By John Herrick, VTDigger.org
Vermont electric customers could be on the hook for the cost of out-of-state transmission projects as the result of a federal court decision Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit upheld an order by federal energy regulators requiring regional planning for transmission projects designed to connect renewable power to the grid.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 1000 would force states to coordinate transmission planning and share the cost of projects. Vermont shares its electric grid with the five other New England states.
How the cost of the transmission projects will be shared among the states is yet to be decided. But Vermont utilities want to ensure that the state pays only its fair share of the cost.
One proposal would spread 70 percent of the costs among the regional utilities and the states benefiting from the project would pay 30 percent. Another option would distribute 30 percent of the cost regionally and the states would pay 70 percent.
Vermont is advocating for the latter. Under the proposal, Vt. would pay four percent of the 30 percent it owes toward the out-of-state projects. The state consumes about four percent of New England’s electricity load.