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Innovation

Vermont utility proposes incentives for towns that make LED-switch

Utility Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont are proposing to reduce the charge to cities for the LED-enabled and leased lights.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Green Mountain Power, which last year adopted a special rate for LED-powered street lights, has now dreamed up a scheme to help town in its service territory make the switch.

The utility, along with Efficiency Vermont, is also proposing to lower the rate that its charges cities for the LED-enabled and leased lights. It wants to use a $300,000 grant from the existing Green Mountain Power Efficiency Fund in order to pay for the upgrades. The utility needs approval from the Vermont Public Service Board in order to offer lower LED rates.

Says Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power: "This program supports our commitment to power that is low-cost, low-carbon and reliable. Reducing energy consumption is an important part of this overall strategy we have pursued for the past three years."

The theory behind LEDs is that they are safer, because light can be directed very specifically on walkways, streets and parking lots. They can reduce light pollution, which is being shown to have its own potential impact on the environment. Plus they are more energy-efficient than current mercury vapor or high-pressure sodium alternatives: lasting for a longer period of time and uses about 66 percent energy less (in terms of watts) than most of the things we use currently.

I know there are a limited number of other utilities that offer similar programs. It should be interesting to see, however, how deregulation reshapes the rates and considerations that utilities offer to municipalities embracing energy-efficiency initiatives.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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