Local News

GMP upgrades, doubles hydro generation at Otter Creek falls, Proctor

Courtesy of GMP

GMP hydro plant and Sutherland Falls on Otter Creek. The falls furnished power for cutting and processing marble from nearby quarries as early as 1836.

PROCTOR–Green Mountain Power has just completed an improvement project at its 110-year-old hydroelectric plant on the Otter Creek in Proctor that will mean more renewable, low-cost hydropower for GMP customers. The added capacity makes this plant the largest of Green Mountain Power’s fleet of 32 Vermont hydro plants, according to a July 9 press release.

“Our Vermont hydro plants are the lowest-cost source of electricity in our energy mix and we are pleased to be able to deliver on our promise of more renewable energy for customers,” said Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “Our customers and the environment benefit when we can produce this kind of clean, local and low cost power. This hydro expansion ties into our vision as Vermont’s energy company of the future as we transform the 100-year-old grid of the past to one where more power is generated closer to home and Vermonters are using innovative products and services to be more comfortable, save money and use less energy.”

Hydropower is a major part of GMP’s energy portfolio, with 42 percent of the power GMP customers receive coming from renewable hydroelectricity.

The plant, formerly owned by Vermont Marble Company, needed significant repairs when it was acquired by GMP in August 2011. Four of the five turbines were not functional, so GMP completely replaced three turbines and rebuilt another. With the renovations, the plant now has 10 megawatts of generating capacity and is expected to produce an estimated 38 million kilowatt hours per year, compared to the 19 million kilowatt hours it recently generated prior to the upgrade. That’s enough to energy to power about 5,300 homes.

The renovation began in 2012 with construction of a bridge to access the hydro plant. The only access had been a walkway via a series of ramps and stairs to the station and an old rail-lift system on the hill between the plant and the Marble Museum. The $15 million redevelopment project employed local, regional and specialty contractors, creating economic benefit to the region throughout construction. GMP took great care to protect the historic marble powerhouse structure, which was built in 1905.

“We are really pleased with the work GMP did to upgrade the historic Proctor hydro plant and thank them for their commitment to our town and to preserving this important local asset,” said Bill Champine, chair of the Proctor Select Board. “It is a big improvement that will benefit the town as well as GMP customers and we look forward to the added improvements to recreation areas that will be done in 2016. This will help the town’s prosperity plan that we have been working on for more than a year.”

Green Mountain Power serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities. For more information visit www.greenmountainpower.com.

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