July 27, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 8:04 pm

Vermont Electric OKs $12M transmission upgrade

Members of the Vermont Electric Cooperative voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in favor of a $12 million transmission line upgrade that will link the utility's customers with a mountaintop wind project in Lowell, The Associated Press reports.

The vote was 5,340 in favor, 1,379 against.

The transmission project calls for 17 miles of transmission line, substations and other equipment between Lowell and Jay, carrying power from Kingdom Community Wind.

The vote was seen by some observers as a kind of referendum on the $150 million wind project being developed by Green Mountain Power Corp., a Colchester-based utility that provides electricity to a quarter of the state.

Green Mountain Power will pay $7 million of the cost of the upgrade. Vermont Electric will pay the rest.

More than 33,000 members of the Vermont Electric Cooperative were eligible to vote on the transmission line upgrade, and most of those who voted did so by mail-in ballots. In-person voting was held Tuesday in a truck bay at the cooperative's headquarters in Johnson.

Green Mountain Power, which serves about 90,000 customers, is owned by Northern New England Energy Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of leading Quebec energy company Gaz Metro, its website says.

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