Gov. Peter Shumlin, joined by lawmakers, Montpelier officials, and renewable energy proponents today announced $1.75 million to the Capital City to help pay for the city's portion of the renovated biomass heating plant. The funding includes a $1 million grant from the Clean Energy Development Fund, as well as a $750,000 loan -- all part of the federal ARRA program to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the state.
"This project is a great example of how federal, state and local cooperative efforts can promote clean, green energy programs that save taxpayers and ratepayers money, while also boosting development and economic growth," Gov. Shumlin said.
Vermont lawmakers appropriated $7 million in the Capital Bill toward the plant's construction; the state provided $1.2 million of in-kind services through the Department of Buildings and General Services; $8 million came from the federal Department of Energy; $2 million was approved by the voters of Montpelier in a 2011 bond vote; and today's $1.75 is from the CEDF.
"The heating plant is a great example of a municipality, the state and the federal government working together to promote the use of renewable energy," said Montpelier Mayor John Hollar. "Montpelier can become a showcase for other cities in the use of a renewable source to heat its business district. Our downtown business owners could benefit for decades from the opportunity to rely on a reliable, low-cost source of renewable energy to heat their buildings."
Andrew Perchlik, executive director of the CEDF, agreed, adding, "This project is a great example of Vermont once again leading in the growth of the clean energy economy and of the type of project the CEDF was created to help make happen."
The Heat Plant will be constructed on the site of the state's existing boiler plant behind 120 State Street on the Capital Complex. This project upgrades the state's existing wood fired central heating plant and expands its service area to the city of Montpelier. It will reduce toxic air emissions in downtown Montpelier by as much as 11 tons per year, replaces approximately 150,000 gallons of oil per year as a prime fuel source with locally/regionally produced wood chips (keeping that economic activity in the northeast), and provides fuel cost stabilization for the state and city governments. This project also offers development opportunity in downtown Montpelier by offering a cleaner and potentially cheaper source of heat for private building owners.
The state will own and operate the upgraded and expanded central heating plant -- which will provide heat for the Capital Complex at a savings of about $200,000 per year for state taxpayers -- for a future city-owned and operated distribution system.