- This project and those like it show how Vermont is national leader in grid resiliency solutions keeping communities connected as severe weather increases due to climate change
- Vermont Public team produced segment highlighting pioneering grid innovation by GMP
- Panton microgrid is model for more GMP Resiliency Zones in partnership with communities across Vermont
COLCHESTER, Vt. – Green Mountain Power’s (GMP) microgrid in Panton, Vt., is the focus of a segment for PBS NOVA’s Climate Across America initiative, which examines responses to the climate crisis. GMP’s microgrid functions as a grid within the larger grid, allowing those customers within it to stay powered up even when the larger grid is damaged. It is the first distribution circuit, all-renewable microgrid in the country, and it runs on solar energy and utility scale batteries. The segment was produced for NOVA by a team from Vermont Public.
“This is the future right here in Vermont. We are using the latest technologies to keep communities powered up when devastating weather hits. Our team has never been more motivated to deploy more of this work across the state so Vermonters can stay powered up no matter what, while also contributing to the grid with renewable generation and storage. The time is now and we must move faster,” said Mari McClure, GMP’s president and CEO.
Vermont has seen an increasing amount of severe weather over the last decade due to climate change, with storms that are more damaging. Three of the worst storms in GMP history, in terms of outages, happened just this winter. Meteorologists say this type of severe weather is part of a growing trend for the state.
“These record-breaking storms are strong indicators of a warming climate producing snowstorms that are wetter and more powerful, and windstorms that can produce more impacts,” said Jay Shafer, who tracks and forecasts the weather’s effects on utility systems, and is the Chief Science Officer at Disaster Tech. “As the cold season warming accelerates from climate change, we can expect extreme weather impacts to the electric grid to increase.”
GMP’s Panton microgrid serves 55 customers, can expand to 900 more, and was developed in partnership with the town of Panton. It is a replicable model that serves as the foundation for GMP’s Resiliency Zone initiative. A Resiliency Zone is a community hub which can stay connected even when the larger grid is damaged. Projects are customized to a town’s needs with technologies that can include energy storage, renewable power generation, power line undergrounding, and storm-hardened line construction techniques. Resiliency Zone communities are selected using outage statistics and CDC community vulnerability data.
Currently GMP is creating Resiliency Zones in Brattleboro, Grafton, and Rochester, with plans to add Resiliency Zones in three more communities each year. This initiative is in addition to other targeted grid resiliency work that GMP is doing across its service area as part of its Climate Plan, which was approved by state regulators in 2020. GMP also offers home battery programs for residential customers, and custom incentives to help communities and businesses install batteries for backup power.
You can watch the segment on the Panton microgrid here.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power serves more than 270,000 residential and business customers in Vermont with electricity that’s 100% carbon free and 78% renewable on an annual basis, and GMP is partnering with customers to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is providing solutions to cut carbon and is delivering electricity that is clean, affordable, and always on. 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 2022, GMP was named to TIME’s list of the 100 Most Influential Companies. Fast Company named GMP one of the top five Most Innovative Companies in North America in 2022. GMP also earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list in the energy sector four years in a row, and in 2023 and 2021 the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) honored GMP as a nationwide leader in energy transformation.
Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power
This is the future right here in Vermont. We are using the latest technologies to keep communities powered up when devastating weather hits. Our team has never been more motivated to deploy more of this work across the state so Vermonters can stay powered up no matter what, while also contributing to the grid with renewable generation and storage.Mari McClure, GMP’s president and CEO