PMA Online Magazine
PMA OnLine Magazine Menu

Archives Search

About The Author:

Robert A. Olson is a partner in the law firm of Brown, Olson & Gould, P.C. which maintains a nationwide practice in energy law, public utility law and related commercial transactions.

He can be reached at:

Brown, Olson & Gould, PC
2 Delta Drive
Suite 301
Concord, NH 03301
 rolson@bowlaw.com
(603) 225-9716

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back To Top

STATELINE by Robert Olson


 

September 2004
Vermont PSB Approves "Cow Power" Program

by Robert Olson  --   Brown, Olson and Wilson, P.C.
(originally published by PMA OnLine Magazine: 2005/01/08)

By order dated, July 30, 2004, (the “Order”) the Vermont Public Service Board (the “Board”) approved Central Vermont Public Service Company’s (“CVPS”) so-called “Cow Power” program (the “Program”) to provide most CVPS customers with the option of purchasing electricity generated primarily from decaying cow manure on Vermont farms at a premium of four cents per kilowatt hour. Petition of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation for approval of a Voluntary Pricing Program pursuant to 30 V.S.A. 8003, Docket No. 6933.

According to the Order, Program participants will be able to choose to purchase 100 percent, 50 percent, or 25 percent of their electric service under the terms of the rider through which the Program is implemented. For each kilowatt hour of service so purchased, CVPS will either (1) acquire and retire a renewable energy certificate (“REC”) issued by the NEEPOOL – Generation Information System (“NEEPOOL-GIS”) that evidences electricity generated from manure at a Vermont farm; or (2) acquire and retire an REC issued by NEEPOOL-GIS associated with a renewable energy resource that has been approved by Massachusetts authorities as a “New Renewable Generation Unit” or has been approved by Connecticut authorities as a “Class I Renewable Portfolio Standards Generator”; or, (3) if applicable RECs are not available or if the market price for applicable RECs exceeds four cents per kilowatt hour, then CVPS will deposit the remaining funds in a “Renewable Development Fund” which will be used to provide Vermont farmers with financial incentives to overcome barriers to the development of electric generating facilities.

According to the Order, the Program is the first voluntary renewable pricing proposal filed with the Board pursuant to 30 V.S.A. 8001-8003, enacted by the Vermont legislature in 2003, which authorizes such programs. The Program emphasizes the promotion of renewable generation from cow manure because of expected local benefits such as farm diversification, air and water quality improvements, and the ready integration of generating facilities into the existing farm landscape which is less likely to provoke local opposition than other renewable generation projects. With respect to air quality, the Order specifies, in particular, that the Program should result in reduced emissions of methane, which the Order states is a “greenhouse gas” that is reported to be 20 times more harmful than CO 2 . Possible benefits for CVPS customer that do not participate in the Program are said to potentially include avoided transmission wheeling charges.

All CVPS customers except certain street lighting customers are eligible to participate in the Program. Large customers may be required to enter into contracts with CVPS for up to three-year terms. The Board may reopen its investigation  of the Program if CVPS does not enter into a power purchase agreement with a “farm-producer” by July 1, 2006, or if fewer than 100 customers have enrolled within one year of the effective date of the Program, or if at any time the amount of uncommitted contributions in the Renewable Development Fund exceeds $1 million. The Program is approved to commence with bills rendered on and after October 1, 2004, for service rendered on and after September 1, 2004.


Robert A. Olson is a partner in the law firm of Brown, Olson & Gould P.C. which maintains a nationwide practice in energy law, public utility law and related commercial transactions. He can be reached at:

Brown, Olson & Gould, PC
2 Delta Drive, Suite 301
Concord, NH 03301

rolson@bowlaw.com | (603) 225-9716

Back To Top