VCE Letterhead HOME |  LINKS |  SITE CONTENTS |  LANDOWNER |  TOWN |  VT AGENCY

TWO NATURAL GAS POWER PLANTS AND PIPELINES IN VERMONT

There are 57 proposals to build natural gas power plants in New England. (See Interconnection Study Status ) If all these power plants are built, they would produce more than 30,000 megawatts of power. Planners say there is a need for about 1/4 that much new power. In the utility industry, this explosion of proposals to construct natural gas power plants is called "the gold rush". Those that are completed will be enormously profitable for their investors.

Project Map

The project proposed for Southwestern Vermont is not a single project but rather several interconnected projects.

  A the core of this project are the two natural gas fired electric generating plants to be built by Vermont Energy Park Holdings (VEPH). These include a combined-cycle 1080 MW plant in Rutland, and a combined-cycle 270 MW plant in Bennington. (VEPH is also building a third 810 MW plant in Glenville, NY, which will be supplied with natural gas from the Iroquois pipeline.)

  Natural gas will be supplied to these plants by two connected natural gas pipelines. The first will extend from the Albany, NY, area to Bennington and will be built and operated by Iroquois Gas. The second, built and operated by Southern Vermont Natural Gas (SVNG), will connect to the Iroquois line and deliver gas to both the Bennington and Rutland plants.

  Although the proposed pipelines will be built initially to supply natural gas to the several VEPH powerplants, they are part of a long range, 10-year plan to expand lines for future gas distribution systems throughout Vermont and into Massachusetts. (See 09/30/98 Notes) Local service is planned for about 7,500 industrial, commercial and residential customers served by about 458 miles of distribution pipeline. However, how much gas might be immediately available for distribution, and to whom, remains unclear. NYSEG/SVNG has stated that any gas available over what the power plants will use (an estimated 15% of pipeline capacity) will be sold where economically feasible, beginning with large industrial customers, then commercial, and finally residential. NYSEG has not quoted any prices to show what Vermonters might expect to pay for natural gas in their homes.

  A fourth, and poorly addressed, aspect of the project is the construction of the connections between the generating plants and the New England power grid. Although the plant sites were picked for their proximity to existing transmission lines, connecting plant to grid will require 1 to 2 miles of new powerline construction, particularly in Rutland. A related question is whether the existing transmission lines, both in Rutland and in Bennington, are currently adequate to carry the projected output of the plants. VEPH claims they are, others suggest that they may not be; neither position has been substantiated.

COMPANIES | BENNINGTON PLANT | RUTLAND PLANT | PIPELINES | TRANSMISSION
Copyright © 1999 by Vermonters for a Clean Environment
Revised: November 21, 1999