State News

Stored energy saved money, carbon during heat wave

The heat wave is over, the numbers are in. Green Mountain Power’s innovative network of Tesla Powerwall batteries in homes and solar installations leveraged stored energy to accomplish the equivalent of taking 5,000 homes off the grid, creating savings for customers that could reach $500,000.

GMP customer Mike Wheeler kept track on an app while GMP drew from shared energy in his Powerwall during a hot afternoon.

“It was so cool! I thought, ‘It’s going to grid right now,’” Wheeler said. “We signed up to have Powerwall battery backup at home so our family can get through occasional outages and not rely on a fossil fuel generator. But knowing our choice to get a Powerwall helped all GMP customers to cut costs during the heat wave is a great extra benefit, like you’re doing something for the common good.”

ISO-New England is a nonprofit regional power transmission organization that serves the six New England states. According to ISO-NE, regional power demand hit its peak so far this year between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday, July 5. The yearly regional peak hour is used by ISO-NE to calculate annual grid costs for utilities, so reducing power demand during that hour can produce significant savings for customers.

Along with GMP’s solar-storage facilities in Rutland and Panton and about 500 Tesla Powerwalls, GMP also partners with thousands of its customers to tap into stored energy in their water heaters or reduce electricity flow through their EV chargers when power demand is high, increasing savings for all customers.

During the hours of peak demand, this helped GMP offset approximately 17,600 pounds of carbon, the equivalent of not using about 910 gallons of gasoline. GMP’s everyday power sources are 90 percent carbon free.

“This is a game changer. We’re thrilled that our work is really paying off for all of the customers we serve,” said Mary Powell, GMP’s president and CEO. “During the heat wave, we were able to leverage these innovations to think differently about managing the energy system affordably, allow our customers to use their cooling systems to stay safe and comfortable, all while lowering the peak, ensuring the stability and safety of the grid, and driving down costs. This is what our energy future looks like,” she added.

2018 is not over, so GMP will continue to monitor demand and deploy its growing network of stored energy to offset carbon and costs for customers.

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