Articles filed under Energy Policy from Vermont
“Energy developers are running roughshod over our communities,” said Mark Whitworth, president of the board of Energize Vermont. “The result is an energy rebellion that has now spread to 128 towns.”
Backers of gas generation countered that renewables are benefiting from government-backed subsidies and long-term contracts that threaten to reintroduce government-mandated integrated resource planning. ...state policies are giving renewables undue advantage and undermining conventional generators’ investments in the market.
State Rep. Marianna Gamache, R-Swanton, noted that S.230 lacks a wind turbine component. “This passed without any reference to sound regarding the wind turbines,” she said. “I’m very disappointed because this is a real issue for people who are living under the blade. This will now affect those people going forward.”
State Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans, also opposed siting on prime-ag lands. “We have limited prime agricultural soil in the state of Vermont, and if we want to be environmentally responsible, we use that to grow food so we don’t have to ship in food from China or California,” he said.
Vermont gets virtually none of its grid power from wind or solar sources, according to a report Vermont Law School students presented recently to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
"To meet Vermont's ambitious renewable energy goals, we have to be able to count the solar and wind projects developed here in the state. The sale of RECs out of state makes that impossible," said Professor Kevin B. Jones, deputy director of the IEE and Energy Clinic. "Any policy that allows for such sales makes it harder and harder to achieve these legislated goals. And, in the meantime, more and more of the state's best solar and wind sites are being developed to meet the RPS [renewable portfolio standard] goals in Massachusetts and Connecticut."
"Subsidizing an overdependence on one foreign government-owned source of electricity will lead to lost jobs and soaring energy bills for decades to come," said Dan Dolan, the group's president....Hydro-Quebec would use increased U.S. exports to subsidize lower prices for its provincial customers, in turn costing New England ratepayers an estimated $20 billion over 25 years.
“The results show that we would need 42 new megawatts of wind, 10 new megawatts of hydro and 174 megawatts of solar,” she said. “When we first saw those numbers it took our breath away quite literally because the numbers seem so huge.” ...The state, in her view, does have the property available for such projects without encroaching on sensitive residential areas or environmental habitats.
Dozens of submissions will need to be vetted in coming months as the three states look to sign long-term contracts for electricity from wind turbines, dams and solar projects. The states are seeking up to 600 megawatts of power.
Wednesday brought the biggest show of force yet by Vermonters upset with the state’s siting process for energy projects. What has in recent years been a relatively small group of wind opponents has grown into a legion of people worried about wind and solar, including town leaders from across the state.
The bills would ban any wind energy project with a capacity of 500 kilowatts or more -- like existing projects in Sheffield and Georgia Mountain -- though small individual turbines would still be allowed. Strong and Rodgers cited the impact on the environment as well as the preservation of Vermont’s scenic resources as their motivations for pushing for an industrial wind ban
“We’re supposed to write our plans so that, if we plan for renewables they tell us we have to have, we’ll get greater standing at the Public Service Board — why didn’t that happen before? Because it is the state mandating, and that’s not what we need,” Smith said. ...Vermonters want renewable energy, Smith said, and legislators must trust that localities will site renewable energy projects without the heavy hand of state government requiring that they do so.
There’s a far better way to defeat Big Wind in Vermont. Big Wind developers are crucially dependent on an array of federal tax subsidies. The vital one is the production tax credit that gives the wind farm owner 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of power delivered. Impose a 2.3-cents-per-kilowatt-hour environmental protection tax on every new industrial-sized wind project in Vermont. That will exactly cancel the major federal subsidy that makes Big Wind profitable. Result: Vermont will never see another Big Wind project again.
If the RECs are sold separately, a Vermont solar investor is getting what the attorney general calls "null electricity," and what Bender called "residual mix" from the New England grid, which as of last year was 39.4 percent natural gas-generated and 34 percent nuclear.
Kevin Jones, deputy director at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, said most Vermonters don't understand that when a solar panel's renewable energy credits (RECs) are sold, the owner of that solar panel no longer draws renewable energy from it for their own use. Unscrupulous marketers capitalize on this ignorance, Jones said.
The process by which energy projects are developed in Vermont is broken. To regulate development, we have the Public Service Board, whose members seem to have been appointed by the governor to further his agenda and policies. We have a Public Service Department that serves the governor, not the public. We have legislators who write policy to serve the very utilities and energy developers that finance their campaigns.
Companies designing projects to bring clean electricity to southern New England say they’re grateful Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have finally made a request for proposals to carry that power to the region. But meeting the region’s longer-term goal of expanding the use of renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectricity will require more transmission capacity than the states requested, said Edward Krapels, the CEO of Anbaric Transmission, which is proposing one project in Maine and another Vermont.
The vast building and subsidizing of renewable energy facilities throughout Vermont will not affect climate change. ...By following these policies we will not pass on to the next generation a Vermont that is one iota cooler or more stable than it otherwise would be. It will be, however, uglier, less accessible, more expensive, and harder to find a job. Talk about a call to burn down the village in order to save it!
Washington -- Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity -- virtually all of it in the form of solar projects -- are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released 2015 Regional System Plan.
NO BENEFIT: Renewable energy requirements in Vermont will lead to the construction of more wind farms in the state, but it may have no impact on the nation’s carbon footprint.