Energy & Environment

Utility commission denies GlobalFoundries’ request to become its own self-managed utility

GlobalFoundries exterior
GlobalFoundries' offices Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

Vermont’s Public Utility Commission has denied GlobalFoundries’ request to become a self-managed utility, which would have exempted the company from the state’s climate laws

Last April, the international semiconductor manufacturing company filed a petition with the commission to make its Essex Junction facility, called “Fab 9,” an independent energy utility. 

Rather than purchasing energy from Green Mountain Power, GlobalFoundries would have bought its energy from the regional wholesale market, processing it through its own conductors. 

GlobalFoundries is the largest private-sector employer in the state. It uses 8% of the state’s electricity — more than the city of Burlington. 

Vermont’s renewable energy standard requires the state’s utilities to purchase an increasing amount of energy from renewable sources. The state’s 2020 Global Warming Solutions Act requires Vermont to meet certain emissions reductions in the coming years. The resulting Climate Action Plan recommends that the state pass legislation that would require utilities to get 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. 

In its request to become its own utility, GlobalFoundries sought to free itself from the renewable energy standard. The Public Utility Commission ruled that it doesn’t have the authority to provide that exemption. 

“The Commission’s authority to regulate certain aspects of GlobalFoundries’ proposal does not confer on us the authority to release GlobalFoundries entirely from Vermont’s retail distribution utility model and allow its operation as a self-managed utility not subject to the (renewable energy standard),” the order says. 

GlobalFoundries could move forward, but it will need to do so within the bounds of the renewable energy standard unless the Legislature allows a specific exemption for the company, the order says. GlobalFoundries will need to notify the commission of its decision by mid-March.

Gina DeRossi, a spokesperson for GlobalFoundries, said the company is “disappointed with the decision and are now in the process of assessing the impact and next steps.”

“The PUC made the right call today,” Chase Whiting, a staff attorney for the Vermont Conservation Law Foundation, said in a statement. “Allowing GlobalFoundries to skirt the state’s climate laws would set us back years in reaching our pollution reduction goals. This would be nothing more than an illegal loophole for a wealthy corporation, and officials saw right through it.”

Don't miss a thing. Sign up here to get VTDigger's weekly email on the energy industry and the environment.


Did you know VTDigger is a nonprofit?

Our journalism is made possible by member donations. If you value what we do, please contribute and help keep this vital resource accessible to all.

Emma Cotton

About Emma

Emma Cotton is a Report for America corps member who covers the environment, climate change, energy and agriculture. Previously, she covered Rutland and Bennington counties for VTDigger, wrote for the Addison Independent and served as assistant editor of Vermont Sports and VT Ski + Ride magazines. Emma studied marine science and journalism at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Email: [email protected]

Send us your thoughts

VTDigger is now accepting letters to the editor. For information about our guidelines, and access to the letter form, please click here.


Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Utility commission denies GlobalFoundries’ request to become its ow..."
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.