City of Montpelier Project
Project: combined heat and power district energy system
Funding received: $8 million
The City of Montpelier, Vermont, is installing a combined heat and power district energy system fueled with locally-sourced renewable and sustainably-harvested wood chips. The U.S. Department of Energy provided $8 million in funding for this Community Renewable Energy Deployment (CommRE) project.
Combined Heat and Power District Energy System
The City of Montpelier's 41 million British thermal unit (1,200 horsepower) combined heat and power system will heat a complex of state buildings in Montpelier, including the state capitol and municipal and school buildings.
Electricity produced for the facility will be provided to the electrical grid, and capacity will be provided for the future connection of commercial and privately owned buildings. The full build design will heat 1.8 million square feet of building space and produce 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
The Montpelier Community Renewable Energy Deployment project will identify and implement the optimum ownership and customer marketing and connection strategies. As properties are connected to the system, the project will employ efficiency and conservation measures to reduce overall heat load.
Finally, the project includes adoption of financing mechanisms that will enable property owners to incorporate a variety of efficiency measures and renewable energy strategies and pay the cost of these improvements from a special assessment on their property tax.
Environmental and Economic Benefits
The City of Montpelier CommRE project will result in a seamless delivery and financing system that encourages property owners to undergo energy retrofits, and install renewable energy technologies where appropriate, so that by 2015:
- 50% of Montpelier's homes will have implemented deep energy retrofits
- 50% of the buildings in Montpelier's designated downtown will have undergone energy retrofits and be positioned to make maximum use of the district energy system
In addition, the city is working on innovative financing strategies that will give property owners the option to heat their homes with renewable energy. The Montpelier CommRE project is projected to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 50,000 tons—the equivalent of $15 million in annual fuel oil savings—and invest approximately $100 million into the local Montpelier economy.
The City of Montpelier's District Energy Subcommittee will play an important role in the Community Renewable Energy Deployment project. This includes publicizing the project, building public support, providing information and education, learning about similar systems in other locations, and working with city and state leaders to implement the community-wide system.
As part of the CommRE project, Montpelier will conduct outreach to encourage replication regionally and nationally through its project partners: the Biomass Energy Resource Center, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, and Veolia Energy North America.