US-based energy services company Green Mountain Power is providing funds of US$15,000 to the city of Barre in Vermont to study the feasibility of generating electricity from micro hydro sources, including the municipal water system.

Green Mountain Power’s contribution to the study is supported by funds available as a result of the sale of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to Entergy in 2001. As a condition of this sale, the Vermont Public Service Board required that these funds be targeted to renewable projects that benefit the company’s customers.

‘In light of the challenges we face in finding new generation to satisfy Vermont’s future energy needs, it is important to find new and cost effective ways to generate electricity,’ said Chris Dutton, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power. ‘We are interested in learning from the Barre study whether there are other opportunities across Vermont to harness electricity from potential micro hydro sites.’

The city of Barre recently received a US$16,700 grant from the Vermont Community Development Program to conduct a feasibility study of potential low-impact hydroelectric generation sites in Barre that are typical of potential opportunities elsewhere in Vermont and New England.

In addition to examining the feasibility of these sites, the study will also focus on the best method to finance their development.