Library filed under General from Vermont
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.
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.
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."
New England Energy Alliance Survey Finds Consumer Concern about Future Electricity Supplies, Desire to Choose Electricity Supplier and Support for Addressing Global Warming
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 - 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."
HINESBURG -- It may be a hall of learning, but Hinesburg's Carpenter-Carse Library building will soon become an educational showcase, with or without the books. This June, a small wind turbine will be installed in Hinesburg's Geprags Park that will power the library. The 2.5 kilowatt-hour turbine will be installed by Earth Turbines, a business recently founded by David Blittersdorf, founder of NRG Systems. The difference between the two businesses, Blittersdorf said, is NRG works on large-scale, wind-power projects, while Earth Turbines focuses on "home wind power" -- small wind power projects that will create enough power to run a single home or building.
The Vermont Public Service Board is seeking a more informative petition for a certificate of public good from a developer seeking to construct and operate a wind generation facility in Readsboro and Searsburg. According to the original petition submitted in January, the project would be comprised of between 15 and 24 turbines on approximately 80 acres, mostly in the Green Mountain National Forest.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The environmental movement has begun to approach scientific issues with a similar zealotry typically found in religious fanaticism. A case in point: global warming................We need skeptical scientists to keep public and political passions in check. Otherwise, we devolve in our thinking to the point where unverified beliefs, held strong enough, can become idolatry.