Stowe Electric Department has received the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Energy Innovator Award (EIA) for its ongoing partnership with the University of Vermont (UVM). The EIA honors utilities that have developed or applied creative techniques and technologies to improve the efficient delivery of energy services in their communities through the implementation of new projects and programs. Awards recognize creativity, resource efficiency, benefits to consumers, transferability, and project scope in relation to utility size. Awards were presented at APPA’s National Conference in Seattle, Washington on June 20, 2023. Stowe Electric began its partnership with UVM in 2021 to offer college seniors a capstone project research site and has hosted students each fall and spring since. Over the last several years, students have provided a range of reports and implementation plans for Stowe Electric on river ecology, hydropower, solar, structural engineering, transportation planning, and historic preservation.
The Stowe Electric/UVM partnership provides students with the opportunity to research and propose creative solutions to a variety of challenges the utility is facing in its major, multi-year project to revitalize the historic 1822 Seaver Sawmill site located on Stowe Electric’s Moscow Village campus. This project consists of multiple phases, with UVM students contributing research and site studies that impact overall project planning.
Project components encompass resiliency, renewable energy generation, equitable access for low-income households, community engagement, historic restoration, economic development, energy demonstration projects, and village revitalization.
Through this innovative partnership with UVM, Stowe Electric has been able to provide valuable educational experiences for students while receiving important input and research that helps lay the groundwork for implementation of our multi-phase revitalization plan for the Moscow Village parcel. The work produced for Stowe Electric by UVM students has made significant contributions to the utility’s decision-making, community engagement, staff training, and workforce development. The students have provided alternatives and options to proposed design plans completed by consultants, which helps staff evaluate a range of design solutions. This improves decision-making without increasing consultant fees paid out by ratepayers. Students engage directly with consulting firms in Vermont that may provide career opportunities after graduation.
The work provided by the UVM students has been vitally important to Stowe Electric’s planning process. The utility has been able to leverage the partnership with UVM to draw national attention to its project, which has resulted in several grants, a congressional earmark of $1.2MM from Senator Sanders, multiple site visits from members of Vermont’s congressional delegation, as well as technical support from Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship funded by Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education to assist with Stowe Electric’s efforts.
Since 1911, Stowe Electric Department has provided reliable electricity and superior service to the community of Stowe, Vermont. Serving approximately 4,500 residential and commercial customers, Stowe Electric is committed to supplying safe, reliable, resilient electric service at a fair price while providing outstanding customer service and support. Information about Stowe Electric’s Moscow Mills Revitalization Project can be found at www.StoweElectric.com/mill.