Green Mountain Power will be breaking ground this spring on a cutting edge utility microgrid in Panton, Vermont, where there is already an existing solar facility with utility scale batteries.
A microgrid is essentially a smaller grid that can operate independently, disconnecting from the larger grid during outages. This will give a new way to keep the power on for residents in the town center.
“We are going to be able to take part of the downtown area of Panton and create its own special backup power system that will allow the lights to stay on when there are outages.” said Kristin Kelly, Director of Communications for Green Mountain Power.
GMP is believed to be the first utility company in the country to island a distribution circuit using inverter based sources, with no reliance on fossil fuel generation backup.
“Climate change is making weather really unpredictable and in Vermont we are seeing more severe weather due to climate change and we are seeing more outages because of that” said Kelly. “So this project in Panton is a really exciting example of how you can use innovative solutions today right now, in the real world to help people.”
In the event of storm damage or a prolonged outage, the Panton microgrid will enable backup power from the batteries and solar panels to flow to a network of customers served by the traditional grid.
“It will really help with our climate plan, which is a package of initiatives that we are going to be launching in towns across the state to make the grid stronger, and provide resources to communities that they can bounce back even more quickly.” said Kelly.
Green Mountain Power will be working with three additional towns that are among those most affected by outages due to severe weather, to increase the number of resiliency zones across the state.