## Green Mountain Power Offers Employees Cash Incentives for Hybrid Vehicle Purchases

##### 26 October 2007

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power will offer employees a $1,500 incentive for the purchase of a new car, or a$750 incentive for the purchase of a used vehicle, that is included in the EPA’s Smart Way Elite category. Currently that list includes the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

We have worked very hard to reduce Green Mountain Power’s impact on the environment by converting our fleet to biodiesel, purchasing hybrid vehicles where possible for company use, and using the most efficient vehicles available for the required work. Offering our employees an incentive for purchasing fuel efficient vehicles is the next logical step for ensuring that all of us at Green Mountain Power make positive changes to help the environment.

—Mary Powell, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Green Mountain Power is an electric utility owned by Northern New England Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro, a leading Québec energy company with a long history of investment in Vermont. Green Mountain Power transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves approximately 92,000 customers.

What is the generation mix of the power they distribute? A few cars this way or that pales in comparison.

What is the generation mix of the power they distribute? A few cars this way or that pales in comparison.

So I visited that website and found...

Nuclear 43 %
Hydro 50.4 %
Oil/Natural Gas 2.2 %
Wood 4.3 %
Wind 0.1* %
Total 99.9 %

Wood?

Renewable, I suppose. And there is not enough population density for PM emissions to matter...

Green power, to them, means retailing some of Hydro Quebec's legacy dam capacity, as well as power from the Vermont Yankee nuclear station, I surmise. Every other category is chump change. Low carbon, but not very innovative. I guess getting Priuses for the workers is about all that's left to do, unless they are expecting increasing consumption in future years, in which case they'll have to think of some new green sources, because I don't think Quebec is building new dams these days.

NBK

Don't you think that Green Mountain clean Energy mix is an example to follow?

Of course, with huge new hydro power plants coming on board in Quebec in the next 5 to 10 years + two new NG ports to be built alone the St-Lawrence, plus hundreds new wind mills, Green Mountain Power is assured to get clean power for generations to come.

Active support for PHEVs and BEVs makes good sense. Quebec Hydro + Gaz Métropolitain will probably do the same shorthly.

Frankly, I don't think it is a mix that CAN be followed by the rest of us, nor should we try.

Contrary to my earlier statement, some web research has shown that, at least in 2001 and 2003, Hydro Quebec was proposing some new dam projects, but news about their progress at the present date (2007) is not forthcoming. But those new projects are hardly enough to make a big dent in the consumption of the entire continent.

It is not feasible to expect substantially increasing numbers people to get their electricity from 50% hydro, 43% nuke, 4% wood, and 3% other. Nor would be obviously good if we tried. Dams are an established technology, and most of the good spots have been developed. In fact, at present in the U.S., a good number of dams (usually smaller ones) are being retired in order to restore rivers to a more wild state, and licensing for new hydroprojects draws significant criticism. My impression is that even if we exploited every opportunity that was even somewhat economically sound, we would not have nearly enough capacity to supply half our country's electricity needs, and there would be substantial effects on our nation's rivers. Maybe there is some incremental room for smart growth in this field, but I doubt it can grow dramatically.

Similarly, construction of nuclear plants has not been keeping pace with increases in electricity demand over the past thirty years (to put it mildly), and there appears to be little prospect of changing that in the immediate future. There are also good reasons to doubt the wisdom of expanding our nuclear capacity at the moment, even by using newer, safer designs. My personal favorite is uncertainly regarding our plans for long term waste management.

With 0.1% of their current mix coming from wind, they aren't much of an example to follow on that score, either.

While I'm happy that they are getting their energy from such green sources, I don't think they provide an example that others, who currently use coal and natural gas, can or should try to emulate.

As to Hydro Quebec's future plans -- they sound nice. I hope they achieve success.

As to "active support for PHEVs and BEVs," there is no evidence in this posting that anyone is doing anything of the sort. Green Mountain is giving out $1,500 to employees who purchase (non-plug-in) Prius hybrids, Civic hybrids, and the like ($750 if bought used). Such active support would probably be a good thing, but bringing it up here is somewhat tangential to the topic at hand.

Basically, I was originally wondering if this car incentive program was pointless greenwashing or not -- whether a company that was running huge belching coal plants was trying to make itself look good by throwing some cash at some hybrids. Turns out not -- the utility already uses low-carbon electricity to the maximum practical extent, and is now just branching out. Good for them.

NBK:

Looks like you are trying to find universal solution to follow. It does not work.

New hydro in plain terrain is obvious no-go. In mountains, like in part of Quebec and US/Canada West it is the best way to go.

Andrey,

Obviously I am NOT trying to find a universal example to follow.

I am respoding to Henry D's suggestion that Green Mountain could serve as a model for the rest of us, by saying that it CANNOT be easily or sensibly replicated across the country.

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