to one where power is generated closer to where it is needed. 
 
In addition, this project will improve reliability for St. Albans Town. GMP will create a mirco-grid so if the big transmission system goes down, a portion of St. Albans Town will still have power generated from the digester. 
 
“This project is a win for the community and a win for the bay, and that is why we support this. GMP is a great partner,” said Stan Dukas with the St. Albans Town Selectboard.
 
GMP has filed its plan with the Vermont Public Service Board. Pending PSB approval, construction will start next summer.    
 
For more information on GMP’s Clean Power, Cleaner Water project, please visit: http://www.greenmountainpower.com/innovative/lake/clean-power-cleaner-lake/
 
About Green Mountain Power:
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com. Connect with GMP on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  
 


Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power, 802-229-8200
Kristin.Carlson@greenmountainpower.com