The City of Burlington is one of thousands of communities looking to increase their energy resilience by developing their local resources. The community is well positioned to enhance the sustainability, efficiency, and effectiveness of its energy future by integrating its existing energy infrastructure and leveraging underutilized energy systems to develop a community energy system. The wood-fired McNeil Generating Station creates a compelling opportunity to provide thermal energy for space heating and domestic hot water to the businesses and residents of Burlington. The Ever-Green Energy team was selected to study ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, establish rate stability, develop local energy resources, support the local economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The study found that the development of a community energy system in Burlington would provide project partners with a platform to achieve their energy and environmental goals and invest in the greater good of the Burlington community. The proposed system in Burlington could capture thermal energy from the flue gas stream at the McNeil Generating Station. The energy recovered from the flue gas, along with energy extracted from the steam turbine, could be distributed through a hot water district energy system to the Burlington community. The McNeil Generating Station utilizes biomass as its primary fuel source which helps to provide customers with a more stable cost of energy when compared to natural gas.
Ever-Green Energy’s Role: Ever-Green Energy was selected to perform a feasibility analysis and implementation plan development, including examination of customer base, energy production options, and distribution routing which was completed 2014. During the study, Ever-Green analyzed the options for development and implementation of the system, market penetration and expansion, customer density, and available financial mechanisms. We also considered potential customer grids and the routing configurations that could be used to meet that customer need, based on load and density. The study concluded with a recommended initial district energy system customer base, the financial parameters needed to enable implementation to be financially viable, and the next steps needed to be taken to support implementation.
- Develop a community energy plan that is implementable.
- Provide customers with stable and competitive energy rates
- To the greatest extent possible, utilize local, renewable energy sources to support the development of energy independence
- Reduce the carbon footprint for the Burlington community – when it makes sense, go carbon free
- Improve the overall energy efficiency of the community
- Develop a system that reliably meets the needs of the community and that can adapt to changing energy supply
- Establish an initial customer base that makes implementation of a district energy system feasible
- Provide guidance for system financing and development
Stakeholders: BURDES Committee, Fletcher Allen Health Clinic, University of Vermont, City of Vermont, and Burlington Electric
Technologies Considered: Hot water district heating, combined heat and power, biomass fuel procurement and production, thermal storage, waste heat recovery