For immediate release
March 21, 2012
AIV Vice President
Phone: (802) 734 7556
Montpelier – Business, economic development, labor, and related organizations representing the full spectrum of the state’s economy and workforce today joined to express their opposition to H. 468, legislation imposing new renewable energy mandates on the state’s utilities. Associated Industries of Vermont, a leading voice on energy and economic issues representing the state’s manufacturers and related sectors, was joined by 23 other groups.
H. 468 was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 91 to 46 despite the lack of a well-vetted analysis of rate impacts and resulting economic consequences for the state.
The legislation now goes to the Senate, where the groups hope that the bill’s consequences for Vermont jobs, wages and benefits, and economic investment will be more thoroughly analyzed and debated. They continue to believe that Vermont’s already clean energy portfolio, extensive existing reliance on renewable energy, and growth in the renewable energy sector can be maintained without costly new mandates that would increase burdens on employers across the economy as a whole.
The text of a letter opposing H. 468 and the list of 24 organizations signing the letter follow:
PLEASE VOTE NO ON H. 468
As organizations representing employers and employees across Vermont, we are writing to express our concerns about H. 468, which will increase renewable energy mandates on Vermont utilities through a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and related mechanisms.
H. 468 has been advanced with the stated goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the renewable energy sectors in Vermont’s economy. However, we are concerned that these otherwise laudable goals do not justify the costs entailed for Vermont employers and the economy as a whole. We believe that these goals can be achieved in a more cost effective manner.
Electricity costs, reliability, and quality are critical concerns for Vermont employers, especially high value employers who tend to be energy intensive. Average electric costs in Vermont for commercial and industrial customers have run 30% to 40% higher than the average in the other lower 48 states against which we compete for jobs, investment, and markets. Our rates are already increasing owing to factors including existing renewable energy mandates, the loss of Vermont Yankee power contracts, and looming regional reliability projects. Additional rate increases owing to new renewable energy mandates, particularly those that focus on smaller scale, less cost-effective and reliable generators, would exacerbate these increases.
Vermont already has one of the cleanest electric portfolios in the country, and more dependence on renewable energy than other states with an RPS are seeking to reach. Vermont utilities have pointed to existing regulatory requirements and market expectations to support the conclusion that Vermont’s dependence on renewable energy is unlikely to decline in any meaningful way going forward, even if no further renewable mandates are enacted.
Unfortunately, passing H. 468 would commit Vermont to a twenty-year policy that would lock us into even higher electric rates with only a very modest impact on greenhouse gas emissions, which on balance is not in the best interest of Vermont companies and working Vermonters and their families. Vermont can better promote our renewable energy sector through other economic development policies that could in fact benefit Vermont companies more broadly, and we can have a more cost-effective impact on our greenhouse gas emissions by looking to sources outside our electric portfolio.
Please vote no on H. 468.
Associated General Contractors of Vermont
Associated Industries of Vermont
Barre Granite Association
Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation
Champlain Water District
Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation
Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation
Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation
Green Mountain Dairy Farmers Cooperative Federation
Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Vermont
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300
Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce
Lamoille Economic Development Corporation
National Federation of Independent Business/VT
Rutland Economic Development Corporation
Vermont Business Roundtable
Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Vermont Energy Partnership
Vermont Farm Bureau
Vermont Fuel Dealers Association
Vermont Grocers’ Association
Vermont Ski Areas Association
Vermont Truck and Bus Association
Vermont Vehicle & Automotive Distributors Association