Articles filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Vermont
At least 200 Barton residents shouted a loud NO! to power generating towers in Barton and in Sheffield at a public meeting last week. The meeting was called to figure out a way to change Barton's Town Plan to remove any approving reference to wind tower generation in town. The theme of the meeting was that wind towers on Barton's and neighboring ridgelines would grossly disfigure the beauty of the town and of Crystal Lake. Liz Butterfield, owner of the Barton Village Corner Store said it all. "This petition basically reinforces that we don't want to look at the (towers) at the end of Crystal Lake, and we don't want the construction coming through. And in the future, we don't want wind development in the town of Barton. I think a 420-food wind tower at the end of a state park (Crystal Lake State Park) is a travesty."
The PSB attached a number of conditions to their approval of the project. As the Ridge Protectors, a group of people who have opposed the project for years, say, the attached conditions contain potential deal breakers and they intend to fight the actual project to the bitter end. We are with them. The Sheffield voters, when they approved the project for an entirely illusory tax benefit, sold the Northeast Kingdom's birthright for a mess of pottage. Assuming The Ridge Protectors prevail and the project is stopped, these same voters, when they discover the taste of pottage, will be thanking them.
MONTPELIER -- Without a word of debate or even a roll call, the Senate voted Wednesday for a bill designed to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy, along with an increase in the state's tax on Vermont Yankee to pay for it. The tax on Vermont Yankee's electric generation would claim $25 million from the nuclear power plant's owner, Entergy Corp., between 2009 and 2012. The House is expected to vote on the bill Friday, when it's likely to face debate......The plan would tax Vermont Yankee's power generation from a rate of $.00225 per kilowatt-hour in 2009, $.0025 in 2010 and $.003 in 2011. Wind power projects would be charged at the same rates. That's a rate wind developers sought and praised. "The wind energy property tax set in the bill is good for Vermont because it will encourage wind farm investments here, which the state needs to have a clean energy future," said Adam Necrason, lobbyist for Renewable Energy Vermont.
MONTPELIER -- House members offered up a different proposed tax Tuesday to pay for an energy-efficiency program -- one that still focuses on Vermont Yankee but in a way that proponents say should defuse complaints about an earlier Senate plan to tax some of the nuclear power plant's profits. The new plan nonetheless drew fire from the plant's owner, Entergy Corp., and the Douglas administration. The proposal would tax Entergy at just over one-half cent per kilowatt hour on the amount of power it generates at the Vernon plant. That would amount to about $25 million a year, a hefty increase from the $4.5 million Entergy now pays.......Wind developers don't like the rate of just over one-half cent per kilowatt hour proposed by the House, saying it is high enough to discourage developers from coming to Vermont. Andrew Perchlik of Renewable Energy Vermont Inc. said three-tenths of a cent is more fair.
So, to avoid a long and uncertain political and legal battle, Entergy, the state's lowest cost, most reliable energy producer, agreed to pay the state's new Clean Energy Fund as much as $28 million over the next seven years. The state will use the money to subsidize VPIRG's favorite renewable energy projects, chief among which are legions of already-subsidized 420-foot wind turbine towers marching along Vermont's mountain ridges.
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.
By one thin vote, the Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to taxing some of Vermont Yankee's profits to pay for an energy-efficiency program. Critics of the tax, which passed 15-14, took turns calling it arbitrary, capricious, predatory and unnecessary. The tax on the nuclear power plant's unexpected increase in profits is the most controversial part of a larger bill that supporters say will help Vermonters use less heating fuel and encourage development of renewable energy.
BENNINGTON - A plan to tax Yankee Nuclear to fund the expansion of Efficiency Vermont has drawn opposition from a local legislator who has vowed to fight it, calling the proposal "dirty politics." Rep. Joseph L. Krawczyk Jr., R-Bennington, said the funding source proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Windham, which will cost Vermont Yankee about $37 million dollars over the next five years, is ill-advised and irresponsible. "This is dirty politics," said Krawczyk. "We should be doing policy but we're playing politics."
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.
MONTPELIER - Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin wants Entergy Nuclear, which owns the Vermont Yankee power plant, to pay to reduce Vermont's contribution to global warming by funding a program to make the heating of buildings in the state more efficient. The company has, or will, earn "windfall" profits because of increased energy prices and new government programs and agreements, Shumlin said. A portion of those profits should be used to fund anti-climate-change programs that Shumlin hopes will be a centerpiece of this year's legislative session. "We think that is both fair and appropriate," Shumlin said. "This tax will not cost Vermont ratepayers one penny."
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 Vermont House has endorsed a new policy that advocates say would encourage development of wind energy projects. The policy would tax the wind generators based on the amount of power they produce instead of taxing them on their fair-market value as real estate. Advocates say that makes their annual tax predictable and makes financing of the projects easier. They do argue with the rate set by the House. Lawmakers set it at a half-penny for every kilowatt hour produced. But advocates say it should be a third of a penny. The renewable energy bill containing the wind tax won preliminary approval today and is due for final debate in the House tomorrow. Then it will be taken up in the Senate, where advocates hope to lower the tax rate.
Attacking global climate change was at the top of lawmakers' agenda Wednesday, but they had mixed success in making progress on their marquee issue. Two key House committees were at odds about how to tax wind energy projects, arguing throughout the day and slowing action on a larger bill designed to promote renewable energy. But a third House committee advanced another provision of the initiative, which its advocates said would address one of the state's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions: car and truck exhausts.
Most industries don't like new taxes, but developers of wind energy projects welcomed one Thursday that would be imposed on their turbines. They just weren't crazy about the rate established in a bill that was endorsed by the House. They said they were glad the proposal would offer predictability about what their tax bills would be from one year to the next, but they would seek a lower rate when the bill is considered in the Senate. "It's a tax certainty," said Andrew Perchlik, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont. "It allows wind farmers to know exactly what their tax is going to be. We feel the number the House is coming up with is too high."
The latest chapter in the ongoing controversy of siting turbines on Vermont ridge line is unfolding in the House as lawmakers wrangle over setting a tax rate that wind farms will pay into the education fund. At the heart of the debate is how far the state should go in using taxes as an incentive to spur wind development.
Those who build large houses in Vermont could face hefty state fees if some lawmakers succeed in their efforts. Under the Senate version of the proposed law, those who put up new houses larger than 4,000 square feet would be charged unless their buildings were energy efficient. A similar bill likely to be introduced soon in the House is even tougher. Fees assessed under it on such large houses will go directly to a fund promoting renewable energy production in the state.
WINHALL, Vt. -- The Stratton Mountain Resort has committed to offsetting 100 percent of its energy usage during the next three years through the purchase of renewable energy credits. The resort will pay a premium on top of its regular electric bill to support the development of renewable energy around the country.
LUDLOW— When it comes to addressing the worldwide problem of greenhouse gas emissions, Okemo Mountain Resort Owner Tim Mueller said, you've got to start somewhere. That's why Mueller and wife, Diane, are purchasing enough renewable energy certificates from Sterling Planet, a retail renewable energy provider, to power all the electrical needs of their three ski resorts, which include Okemo, Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado and Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire.
Beware, Washington voters — wind power is too good to be true. Approving the November ballot initiative [I-937] won't solve a thing. The current hype over wind power's credentials as a "clean and renewable" source of energy is belied by wind power's Achilles' heel — its intermittency. This fundamental flaw limits both wind energy's capacity value and its impact on emissions.
Wind-energy certificates will also offset power use at Tim and Diane Mueller's ski areas in Vermont and New Hampshire.