Vermont is home to the first backup-battery-powered statehouse in the nation

Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.

Vermont’s statehouse is first in the nation to have clean backup power stored in batteries — using a Green Mountain Power (GMP) program to help lower costs for all Vermonters. Vermont State officials, and leaders from Northern Reliability, Dynapower, Virtual Peaker and Green Mountain Power (GMP) were joined by state officials and legislative leaders to make the announcement this week during a virtual news conference. 

The Samsung Mega E2 batteries were installed in the basement of the statehouse where a failing fossil fueled generator from the 1960’s once was. The 250 kWh of battery power came online this fall, and now backs up more critical systems for the historic building, including the elevator. Northern Reliability procured and built the battery system for the state.

“It’s incredibly impressive that leadership in our State Government is forward-thinking enough to replace their fossil fuel redundancy with an Energy Storage System.  Its ability to fulfill their backup needs and be used by GMP for peak avoidance is just one of many ways that Governor Scott and our state leaders are doing their part not only to reduce our carbon footprint but also to work with our utilities to reduce the cost of power.  Northern Reliability is proud to have been a part of such a great project,” said Jay Bellows, CEO of Northern Reliability. 

Samsung Mega E2 batteries were installed in the basement of the Vermont statehouse where a failing fossil fueled generator from the 1960’s once lived.

The statehouse battery project is expected to save Vermont taxpayers $44,000 and GMP customers an additional $18,000 over ten years while also supplying clean backup power. The batteries are projected to reduce carbon emissions by 6,388 pounds per year, the equivalent of not using 326 gallons of gasoline.

Governor Phil Scott praised the project in a video comment shared at the event. “With ‘out of the box’ thinking, common sense and collaboration, we can address tough issues like climate change and do our part to reduce carbon emissions without hurting the economy. I know many think clean energy must be more expensive, but the work done today shows not only can we reduce carbon emissions, but if we are strategic, we can also save money in the process,” Gov. Scott said.

 “BGS is excited to be a part of this ambitious effort,” said Acting Commissioner Jennifer M.V. Fitch, P.E. “We hope that this project will become a model for energy management strategies and backup power systems in public buildings, and for the public-private partnerships that make them work.”

The batteries are part of GMP’s first in the country Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for Business program — which provides financial incentives to businesses that install batteries and share some of that back up energy. GMP uses that stored power during energy peaks, when power is costliest and dirtiest. This reduces costs for all GMP customers and also covers the cost of the incentives in the BYOD for Business program. 

 “Dynapower is grateful for the opportunity to support such a groundbreaking energy storage project shepherded by Northern Reliability, Green Mountain Power, and the state of Vermont. This is a perfect example of world class Vermont organizations coming together to help tackle climate issues here at home and lead the nation. Energy storage presents an incredible opportunity for Vermont to leverage its in state technical talent to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and grow jobs here in Vermont – a win, win for state,” said Adam Knudsen, CEO of Dynapower in South Burlington, Vermont, which supplied the inverter for the project.

Virtual Peaker software is being used to connect the battery to GMP for energy sharing. “Virtual Peaker’s cloud-based flexible software helps to create an ecosystem of distributed energy resources that deliver maximum value to Vermonters from the State House battery,” said William (Bill) Burke, founder and CEO of Virtual Peaker. “

State Curator, David Schultz noted that the energy profile of the State House has been in a constant state of evolution, “The building itself dates to the mid-19th century, when its chandeliers were illuminated with coal-fired gas.  Electricity was finally installed in 1898, and now, over 120 years later, there is an unprecedented reliance on power and technology to do the people’s business.”

 Project Roles

  • Project Lead: Vermont Dept. of Buildings and General Services
  • Battery: Northern Reliability, Waterbury, VT
  • Inverter: Dynapower, South Burlington, VT
  • Software control and connect to GMP: Virtual Peaker, Louisville, KY (grew in GMP incubator Inspire Space)
  • Electrical contracting: Norway & Sons, Inc., Barre City, VT
  • Utility program: Green Mountain Power’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for Business, Colchester, VT 
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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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