The City of Burlington
Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger, along with Burlington Electric Department (BED) General Manager Darren Springer and VGS President & CEO of VGS Neale Lunderville, provided an update to the Burlington City Council on recent progress with the establishment of a District Energy System (DES). Following the completion of Phase 3 feasibility work this past summer and additional design and engineering work this past fall, the project is ready to advance to the State of Vermont Act 250 permitting process. Beginning the permitting process now is necessary to maintain its construction schedule.
“Burlington has among the most ambitious climate goals in the country, and meeting those goals will require innovative local strategies to dramatically lower emissions from our largest driver, thermal heating,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Generations of Burlington residents and leaders have recognized the opportunity of creating a District Energy System, and after 35 years of stops and starts, it is exciting to pass another key milestone in our steady progress toward bringing this project to life.”
“Today we announce another significant step forward in the effort to advance district energy in Burlington, by moving the project into state permitting for the first time,” said Darren Springer, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “With district energy, the McNeil wood chip plant would not only produce renewable electricity but also provide renewable steam to help reduce fossil fuel use and support progress towards our Net Zero Energy goal. It is important to note, however, that there remains substantial work ahead on the financing and pricing for the project before we can reach an ultimate ‘go’ decision. We offer our thanks to the University of Vermont Medical Center, University of Vermont, VGS, The Intervale Center, the McNeil Joint Owners, and Ever-Green Energy for their intensive work over the past several years on the current iteration of the district energy project.”
“Displacing fossil gas with alternative supply options, like the Burlington District Energy System, is a top climate priority for VGS,” said Neale Lunderville, President & CEO of VGS (Vermont Gas). “While there is still much work ahead to fully green light this project, advancing to environmental permitting is a big milestone and will help the project stay on schedule as the parties work diligently on outstanding items. We welcome this partnership as we work together toward the shared goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change.”