Waterbury Center, VT (August 23, 2019) – Hydropower has provided the nation with clean, renewable energy for over 200 years. In recognition of the first form of renewable energy, the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA) is pleased to celebrate National Hydropower Day. National Hydropower Day celebrates hydropower’s undeniable contributions to America’s clean energy infrastructure, electrical grid resiliency and reliability benefits, and environmental protections.
Hydropower has been the backbone of Vermont’s electricity generation since the late 1700s, when many dams were built to power grain mills. Today, VPPSA members own nine hydropower facilities with a total generating capacity of 21.9 megawatts (MW). In 2018, public power owned hydropower accounted for 14% of VPPSA’s energy portfolio.
“Locally owned hydropower enables VPPSA members to meet and even exceed renewable energy requirements mandated by Vermont legislation,” said VPPSA’s General Manager, Ken Nolan. “One of our members, Swanton Village, is 100% renewable largely due to generation from the Orman Croft Hydroelectric facility.”
Eight VPPSA member owned hydroelectric facilities are classified as run-of-the-river, considered to have the lowest impact on water quality and ecology. On March 29, 2019, Barton Village’s hydroelectric facility received certification from the Low Impact Hydropower Institute for meeting its high environmental, cultural, and recreational standards.
Nationwide, in 2018, hydropower was the largest generator of clean, renewable electricity, representing 7% of total U.S. electricity generation and 39.5% of renewable electricity generation. The U.S. hydropower fleet is comprised of approximately 2,200 power plants with a total capacity of roughly 102 GW, which includes 95% of U.S. storage capacity (23 GW) of pumped storage. Hydropower is also a major job creator, employing 66,500 workers.