Which is the “greenest” state in America?
You might think California, or maybe Oregon. But go 3,000 miles east, and you’ll come upon the physical beauty and ecological vitality of the Green Mountain State: Vermont. Indeed, its very name is derived from the French term for green mountains: Verts Monts.
And now, Vermont’s green ethic is being advanced in a very innovative way by perhaps the least likely source: The state’s biggest electric utility! These outfits are usually rank profiteers, with their only green concern being the extraction of more dollar bills from consumers.
But, says Mari McClure, CEO of Green Mountain Power, “call us the un-utility.” She is flipping the industry model – instead of having thousands of customers hooked on a system of massive, centralized, increasingly-expensive and unreliable power plants – GMP is decentralizing. Not just symbolically, but by literally putting its power source in customers’ homes, businesses, schools, etc.
Specifically, Green Mountain will install television-size storage batteries statewide in homes and buildings, each one soaking up wind and solar energy when the weather is right, releasing stored power when needed. This turns out to be far cheaper than building central power plants, having to constantly replace miles of electric lines downed by storms, and paying for widespread power outages.
Plus, it delivers priceless customer goodwill by doing away with infuriating outages that shut down people’s lights, refrigerators, medical equipment, etc. “We don’t want the power to be off for our customers ever,” says McClure.
We’ve been actively looking for organizations and people who are helping people make this switch, but we’re having a hard time! If you know some we can recommend, leave them in the comments.
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