Disrupted Energy – the world's first city to run on 100% renewable energy

Burlington, Vermont, USA becomes the world’s first city run on renewable energy

It had to come – perhaps a lot earlier than many skeptics expected, and it’s not a future prediction – it happened last autumn/fall.

Vermont started the process in the 1980s when it shut down its last coal fired station and replaced it with a biomass power station.


According to an article from Fastcoexist,“Now the city runs on a mix of biomass, wind, solar, hydro, a little bit of landfill gas, and a few other renewable sources. At a given time, if the renewable plants aren’t producing enough power, the utility might buy traditional power. But they also produce and sell enough extra green power that, over the course of a year, the total is 100% renewable.

“Even though the utility is paying more for green energy than it would for something like coal, costs haven’t gone up for residents. Burlington uses complicated accounting to make that possible, selling renewable energy credits to utilities in places like Massachusetts, which has state laws requiring certain renewable power goals. When utilities can’t actually meet those goals, they buy certificates from a place like Vermont.

“‘We might sign a contract with a wind project and agree to pay them 10 cents a kilowatt hour,’ Nolan explains. ‘We’d then sell the renewable energy credit to the utility in Massachusetts for five cents a kilowatt hour, and that effectively makes the cost of the wind power look like five cents to us.’

“The city then turns around and buys cheaper renewable credits from somewhere else. It’s a somewhat messy process that some people criticize—if a utility in Massachusetts can buy credit for renewable power without actually using it, that state isn’t really making progress toward its goal. But as the price of renewables keeps going down, Burlington may not have to sell credits anymore.Of course as new battery technology becomes mainstream it won’t be long before Vermont is practically a 100% green energy producer with excess energy being sold back to the US grid.”