Vermont will not purchase 13 hydro facilities

A proposal to have the state of Vermont purchase 13 dams that impound water for hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers in hopes of stabilizing power prices appears to be dead.

Instead, state officials are talking about pursuing a long-term power purchase from whatever entity ends up owning the properties.

Administration Secretary Justin Johnson is chairman of a special working group looking at buying the series of hydro stations that energy giant TransCanada has put up for sale.

He and working group member Vincent Illuzzi say the price of the dams – expected to be between US$800 million and $1.2 billion – is too high for Vermont to handle.

The hydro plants are:

  • In Vermont — 41-MW Harriman and 5-MW Searsburg;
  • Between Vermont and New Hampshire — 49-MW Bellows Falls, 144-MW Comerford, 11-MW McIndoes, 192-MW Moore, 37-MW Vernon and 41-MW Wilder; and
  • In Massachusetts — 7-MW Deerfield No. 2, 7-MW Deerfield No. 3, 6-MW Deerfield No. 4, 14-MW Deerfield No. 5 and 6-MW Sherman.

But they both say the group is interested in a long-term power purchase from whoever ends up buying the dams. 

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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