Library filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
The business groups argue that halting the surcharges would provide some rate relief to both commercial and residential customers at a time when many are having financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. “We’re not looking to decimate these programs, but we are saying, ‘We’ve got to take a breather,’” said Doug Gablinske, executive director of the Energy Council of Rhode Island, which represents large energy users.
A bill that would make utilities buy more electricity from local, renewable sources has strong backing from Vermont’s solar industry. But some utilities and the Scott administration are concerned that the new requirements will lead to rate hikes, especially in the state’s poorest regions.
But the bill’s call to double — from 10 percent to 20 percent — the amount of renewable energy that utilities would have to purchase from new Vermont sources like solar seemed to be a bridge too far for some senators. ...Officials from Vermont Electric Power Company, which manages the state’s electric power distribution, estimated it could cost $900 million to upgrade the grid with enough battery storage to handle the jump to 20 percent renewables.
Seven U.S. senators from New England on Monday urged ISO-NE to “return to the table with stakeholders” and more closely align its fuel security initiative with state policies seeking to speed the transition to renewable energy resources.
When Vermont policymakers discuss the state’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, the consensus is that the electric sector is doing pretty well.
A Vermont policy meant to steer solar projects away from undeveloped and agricultural land appears to be working two years after it was implemented. Solar developers under the rules can earn a premium rate by building smaller projects sited on landfills, sandpits and other less desirable properties.
A boom in renewable energy around New England has led to higher rates for a small Vermont utility. The reason has to do with the declining value of an energy commodity know as "renewable energy credits."
Vermont is falling short of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate renewable energy, according to the Energy Action Network.
FERC approved ISO-NE’s two-stage capacity auction to accommodate state renewable energy procurements, with Commissioner Robert Powelson dissenting and Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick leveling new criticism on the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) (ER18-619).
New England’s power grid is in good shape now and home solar and energy efficiency efforts mean the region’s annual demand for electricity is projected to decline, according to the grid’s operators. But there are also problems ahead.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - How loud wind turbines can run has been whipping up debate for years.
The committee is reviewing a proposal drafted by the Public Utility Commission, which regulates energy projects in Vermont. PUC Commissioner Margaret Cheney and staff members defended the proposed noise standards before lawmakers at the Statehouse. They said they strike a balance between desirable wind energy and the health of Vermonters who would be subject to the low-middle frequency sounds emanating from machines nearly 500-feet tall.
Representatives of five transmission projects proposed in July in response to the Massachusetts solicitation for 9.45 TWh/year of hydro and Class I renewables (wind, solar or energy storage) tried to explain why their projects should be among those selected in January. Contracts awarded under the MA 83D request for proposals are to be submitted in late April.
The committee’s charge is rather to ask a fairly narrow set of questions about a rule, Benning said, including whether it meets the intent of the legislation that enabled it, whether the rule is arbitrary, and whether its potential economic effects are adequately described. Benning said he’s satisfied the rule meets all these criteria.
Rather, said CEO Christine Hallquist, the explosion of such projects in that region has overwhelmed the utility’s distribution network to the point that wind turbines are already being forced on some days to curtail energy production in order not to overload the grid.
A key aspect Act 174 is that it allows regions and municipalities more influence over siting wind, solar, hydro or other energy facilities during the Public Service Board permitting process, if they have a certified plan in place.
During the meeting, the most contentious issue was the setback provision, which sets the distance between turbines and homes at 10 times the height of the turbine. Also discussed were proposed decibel sound limits of 39 dBA (A-weighted decibels) at night and 42 dBA during the day. By the end of the morning, the committee voted to push the deadline for adopting new rules back to October.
It's all likely to prove academic, since LCAR is almost certain to vote down the rules sometime after leaf-peeping season. At that point, the PSB would have to resume work on a new set of rules. Given the fact that the board and the Scott administration take a dim view of ridgeline wind and most legislators are in favor of renewable energy including wind, it's going to be very tricky to find a set of rules acceptable to all parties.
The DPS requested that the board “reject the proposed sound monitoring protocol and require Deerfield Wind to submit a revised protocol” that includes the department’s suggested changes. The department’s stance was echoed by the Wind Action Group and Thomas Shea, who owns property in Searsburg and is an intervenor in the project permit process.
But Scott believes Vermont can do its part on climate change without wind turbines on scenic ridgelines. He is sticking to a campaign pledge to seek a moratorium on large wind energy projects.