Renewable energy development has been at the forefront of John Zimmerman’s professional interests since the late 1970s when he designed and implemented Green Mountain Power’s (GMP), utility-scale wind power siting program – the first of its kind in the US utility industry.
In the 1980s, John co-founded GMP’s unregulated investment company, Mountain Energy, which was charged with placing equity and debt investments in non-regulated electric generation assets and energy efficiency projects throughout the US. In the 15 years that followed, John guided Mountain Energy’s growth through strategic planning, financial analysis and technical due diligence work needed for acquiring and selling renewable energy and energy efficiency assets from Hawaii to Maine.
John founded Vermont Environmental Research Associates (VERA), as an independent consultancy serving the needs of electric utilities, government agencies, private renewable power developers, and land owners. Under Mr. Zimmerman’s leadership, VERA has been a driving force for wind power development in the northeastern US, providing a full spectrum of wind power development services to meet clients’ needs efficiently and effectively. John’s familiarity with the broad range of economic and technical risks and opportunities confronting renewable power projects assures a pragmatic, well-rounded approach to project feasibility assessment and development and financing. Additionally, John has lead VERA to provide project management, specialized project development services, and expert witness testimony for permitting commercial scale solar and wind projects across the US.
Through his experience John is widely regarded as one of the region’s foremost wind power development experts, and his professional mark can be found on many projects in the northeastern US. Notable examples include the Managing the GMP’s participation in the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) respected Wind Turbine Verification Program (TVP) in the 1990s and early 2000’s. In the 2010s, John managed VERA’s participation in a multi-year wind turbine sound research study funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). He has presented at renewable industry conferences and state and utility renewable energy related research projects and events over the years.
In terms of specific wind project development work John managed and directly participated in the development of the Little Equinox pilot project in Manchester Vermont (0.2 MW, 1989-94), the Searsburg Wind Facility in southern Vermont (6 MW, operating continuously since 1997), the Deerfield project in southern Vermont (30 MW, operating since 2017), the Hoosac Wind Project in northwestern Massachusetts (30 MW, operating since 2012), the Granite Reliable Power Project in northern New Hampshire (99 MW, operating since 2011), Berkshire Wind Project in western Massachusetts (15 MW, operating since 2011), the Kingdom Community Wind Project in northern Vermont (63 MW, operating since 2012), the Georgia Mountain Community Wind Project in northwestern Vermont (10 MW, operating since 2012), the Holiday Hill Community Wind Project (5 MW, operating since 2019) in western Massachusetts, and many others.
Over the past several years, commercial scale solar PV has grown exponentially in the US and Vermont. VERA has contributed to this development through participation in the siting, development, and permitting of many net-metered solar facilities in Vermont. Specific examples include multiple 500 kW projects for the Vermont Department of Buildings & General Services, a 500-kW project at the Vermont Techincal College in Randolph, and over a dozen net-metered projects for private landowners throughout the state. John has provided analyses and expert testimony for larger solar facilities including the 2.2 MW Golden Solar project in St Johnsbury, VT.
John holds an Environmental Administration degree from Johnson State College and a Master’s in Business Administration degree specializing in finance from the University of Vermont.