Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Vermont
The disagreement over Vineyard Wind’s waiver concerns a technicality in New England’s power markets. The company requested an exemption that would have allowed it to bypass a minimum offer price on subsidized energy resources that participate in the grid operator’s annual markets for reserve power. FERC agreed to a fix proposed by ISO New England that would allow Vineyard Wind to qualify for the exemption in the coming years.
Swanton Wind sought to have GMP buy power from the planned wind farm under prices established through PURPA; however, the pricing regime Swanton Wind applied under expired in September, 2016. Green Mountain Power fought that effort, saying that Swanton Wind filed its application too late. The Public Service Board agreed,
A wind-energy company is so desperate for federal subsidies, it will give part of them to citizens. ...Earlier this month, Spanish energy company Iberdrola announced that it plans to distribute about $565,000 per year among 815 registered voters in the two towns. The payments would continue for 25 years.
Wind projects take longer to develop than solar, and they can face stiff opposition from the public. And experts say the federal tax credits that are keeping the solar industry on track have been uncertain for wind developers for some time.
Parenteau and the petitioners don’t deny that GMP has constructed significant renewable energy projects. But they say the utility is selling so-called “credits” for that green power to high-paying customers out of state – mainly utilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The stuff Vermonters are paying for? Parenteau says it’s the dirty “brown” energy produced by coal, gas and nuclear plants elsewhere on the New England grid.
Big Wind, and the renewable industrial complex generally, has mounted a frantic lobbying campaign to get Congress to pass the “extender” bill to revive the expired provisions to enable more Big Wind money making.
One of the nation’s top renewable energy suppliers said it will no longer trade Vermont’s renewable energy credits that are also counted toward the state’s clean energy target. “It is a fundamental principle of all renewable energy market sales that the environmental characteristics associated with the electric energy generated cannot be counted or claimed twice,” NextEra Energy said.
"Subsidies for renewables make sense only if they're achieving a societal benefit," said staff attorney Ed McNamara in a handwritten note on one draft report. "Without retirement of RECs, the only societal benefit of Vermont's program is economic development (and through) an inefficient method."
Newark residents gave their selectboard a resounding go-ahead to spend as much as needed on legal costs to prevent two wind companies from developing the Seneca Mountain Wind project ...Not too far down the road, the towns of Lowell and Sheffield voted to reduce their tax rates with revenues from utility-scale wind developments.
At annual Town Meeting last March, taxpayers voted on an estimated amount the town would receive in supplemental payments from the newly-operating wind project run by First Wind of Boston. The figure was an estimate and because of a shortfall, the town had to transfer $17,240.54 from a reserve CD to the budget to cover the difference.
The PSB recommends that the renewable energy credits be retired - and not re-sold to polluting power companies. The board says that because RECs are sold in the regional market, utilities in other states can use them to offset their own emissions.
Prior to this year, many wondered how renewable energy projects, such as the solar array at the Southern Vermont Energy Park, would be taxed. In 2010, legislation was passed that called for the Public Service Department to study the issue, and the law based on that study went into effect this year.
The state's largest employer, IBM, is a little happier with the new version of the bill. The last-minute maneuvering gave the company a better guarantee that rates won't go up dramatically as a result of renewable initiatives. Janet Doyle said the company pays $36 million a year in electricity rates. The original energy bill would have driven up costs another $4 million.
Green Mountain Power doesn't have to worry about the cost-effectiveness of its project. It will sell the power to its customers ...The cost, however ridiculous it may be, will be added to its cost of service. The Public Service Board will let GMP add a 9 percent profit margin, and send out the bills.
Vermont's second largest electric utility is going to pay the town of Lowell between $13 million and $15 million over the next 25 years in exchange for support of a wind-power project. ...The size of the payments each year will depend on how much power is the turbines generate.
Friends and neighbors, I write as a Clarendon resident, and not in my role as Select Board chairman. The people of Clarendon and the towns surrounding it are trying to understand what the Vermont Community Wind Farm project is all about. What will it mean for us? What impacts will it have on us? Why here and now? What has brought trouble to our town's doorstep is "easy" money.
Sen. Jane Kitchel led an initiative to insert a special $200,000 appropriation in the most recent state budget. The money will be spent to hire special appraisers to update the value of the TransCanada dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers. ...It's another example of an interesting double standard in the Vermont legislature.
It's interesting to learn that Burlington has agreed to buy more than half of the power that the Sheffield wind farm, if and when it is built, produces. Another way to look at it is that, since the profit in a wind farm derives entirely from the public subsidies that will fill the pockets of the owners, the rest of us will be subsidizing with our tax dollars the citizens of Burlington. Talk about ironies. Burlington and Chittenden County are frequently and derisively referred to as "The Socialistic Republic of Vermont," Now it is coming true. Our tax dollars will heat and light them.
Town officials and UPC Wind, the developer behind a 16-tower wind farm in Sheffield, have negotiated a new agreement on what UPC will pay the town. ...The new plan is partly an attempt to forestall the possibility of lower payments, if the state Legislature passes a law, as expected, that, among other things, would change how wind projects are taxed in Vermont. Under the new agreement between UPC and Sheffield, signed Wednesday, UPC will pay the town $520,000 a year. Some of that will go directly to pay property taxes on the development. The rest will be paid into a fund set up by the town.
Being close to a windmill lowers the value of a property, says Derby's Board of Civil Authority (BCA). After inspecting property belonging to George and Doris Buzzell, the board decided to lower its appraised value by 10 percent from $242,300 to $227,600. ...According to the minutes of recent BCA meetings, the Buzzells objected to the recent revaluation of their property on Ridgehill Drive off Shattuck Hill Road. The couple was represented at meetings on October 29 and November 7 by Trevor Evans and Raymond Toolan. Mr. Toolan argued that noise and light from a windmill within 300 feet of the Buzzells' house lessens the home's value. The Buzzells say noises, vibrations and lights from the windmill, owned by Senator Vince Illuzzi and located on his property, interfere with the enjoyment of their home. Mr. Buzzell's "quality of living is far different today than when he purchased the property," Mr. Toolan said.