With a 90 percent renewable energy goal by the year 2050, Vermont communities have been looking for ways to become more green.  In Stowe and Hyde Park, that vision is becoming a reality.  It’s good news for the environment, and for your wallet.

Wednesday the parking lot was full at Alchemist Brewing in Stowe.  While visitors recharged with a craft beer inside, charging was happening outside as well.

“They’re up and down the Mountain Road, 7 miles from the village up to the mountain.  It’s going to be a critical piece of infrastructure as we move forward,” explained State Representative Heidi Scheuermann.  She was one of a handful of state leaders who met to celebrate an energy initiative between Stowe and Hyde Park.

Between the two areas, there are eight new electric vehicle charging stations, located up and down Stowe’s Mountain Road, and two 1-megawatt solar installations, one in each community.

“We were able to do this in a very quick fashion.  We were just beginning to talk about this a year ago, and we started generating power in August and that is pretty incredible,” recalled Richard Marron, a member of the Stowe Electric Commission.  He says the collaboration between the two communities allowed for a stream-lined process.

In Stowe, the solar energy will help stabilize rates, and will eventually provide rate payers with 3 cent power for 15 years.  In Hyde Park, 13 percent of residential power is now clean, green energy.  “Over it’s life, millions of dollars will be kept in the local economy.  We’re proud of the economies of scale that are gained by collaboration with Stow Electric, and we’re proud of gaining the low interest afforded by the clean, renewable energy bonds,” said Hyde Park Village Trustee Riki French.

Governor Peter Shumlin says this joint initiative continues a successful trend in Vermont.  “Vermont is the only state in the Northeast where for 4 of the 5 past years, our largest utility, 80 percent of Vermonters on Green Mountain Power, our rates have gone down or stayed flat,” he stated.  He says Stowe and Hyde Parks’ solar energy helps the state’s journey towards 90 percent renewable energy by 2050, “We’re actually showing the rest of the national how you can get off of coal and oil and move to renewable while you create jobs and gain economically for your people.”

In just 6 years, Vermont is generating 22 times the amount of wind energy and 11 times the amount of solar energy as it was in 2010.  Governor Shumlin says Vermont has the lowest power rates out of its neighboring states.