CVPS hopes new equipment will delay line construction

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(Host) The state’s largest electric utility hopes to delay construction of new power line in southern Vermont by installing new equipment that will balance the electricity flow in the region.

Central Vermont Public Service Corporation has been working to improve the reliability of the so-called Southern Loop, a 66-mile-long transmission line that runs from Bennington to Brattleboro.

CVPS wants to install two devices called “synchronous condensers.” The equipment is used to control power flow on transmission networks.

The machinery isn’t cheap. The total price tag is around $10 million. But spokesman Steve Costello says the installation should buy needed time before new power lines are needed.

(Costello) “The synchronous condensers will definitely put off the need for a lengthy period of time. How long is unclear. At least for many many years, it will obviate the need in conjunction with some new energy efficiency programs and potentially some new generation in the western part of the state, it will do that.”

(Host) The recommendation to install the new equipment came from the company’s “community working group.” The group included members of the legislature, environmentalists, business leaders and utility customers in southern Vermont.

Costello says it’s part of a new approach to involve the public in utility planning and decision-making.

(Costello) “We felt there was a better way it could be done and clearly we think this is the better way. At this point, we’re operating under the assumption that this is the way we’re going to do all types of projects like this – this is the new model, if you will.”

(Host) CVPS hopes to install the synchronous condensers in a rural area in Winhall. The company says the condensers would be enclosed in a building designed to look like a horse barn.

Land nearby would be conserved through an agreement with the Vermont Land Trust.

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