WHEREAS, it is unclear at this time whether the electric grid will be able to accommodate renewable generation projects in excess of 20% of the supply needs in Vermont without adverse effects, including voltage instability (which can cause significant damage to industrial equipment) and potential curtailments of lower cost base-load generation (as has been experienced in the Pacific Northwest and Texas);
WHEREAS, currently, VEC is approaching having 20% of its power portfolio being supplied by renewable resources, including First Wind's Sheffield project, Kingdom Community Wind and net metered and SPEED projects;
WHEREAS, no cost-effective storage solutions presently exist to enable larger penetrations of intermittent renewables, such as solar or wind projects;
WHEREAS, industrial-scale wind development has created an unhealthy division in communities that surround such projects, particularly since the current carbon footprint of electricity represents only 4% of the total Vermont carbon footprint; and
WHEREAS, a moratorium on wind projects, if not coupled with a moratorium on other renewable mandates, will limit renewable options for distribution utilities primarily to solar projects, which will certainly be more expensive, thus raising power costs for all members. For example, based on current technology and costs, if VEC were to meet the renewable goals set in the 2011 Vermont Comprehensive Energy plan without industrial-scale wind, VEC projects that its members could see an increase in electric rates of approximately 90%:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as follows:
The VEC Board of Directors recommends that the Vermont Legislature impose a moratorium for a period of two years effective on January 1, 2013, on further renewable power supply mandates or sooner if the grid instability, human health impacts, and cost issues have been addressed and a transition plan is in place that considers the cost and reliability impacts of moving to higher levels of renewable resources. VEC further recommends that a statewide panel be formed, representing all stakeholders - including utility customers - to create such a transition plan.