100% of Power for Vermont City Now Renewable

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont’s largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water, and biomass.

With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of the 7.4-megawatt Winooski 1 hydroelectric project on the Winooski River at the city’s edge.

When it did, Burlington joined the Washington Electric Co-operative, which has about 11,000 customers across central and northern Vermont and which reached 100 percent earlier this year.

‘‘It shows that we’re able to do it, and we’re able to do it cost effectively in a way that makes Vermonters really positioned well for the future,’’ said Christopher Recchia, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service.

It’s part of a broader movement that includes a statewide goal of getting 90 percent of Vermont’s energy from renewable resources by 2050, including electricity, heating, and transportation. Across the state, Vermonters are urging their electric utilities to provide them with renewable sources of power, and the utilities are listening, Recchia said.

It’s also a growing movement across the country, as governments and businesses seek to liberate themselves from using power produced by environmentally harmful fossil fuels.

Diane Moss, the founding director of the Southern California-based Renewables 100 Policy Institute, said that she wasn’t sure if any other communities as large as Burlington — a city of 42,000 — have reached 100 percent but that many are working on it.

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Source: bostonglobe.com