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GMP Partners with Vermont State Parks for First e-Park

Park will be removed from electric grid and powered by solar and battery

As Vermonters enjoy the last warm days of summer and the beautiful outdoors, one state park is about to take our green image to a whole new level by going green and off the grid. Green Mountain Power is partnering with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to transform the bulk of Emerald Lake State Park in East Dorset into an ePark, powered entirely by solar and the new Tesla Powerwall battery for storage.

“It is so exciting to partner with customers on this energy transformation, and bringing new energy technology, and the independence that comes with being off the grid, to Vermont’s state parks is a great step forward,” said Mary Powell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Mountain Power. “I’m thrilled that we can cost-effectively provide incredibly reliable, renewable power to one of Vermont’s state parks by taking it off the grid. Emerald Lake State Park is a great example to Vermonters, and the thousands of visitors to the park each year, of what our energy future will look like. This project will show how we can provide cost-effective power that is clean and highly reliable, while being generated closer to home.”

Emerald Lake State Park is currently served by a standard power line extending a half mile through swamps, marshes and rough, heavily forested terrain to the park. The line experiences multiple outages each year where lineworkers have to make costly repairs due to fallen trees and the remote location of the lines. By installing solar power paired with the Powerwall battery for storage, the state park will increase reliability and keep guests comfortable without the need for power lines. A successful project will allow GMP to retire the entire line.

The cost to install the solar and storage system is approximately 20 percent less than the cost to rebuild the line to Emerald Lake State Park. And there are additional maintenance savings, as every year it costs about $7,000 to $8,000 for lineworkers to repair damaged and downed power lines.

Denis Lincoln, at the Vermont Parks Division said, “We loved this idea as soon as GMP came to us with a creative way to power our facilities at Emerald Lake, lower costs and improve reliability. This is a model for how to use cutting edge technology and innovation to benefit visitors to this great park. I hope we see more of this across Vermont.”

Through its partnership with Tesla, GMP is one of the first utilities in the country to offer solar and battery back-up to customers, offering the company’s groundbreaking Powerwall.  GMP will receive approximately 500 Tesla home energy storage systems starting in October. In addition to the Powerwall, GMP offers products and services like the comprehensive eHome program to help customers save money, reduce fossil fuel use, and be more comfortable.

“As the Energy Company of the Future, GMP is transforming from the 100-year-old grid, which includes poles and lines like those you see at Emerald Lake, to one where more clean and cost effective power is generated and stored closer to home. GMP is offering innovative products and services to help customers save money and use less energy,” Powell concluded.

Work at Emerald Lake will start in the spring.  For more information about Vermont’s state parks visit: www.vtstateparks.com.

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