Documents filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
Vermont citizens filed this petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate deceptive trade practices of Green Mountain Power (GMP), a Vermont utility. The complaint focuses on GMP marketing of renewable energy to Vermont consumers. The petition was filed by the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School.
This document, prepared by Campaign for Vermont, explains how the State of Vermont's aggressive effort to force utilities to buy very high cost electricity from solar, wind and small hydro dam developers, is driving up electric rates. The authors argue this ia a "misguided energy and economic policy." The executive summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on one of the links at the bottom of the page.
The Vermont Department of Public Service evaluated the economic consequences of The Vermont Energy Act of 2009 which established mandatory cost based prices for 50 MW of renewable energy technologies. The economic models run by the department found that the net gain in employment was found to be far less than conventionally thought with long term winners and losers by sector. Following an initial increase in temporary construction-related jobs long term employment averaged 13 full time jobs per year.
Memo from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Chairman, Paul Hibbard, to the ISO New England. Chairman Hibbard expresses his concerns over the push to regionalize costs for building expensive transmission lines to service renewable projects (wind) built far from load centers. Current FERC rules are unclear on how to justify distribution of the costs across all ratepayers within the region unless it can be shown such transmission is needed to ensure the reliability and integrity of the grid.
The Vermont Legislature has now passed S.209 with amendments objected to by Northeast Kingdom Senators Coppenrath, Kitchel, and Starr and by several other senators with industrial wind energy proposals in their districts. As Sen. Coppenrath noted in consideration of an amendment to S. 209, recorded in the Feb. 26, 2008 Journal of the Senate, "I vote No because, although there are many very good provisions in this bill, I believe that Section 25 clearly allows the destruction of our mountain tops and ridgelines while providing subsidies for wind developers at the expense of the Vermont resident property tax payers."
For those who think developers' feverish promotion of wind energy is about saving the planet, think again. The old adage follow the money explains their zeal much more than do its purported benefits. Worse, the enormous investment returns available to wind developers for an unreliable energy source that offers negligible emissions benefits stem largely from federal and state subsidies paid for by taxpayers and rate payers. Go figure.
This paper examines Vermont Public Interest Research Group’s (VPIRG) assertion that by 2015 industrial wind turbines on 8.8% (or 46 miles) of Vermont’s ridgelines above 2500 feet could provide 20% of Vermont’s electricity needs. (1) The examination compares VPIRG’s proposal- which is predicated on Vermont’s average electricity consumption- with the utility industry’s standard for measuring wind energy’s contribution to system reliability and peak demand. i.e. its capacity credit. This measurement concludes that for wind energy to provide the reliable generating capacity to meet 20% of Vermont’s peak demand industrial wind turbines would require 44% - 88% (or 226-451 miles) of Vermont’s ridgeline above 2500’.
The Update to the 2005 electric plan frames issues within the statutory directive provided by the legislature in 30 V.S.A. §202, which requires that the electric plan ensure, . . . to the greatest extent practicable, that Vermont can meet its energy service needs in a manner that is adequate, reliable, secure, and sustainable; that assures affordability and encourages the state’s economic vitality, the efficient use of energy resources and cost effective demand side management; and that is environmentally sound.
Vermont regional commissions are responsible for updating their respective 'plans' every five years. The Windham Regional Commission (WRC), comprised of representatives from the 27 towns in Windham County, submitted a draft of its updated plan for public comment in late June 2006. Given the prevailing public concerns regarding energy, the energy section of WRC's draft plan was of particular interest. Specifically, the Glebe Mountain Group, an incorporated non-profit organization that has been actively engaged in protecting Glebe Mountain from industrialization, felt is was imperative that industrial wind generation projects not be encouraged or accorded any presumption that they serve the public good. The Glebe Mountain Group's comments on the plan are attached as is the original 'draft' WRC plan. Some of the specific comments related to wind energy are extracted below as is the conclusion. These comments were fully endorsed by The Friends of Glebe Mountain, an unincorporated 100% volunteer group comprised of residents of and non-resident property owners in the towns of Londonderry and Windham.
This technical report was prepared for the Vermont Department of Public Service (VDPS) by GDS Associates, Inc and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Editor's Note: The complete report and accompanying power point presentation are available below.
Renewable energy sources have disadvantages as well as advantages, however. Although their costs have decreased in recent years, many renewables are still more costly than traditional sources. Some are also available only intermittently; for example, wind can be variable and hydroelectric is seasonal. And while many people are in favor of renewables in principle, many are also unhappy when faced with the prospect of a windmill or a trash-burning power plant in their neighborhood. These facilities face the same siting and investment difficulties that any electrical facility would, as the developers of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod have discovered in recent years.
...the MEA Report can be used to estimate the value (avoided emissions) of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) by providing both REC suppliers and stakeholders with information that can be used to communicate the environmental benefits of RECs and works to enhance the overall REC marketplace. Editor's Note: As noted below under Methodology [emphasis added], this report appears to substantiate the point that wind energy would not backdown "baseload" generation.
The ridgelines, once developed, are likely to remain developed as can so well be seen by the justification for the East Mountain and Little Mt. Equinox proposals: because the roads are already there. Roads are the principal harbingers of development. Once put in, and at great cost, it will be argued, even after the turbines are no long needed, that they be used for something else. We are talking about exchanging something priceless that should go to our children and grandchildren for the short term gain of something that can be had by other means. It is a matter of relative value and to me and many others, the ridgelines are priceless. It think most Vermonters, once they open their eyes to what is about to happen and realize the value of what they are about to lose, will agree.
Eric Rosenbloom, a resident of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, addresses why wind power does not live up to advocates' claims, why its impact on the environment and people's lives is far from benign and how money invested in wind energy could be better spent.
If you really want to cut energy consumption, reduce pollution, improve public health and protect our environment, it’s time to contact your elected officials, educate them about the lessons of Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, and tell them you want tougher energy efficiency measures instead of wind power plants. Otherwise, in the next few years, you’ll be looking at wind turbines in some of your favorite places, with the knowledge that they’re doing little more than funneling your tax dollars to a few lucky corporations and landowners, and away from better solutions.
This plan serves to help guide utilities in their own planning activities by establishing a standard of planning and analysis for utilities.
I was asked to review the prefiled testimony and exhibits of Matthew Rubin for the East Haven Windfarm and to provide an independent opinion regarding the claimed environmental benefits, estimated benefit values, project footprint and noise impacts and general wind project economic issues.
To help guide our own internal policy on wind energy, VNRC has developed a list of criteria that we feel is appropriate to consider for wind energy development. These criteria are not exclusive to state owned land, but rather focus on developing a vision for siting wind energy infrastructure in Vermont. We have included specific considerations for State lands as well. The goal is to integrate the need to develop new in-state sources of renewable energy with protection of existing environmental values and public policy goals.
Background and Purpose: Vermont’s energy needs are growing while its future energy sources remain uncertain. At the same time, Agency lands are under ever-increasing pressure to serve more uses and needs. Part of meeting Vermont’s future energy needs will likely involve development of additional renewable energy sources in Vermont. The role of Agency of Natural Resource (ANR) lands in accommodating wind energy and other renewable energy projects has been the subject of recent public debate and is the focus of this policy.
This presentation indicates that for New England the increasing demand for summer-time electricity is greater and increasing faster than winter-time demand. The fast-rising need for power in summer will likely result in construction of new power plants to keep ahead of demand - although inland industrial wind plants will not be able to contribute much to this demand period due to their very low capacity factor during summer months.