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Monday, November 10, 2008
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Green Mountain College Receives $250,000 Clean Energy Grant for Campus Cogeneration

POULTNEY, VT - Green Mountain College has received a $250,000 grant from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) administered by the Vermont Department of Public Service. The funds will be used to help the College generate 20 percent of its own electricity through a steam turbine generator connected to a new woodchip heating plant. GMC received the maximum award under the terms of CF’s Large-Scale Systems category.

The goal of the CEDF is to increase the development and deployment of renewable energy generation, including combined heat and power (CHP) technologies and renewable energy generation.

"We’re grateful to CEDF for recognizing the merits of our proposal," said GMC president Paul Fonteyn, who announced construction of the new cogeneration plan at a campus community meeting October 22. "This funding allows us to take big steps towards climate neutrality at GMC."

The College will connect a turbine generator to new wood boilers, producing 400,000 kilowatts of electricity each year. Besides meeting 20 percent of the College’s power needs, GMC will be able to provide surplus electrical energy to Central Vermont Public Service at certain times. Between participation in the CVPS Cow Power program and cogeneration, GMC will fulfill about 70 percent of the campus’ electricity needs. The College’s cogeneration plan is the first project of this magnitude constructed with support from CEDF in Rutland County. GMC plans to have the new plant operational online by January 2010.

“The Clean Energy Development Fund continues to prompt very creative and actionable ideas in new generation,” said David O’Brien, Commissioner of the Department of Public Service. “We are delighted that GMC leaders saw the potential for cogeneration on their campus.”

The new heating plant will use green woodchips—a sustainable and renewable fuel source—harvested in an environmentally friendly way from local sources. The College estimates it will purchase 4,900 tons of wood chips per year. Economic savings will go a long way towards covering the plant’s price tag. Even after subtracting the cost of wood chips, GMC estimates it will save over $250,000 per year in heating costs.

Now celebrating its 175th anniversary, Green Mountain College is a private liberal arts institution that takes the environment as a unifying theme across the curriculum. A national leader in environmental sustainability, GMC recently won the 2009 Sustainability Innovator Award, presented to just three colleges nationally.


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