BED-Owned Electricity Generation

Joseph C. McNeil Generating Station

The wood-fired McNeil Generating Station, located in Burlington's Intervale, can produce 50 megawatts of electricity. McNeil started operations in 1984, and is jointly owned by BED (operator and 50% owner), Green Mountain Power (31% owner), and Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (19% owner). Ninety-five percent of the wood comes from logging residue, such as bark and shavings or clean urban wood waste. At least 75% of the wood is delivered by rail, and most comes from within 60 miles of McNeil. BED employs professional foresters, who carefully monitor each harvest, improving growing conditions for the remaining trees.  For more information click here.


Winooski One Hydroelectric Generating Station

Winooski One is a 7.4 Mw hydroelectric facility located on the Winooski River between the cities of Burlington and Winooski. The flow of the Winooski River is directed into a powerhouse with three identical double-regulated Kaplan turbines, which drive synchronous generators, allowing for a highly efficient run-of-river operation. The average annual net output of 30 million kWh is fed directly into BED’s distribution system. An important citywide bond vote, which passed with 79% approval in 2013, allowed BED to acquire the Winooski One Hydroelectric Facility and finally reach its goal of sourcing 100% of its energy from renewable generation. For more information click here.

Airport Solar

BED’s sustainable energy portfolio took another step forward with our most recent construction of a 500 kW solar array on the roof of the Burlington International Airport parking garage that began commercial operations in February, 2015. This is the latest project in the City’s ongoing commitment to add  solar to its portfolio and brings Burlington’s installed solar photovoltaic to 81 projects generating 1.8 megawatts of power for the City.  Over the anticipated 30-year life of the project, BED expects to save $3.5 million in power costs, with an average of approximately $117,000 annually. The components of this solar array were sourced from American vendors and it was assembled by Vermonters.

The Gas Turbine

BED's gas turbine produces up to 25 MW and is primarily used as a peaking unit and in emergencies. It is located on Burlington's Waterfront. While the power is more expensive than average, the gas turbine can be on line in fewer than ten minutes and at full load in fewer than 15 minutes. This compares very favorably with most other generators. The gas turbine is able to start itself on internal battery power and to create AC power for internal and external use. This unit can produce enough electricity to cover about half of Burlington's average electric load. The gas turbine consists of two Rolls Royce gas turbine engines, two Worthington power turbine expansion units, and one common 30.5 MVAR ACEC air-cooled electric generator. The Rolls Royce engines are much like those found in older passenger and military aircraft. Maximum engine speed is 7,900 RPM, and corresponding fuel consumption is approximately 2,500 gallons per hour at full output. BED keeps a minimum of 24 hours’ worth of fuel available at all times. Other fuel can be delivered by tanker as needed while the unit is running.

The Wind Turbine

A small wind turbine, located at the Pine Street offices of BED, is a demonstration project designed to determine how much electricity can be generated from the wind at the lake-front site. It has been determined  that with a 25.3 mph wind speed the turbine will produce 50 kilowatts of electricity; with a 31 mph wind speed it will produce 66 kilowatts. Manufactured by Atlantic Orient Corporation of Norwich, VT, the wind turbine is a horizontal axis wind generator. The tower height is 82 feet to the center of the generator hub. The rotor diameter is 49.2 feet. Nominal rotor speed is 62 rpm. It has three fixed pitch blades that are 23.7 feet long, made of wood epoxy laminate construction. Each blade including the electrically actuated aluminum tip brake weighs 330 lbs. The blade tip speed is 113 mph. It is a free-wheeling yaw system, with a 360 degree rotation. The tower weight is 7,080 lbs. The weight of rotor and drive train is 5,450 lbs. It is designed for a 30-year life.