Articles filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
Simply polling residents about a complicated topic like whether the state's utilities should buy power from wind projects, nuclear power, Hydro-Quebec of any of the other sources of electricity available when the current contracts expire would prove of limited benefit, experts and officials decided. So instead the "public engagement process" requested by the Legislature and created by the department will have three parts. In all it is expected to cost roughly $520,000. The heart of the process will consist of deliberative polling, in which roughly 200 Vermonters selected from a telephone poll of 5,000 candidates will spend a weekend hearing from experts about power sources from wind to coal. Their responses to the worthiness of different possible energy sources - and the expected cost of each - will then be part of a report that will give utilities and policy makers guidance as they seek new supplies. Also included in that study will be the results of five meetings from around the state on energy supply issues, which will include polling of those attending. Finally there will be an Internet site that will also gather information on Vermonters' preferred electricity sources.
SWANTON - Tom Salmon spoke at length of the state's recent history of finding practical energy solutions Thursday, including details of his tenure as the state's governor in the mid ‘70s. When he was finished talking about the past, Salmon offered an emphatic solution for the state's future: keep the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Salmon, speaking during an energy forum at the Swanton Industrial Park, said Vermont Yankee has been a great source of energy for the state since its inception in 1972, and should be considered for renewal when its current contract expires in 2012. The forum was one of three sponsored by the Vermont Energy Partnership, the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery and the Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation. "Vermont Yankee is not the enemy my friends," the former governor said. "Vermont Yankee does not contribute to global warming."
MONTPELIER - With doubts growing about their ability to override a veto of key energy legislation, the Legislature's Democratic leaders on Tuesday offered to drop from it one of Gov. Jim Douglas' least favorite provisions: the tax increase on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Douglas wasn't buying it.
This year's massive energy bill hasn't yet reached Gov. James Douglas' desk, but supporters and opponents of the legislation are already putting a lot of energy into preparation for a likely July veto override vote. That vote will determine the fate of a tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, a proposed heating fuels efficiency program and a host of other energy issues. It may also become a test of wills between advocates and Democratic leaders in the Legislature on one hand and Douglas and industry heavy hitters on the other.
MONTPELIER -- When the Legislature adjourned May 12 and set a July 11 date for a possible veto session, Gov. Jim Douglas said he thought it was a typographical error. It was no error. Members will return July 11 to consider a promised gubernatorial veto of an energy bill. That date will be the latest the Legislature has ever held a veto session. It will also make for an unprecedented hiatus -- a full two months -- between the end of the regular session and the veto session. Last year was more typical -- the Legislature adjourned May 10 and set a June 1 veto session that didn't end up being used.............One bill that Douglas said he will definitely veto is the Legislature's cornerstone energy bill, which would establish an energy-efficiency utility and offer incentives for renewable energy such as wind, hydro and solar power. Douglas takes issue with the energy-efficiency portion, a large part of which would be paid for with an increased tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
The House also approved a controversial compromise energy bill Friday afternoon, but it may well face a veto by the governor. Although the bill won easily in the House - it was approved by a vote of 85-61 - mustering the two-thirds support to override that veto would seem unlikely. In fact, some lawmakers said they might not return during the summer to attempt to override that veto, and instead take the matter up when they return for the regular session in January. The compromise bill agreed to by the House and Senate would impose roughly $25 million in additional power generation taxes on Entergy Nuclear, the parent company of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, between now and 2012. Future wind power projects would be taxed at a similar per-kilowatt rate, instead of regular state property taxes, a measure which wind power developers requested to provide a predictable tax rate.
An energy bill that is the centerpiece of the Legislature's work this session cleared the House by more than enough votes Friday afternoon, but not with enough votes to clear a likely veto from the governor. Representatives bantered back and forth for about three hours, lauding the merits of energy efficiency and renewable energy, but disagreeing about the wisdom of a tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant that would pay for the efficiency measures. They voted 85-61 for the bill, mostly along party lines. Gov. Jim Douglas wouldn't directly say Friday night whether he would veto the bill, but said, "I think everybody understands my view on raising taxes we don't need."
While nuclear power remains unpopular with many in the home county of Vermont Yankee, there are new efforts underway to ensure that the state's only nuclear power station not only keeps pumping out electrons, but that nuclear power is potentially a greater portion of the state's energy portfolio. Supporters of increased nuclear power say Vermont, and anti-nuclear activists, are ignoring many of the benefits the fuel source provides in terms of reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and a stable supply of electricity. Nuclear supporters also point to a sort of "nuclear renaissance" around the globe, including the commitment in the United States to build six new 500-1,000 megawatt reactors, the result of an energy bill passed by Congress in 2005.
But there is an answer for Vermont's energy future, with or without nuclear energy, and it would help keep Vermont the number one least polluting state in the country and the number sixth most desirable tourist location in the world. The answer is hydropower.
MONTPELIER - The Senate very narrowly approved a tax Tuesday on revenue earned by Entergy, the company that owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, to pay for a program to reduce the use of heating fuels in the state. The "all fuels" efficiency program to help pay for weatherization and other heating fuel saving measures has become one of the most contentious issues in the Statehouse this year. The tax was passed along with preliminary approval of the Senate's entire energy and anti-global warming bill Tuesday was by a vote of 18-11. The real fight, however, was whether to accept the proposed 35 percent tax on revenue gained by Entergy from the operation of the Vermont Yankee plant. That attempt passed by a 15-14 vote.
With arbitrary enactment of the Shumlin tax, Vermont would send a negative message out to all businesses considering expansion or relocation to the state, while jeopardizing the amount of no emission carbon power it receives, at attractive prices. This would be both unfortunate, unnecessary, and clearly not the Vermont way. Shumlin should end the shakedown of Vermont Yankee now.
A grass roots coalition of nearly 100 citizens from New York, Vermont, and other states have filed a federal Anti-Trust Complaint alleging that an international cartel comprised of foreign and domestic business entities have conspired to eliminate competition in the newly emerging U.S. wind energy sector.
MONTPELIER - The vote Thursday was 138-8 on the House's energy bill. Masquerading behind that peaceful, easy vote was a contentious off-stage fight. A series of negotiations in recent days narrowly averted a very public fight on the House floor that would have featured Democrats disagreeing with Democrats on the value of wind power. That's just what Democratic House leaders wanted to avoid. This issue, after all, was a priority for the legislative session.
The words "global warming" never appear in H. 520. Climate change is mentioned just once in S. 94. Yet, both bills are at least partly the product of three weeks of testimony on those issues. Listening to that testimony in January, Sen. Virginia Lyons said one thing stuck out: The easiest way to save energy was through efficiency. "That was a very loud and clear message from Day 1, and it resonated," said Lyons, a Chittenden County Democrat who chairs the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee. "I had an inkling it was a low-hanging fruit."
The Vermont state legislature committee on Natural Resources and Energy introduced a bill to the House on March 15 relating to the conservation of energy and the generation of electricity in the state through renewable resources. In addition to proposing a goal of producing 25% of the state's energy with renewable energy sources by 2025, the bill seeks to establish a "wind-based electric generation facility tax." Furthermore, a revision has been included in the bill to allow net metering for systems up to 250 kW and to set a 2% cap on the amount of net-metered energy companies must accommodate.
A truly "bold," environmentally conscious state would go nuclear even more. Burlington will only really be the "best of" Green Places when local postcards show its charming leafy streets, with a view of Lake Champlain -- and a nuclear power plant looming in the background.
Industrial wind turbine facilities are not only a visual insult, they degrade and fragment wildlife habitat, they threaten bats and birds, they open up wild areas to sprawl with roads and transmission lines, and, as wind energy consultant John Zimmerman has said, "wind turbines don't make good neighbors."
What are your thoughts on wind power in Vermont and how it affects recreation? Local authors and outdoor enthusiasts Kirk Kardashian and Stephen Gorman make the arguments for and against windpower in Vermont.
This is a story about two men who forged a friendship at a nuclear power plant protest and then went on to collaborate on several sustainable energy projects, including three of the best known modern hydro projects in Vermont, over a 30-year period. Recently, the two separately embarked on wind projects in New York and Vermont. The fate of these projects couldn’t be more different: The New York wind turbines will be built this summer, while the East Haven Wind Farm in the Northeast Kingdom is effectively dead.
The current craze for wind towers is just that--a craze. Understandably, we are concerned about carbon emissions and energy security. Wind towers are a visible symbol that we are attempting to do something. Unfortunately, they are a hollow symbol. Like Don Quixote, we are obsessed by windmills, except that instead of attacking them, we are building them. Fifty miles of wind towers crowning Vermont's ridgelines will cost residents and taxpayers a fortune, but they will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions or secure energy supplies. We should put our money and our effort into less damaging and more productive solutions, such as conservation and the development of clean coal technology.