- Environmental advocates from the Vermont Law School have filed a complaint petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asserting that Green Mountain Power (GMP), Vermont’s biggest electric utility, is double-selling Renewable Energy Credits (REC). The complaint alleges the utility is first applying RECs from wind and solar projects it owns to meet the goals of Vermont's 2005 renewable energy law and then selling the RECs to other New England utilities.
- GMP acknowledged that it sells some of the RECs to other utilities but said it is transparent about where they are applied and added that, even when the RECs are sold, the use of renewables reduces customer rates as much as 5%.
- The FTC complaint asserts that GMP’s practices has impeded trade in RECs and asks the FTC to investigate how credits from a 63 megawatt wind project and a 6 megawatt wind project and several community solar projects are being used.
The issue arises because Vermont’s 2005 Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) Program is not a legislatively-imposed renewables mandate like those of New England states south of Vermont.
While those states’ utilities are required by law to acquire a certain percentage of renewables, GMP’s need for RECs is only as a market participant. “Vermont law encourages our utilities to sell their RECs in order to lower the cost of electricity for their customers,” GMP’s website acknowledges. But, it adds, “once the RECs are sold, GMP can no longer claim the environmental attributes of the source and it is considered market power for our customers.”
If Vermont’s goals are legally mandated, the website says, “there is the possibility that GMP would choose to retire our RECs.”