Mayor Miro Weinberger and Partners Announce District Energy System Ready for Act 250 State Permitting

Burlington, VT – Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger, along with Burlington Electric Department (BED) General Manager Darren Springer and VGS President & CEO of VGS Neale Lunderville, provided an update to the Burlington City Council on recent progress with the establishment of a District Energy System (DES). Following the completion of Phase 3 feasibility work this past summer and additional design and engineering work this past fall, the project is ready to advance to the State of Vermont Act 250 permitting process. Beginning the permitting process now is necessary to maintain its construction schedule.

“Burlington has among the most ambitious climate goals in the country, and meeting those goals will require innovative local strategies to dramatically lower emissions from our largest driver, thermal heating,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Generations of Burlington residents and leaders have recognized the opportunity of creating a District Energy System, and after 35 years of stops and starts, it is exciting to pass another key milestone in our steady progress toward bringing this project to life.”

“Today we announce another significant step forward in the effort to advance district energy in Burlington, by moving the project into state permitting for the first time,” said Darren Springer, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “With district energy, the McNeil wood chip plant would not only produce renewable electricity but also provide renewable steam to help reduce fossil fuel use and support progress towards our Net Zero Energy goal. It is important to note, however, that there remains substantial work ahead on the financing and pricing for the project before we can reach an ultimate ‘go’ decision. We offer our thanks to the University of Vermont Medical Center, University of Vermont, VGS, The Intervale Center, the McNeil Joint Owners, and Ever-Green Energy for their intensive work over the past several years on the current iteration of the district energy project.”

“Displacing fossil gas with alternative supply options, like the Burlington District Energy System, is a top climate priority for VGS,” said Neale Lunderville, President & CEO of VGS (Vermont Gas). “While there is still much work ahead to fully green light this project, advancing to environmental permitting is a big milestone and will help the project stay on schedule as the parties work diligently on outstanding items. We welcome this partnership as we work together toward the shared goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change.”

Next Steps for District Energy System

Burlington District Energy, a non-profit formed by Ever-Green Energy to manage and finance the DES in coordination with BED and other partners, is expected to make an Act 250 state permit submission for the project in mid-December 2022. In the first quarter of 2023, the project partners will work toward finalizing and evaluating project pricing. Steps will include receiving bids for construction, finalizing debt financing rates and structures, and entering fuel pricing agreements. Additional financial agreements among the project partners would be necessary to advance the project, which has a proposed construction start date as early as 2023.


  • The McNeil Generating Station’s original state permit from the 1980s references the opportunity to provide district heating, and as far back as 1994, BED has studied and evaluated the district energy opportunity for Burlington.
  • In 2018, BED, VGS, the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC), and the University of Vermont (UVM) engaged Ever-Green Energy to begin a series of feasibility analyses on a steam-based DES
  • In early 2020, Mayor Weinberger, BED, UVM Medical Center, and VGS announced a milestone step forward to enter Phase 2 of the updated District Energy System Project.
  • In early 2021, these stakeholders with Ever-Green announced another milestone step to sign a Letter of Intent to enter Phase 3 planning.
  • In the summer of 2022, BED provided an update to the Burlington City Council on the completion of Phase 3 feasibility work, and a letter of agreement among BED, the City, VGS, UVMMC, UVM, The Intervale Center, and Ever-Green Energy to guide additional development work on the project. Also at that time, the Administration sought and received Council approval for BED to accept a grant of $5.16 million in federal funds secured by Senator Patrick Leahy, and to create a 501(c)(3) to be run by EG Services, LLC (Ever-Green Energy) to manage the DES project development.


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Mayor's Office