BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – The Windham Regional Commission (WRC) is on tap to receive funding through Congressionally directed spending supported by Senator Bernie Sanders to help towns in southeast Vermont plan Resiliency Zones. This innovative work to increase resiliency in the face of climate change is a collaboration between WRC and Green Mountain Power (GMP).
Resiliency Zones are a part of GMP’s proactive climate plan to work directly with partner communities to strengthen the grid, help prevent outages, and bounce back more quickly when severe weather hits. An example of this is the cutting-edge microgrid in Panton that GMP pioneered in 2021. Seven of the fifteen towns identified as high priority locations for Resiliency Zones by GMP are in the Windham region, making WRC an ideal planning partner for this program. The seven towns are Grafton, Athens, Brookline, Rockingham, Brattleboro, Townshend, and Putney. The WRC is getting $151,000 to design and develop these Resiliency Zones.
“With these funds, we will support town engagement with Green Mountain Power to plan for these Resiliency Zones, as local input on what the communities need will be essential,” said Chris Campany, Executive Director of the WRC. “We have seen what severe weather can do to communities in our region. Resiliency Zones will support a stronger grid, with faster restoration and a more connected community when climate change driven storms cause outages. This will also help our communities transition faster from fossil fuels to clean electricity, especially for our top sources of carbon pollution, driving and heating.”
Resiliency Zones prevent outages from happening by leveraging renewable generation, battery storage, communications, and other innovations. In the event of storm damage or a prolonged grid outage, Resiliency Zones can enable backup power from batteries and renewable energy to flow to a community hub or a network of customers. This creates backup power that can work independently from the larger electric system when needed. GMP plans to grow the Resiliency Zone program, expanding in the future to serve towns across the state.
“We know that the effects of climate change are already here and impacting our communities. This is a great opportunity for us to work with towns to design resilient systems based on their needs,” said Josh Castonguay, vice president and chief innovation officer at GMP. “We look forward to working with WRC to turn this grant into action as we lead the way together in Vermont to create a more renewable and resilient grid.”
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power serves approximately 270,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with them to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective, and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. Fast Company named GMP one of the top five Most Innovative Companies in North America in 2022. GMP also earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list in the energy sector four years in a row (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). In 2021, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) honored GMP as a nationwide leader in energy transformation.
Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power
We know that the effects of climate change are already here and impacting our communities. This is a great opportunity for us to work with towns to design resilient systems based on their needs.Josh Castonguay, GMP Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer