Special Report: New renewable standard would revolutionize energy use in Vermont

Tony Klein

Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier, chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Cheat sheets, glossaries and power supply pie charts cover the table in the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee as first-year committee members decipher H.40, a bill requiring electric utilities to cut carbon emissions in Vermont.

“If you have your glossary, bring it out,” chairman of the committee Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier, told his fellow legislators as they dove into the complicated renewable energy bill three weeks ago.

The cramming session was just the beginning of the rapid paced development of a complicated piece of legislation loaded with dense regulatory lingo that lawmakers don’t have much time to finalize. If they don’t replace the current system this legislative biennium, electric rates could jump 6 percent statewide, and as high as 20 percent for Burlington customers, according to state officials.

That’s because Vermont’s electric utilities are having trouble participating in a regional renewable energy credit program in which they earn, on average, $50 million per year. Utilities use the money from credits to hold down rates.

Because Vermont’s current renewable energy program is different from all the others in New England, utilities are not able to sell cash credits for their renewable power into a regional marketplace. Without this revenue, rates could jump 6 percent for most of Vermont ratepayers as soon as next year.

“We’re committed not to let that happen,” said Darren Springer, deputy secretary of the Department of Public Service. During the opening weeks of the legislative session, Springer presented an idea for a new renewable energy program to the committee.

RESET, as the bill is nicknamed, would for the first time require utilities to sell renewable electricity to customers. This will increase the cost of electricity.

Currently, utilities own renewable electricity in their portfolios, but they do not own credits that account for the environmental attributes of the power, known as renewable energy credits, or RECs. Utilities must accumulate a certain number of credits to meet the statutory obligations.

What is a REC?

One megawatt-hour of renewable energy generation creates one renewable energy credit, or REC, to account for the environmental attributes of the electricity. Unlike the physical electrons, the REC is an economic currency that accounts for the “renewableness” of the electricity.

Utilities can retire, purchase or sell the credits in order to meet state renewable energy policy obligations. Many states require utilities to own a certain amount of credits in order to encourage renewable energy generation, which reduces the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Most Vermont utilities sell RECs, generating $50 million per year used to reduce electric rates. Some utilities also purchase RECs out of customer demand for low-emission renewable electricity.

The RECs are traded on a regional market among states that share the New England electric grid. The price for an REC changes based on supply and demand. RECs for wind and solar, for example, sell at a high price because they are in high demand. RECs from hydropower or biomass sell at a tenth of the cost because they are in low demand.

The proposed program is similar to those in the other New England states — and the majority of states across the nation. As a result, Vermont utilities will likely be able to sell — as well as purchase — renewable energy credits in the regional marketplace. Currently, utilities are having trouble selling credits because Vermont’s policy is different from other states.

Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, P-Middletown Springs, has been involved with local energy issues for more than a decade and has also installed solar panels on his home.

He said he understands the impact the bill will have on utilities, electric consumers and the environment, but the learning curve was steep during his first few weeks as a legislator.

“I have layman’s experience with renewable energy, which didn’t prepare me at all for policy,” Chesnut-Tangerman said.

Energy transformation

The proposed program would be among the first in the nation to require utilities to attempt to change the vehicles customers drive and the way they heat their homes.

Under the RESET program, utilities would be responsible for reducing their customers’ total fossil fuel emissions by taking aim at Vermont’s dirtiest energy sectors: transportation and heating.

Utilities would have to match a certain percentage of their retail sales through reductions in their customers’ fossil fuel consumption. Regulators have broad discretion in how to implement the proposed program, but it would likely transform the traditional utility business model from an electricity provider to an all-energy manager, utilities say.

“It’s pushing us to do things we haven’t done before,” Vermont Electric Coop CEO David Hallquist said.

The concept underpins Vermont’s 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan. The state cannot reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals without targeting fossil fuel emissions coming from vehicles and oil furnaces. According to the state, those two sectors produce more than three-quarters of Vermont’s carbon emissions.

Klein said the so-called “energy transformation tier” is the “cornerstone” of the bill. He said it removes a financial barrier preventing long overdue thermal efficiency improvements across the state.

“The biggest obstacle has always been ‘Where do we find the money?’” he said.

Electric customers would pay for thermal efficiency through new fees on their electric bills or through their electric rates. The program will likely increase electric bills in the short term, but save on total energy costs in the long run, state officials say.

“Their electric bill will go up, but their fuel oil or their propane bill will go down,” said Asa Hopkins, DPS director of energy policy. “Basically, they’re happy because they are saving money overall.”

The 15-year program is projected to cut Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15 million tons — nearly equal to taking all automobiles off the road in Vermont for four years, Hopkins said.

Utilities generally support the program, and have successfully lobbied for greater flexibility in compliance. Environmental advocates support the program, but prefer that the greenhouse gas reductions be more aggressive. Republican lawmakers and businesses say the program should do more to reduce electric rates, even if it means scaling back emission-reduction requirements.

House Minority Leader Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, said the proposal is a fix to a problem that was created in the Legislature when it created the SPEED program in 2005. He said Republicans want to move forward on renewables in a “more moderate manner.”

“I don’t know if it has to be as big as it is,” he said. “It seems like all of the big utilities are on board because they have this big bill hanging around their neck. The rope is around ratepayers’ neck.”

From SPEED to RESET

Vermont’s current program, Sustainably Priced Energy Development, or SPEED, was written with the goal of providing economic incentives for renewable energy development.

Under SPEED, Vermont utilities could sell credits representing the environmental attributes of their renewable power out of state, which allowed them to finance renewable energy projects and avoid some of the upfront cost impacts on rates.

Compliance obligations for utilities

TIER 1

2017: 55 percent
2032: 75 percent

A share of the utility’s retail sales must come from any new or existing renewables. Utilities will likely use hydropower, biomass or any other existing renewable to meet this credit. They could use wind and solar, but it would cost more. Utilities can pay an alternate fee of .01 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The proposal by itself is likely to increase electric rates over the course of the program.

TIER 2

2017: 1 percent
2032: 10 percent

Of the amount in tier one, a certain percentage of a utility’s retail sales must come from new, in-state energy generation sources, such as wind, solar, bio-methane or efficient combined heat and power biomass plants. The program would add 400 megawatts of new distributed generation to the state. The proposal would reduce the solar credit for net-metered projects if customers kept their renewable energy credits.

Utilities can pay an alternate fee of .07 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The proposal by itself is likely to increase electric rates over the course of the program.

TIER 3

2017: 1 percent
2032: 10 percent

Utilities would be required to reduce fossil fuel consumption as a percentage of their retail electric sales. Regulators would calculate each utility’s compliance toward the obligation by converting saved units of heat (British thermal units, BTUs) to units of energy (megawatt hours). Eligible projects include heat pumps, weatherization and electric vehicle infrastructure. Natural gas, a fossil fuel, would not count, but biodiesel would.

Utilities can pay an alternate fee of .07 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The proposal by itself is expected to reduce energy costs and electric rates over the course of the program by 0.6 percent.

Robert Dostis, director of government affairs at Green Mountain Power and chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee when the SPEED program was drafted, said at the time that it was not politically possible to pass a program that was likely to increase electric rates. The state instead passed an “economic development tool” that he described as “very successful.”

“It accomplished what it was set out to accomplish,” Dostis said. “We have a lot more renewables in this state as a result.”

Over the course of the program, Vermont utilities sold the credits for power that was also used to count toward the state’s voluntary renewable energy goal. The credits were also legally sold elsewhere in a process described as “double counting.” Critics say it is deceptive to count credits twice. A law clinic at Vermont Law School alleged that the state’s largest electric utility, Green Mountain Power, misled customers by claiming its power as renewable when it sold the RECs out of state. Federal regulators decided not to investigate the allegations, but asked the utility to be more clear with customers in the future.

That concern has taken root in the region. Last year, Connecticut prohibited the purchase of credits that count toward Vermont’s SPEED program, and utilities have since stopped selling credits to Connecticut. In May, one electricity supplier said it would not purchase Vermont RECs. The market for Vermont RECs was drying up and some utilities had difficulty selling credits to other states.

“It has trickled over into the other markets subtly,” said Patty Richards, general manager of the Washington Electric Co-op. “If we get the RPS, we will be fine.”

In June, Klein met with the Shumlin administration to discuss changes to Vermont’s energy program, with input from utility companies.

Klein, the only representative who served on the committee when the SPEED program was written, said lawmakers knew the state would need to adopt a mandatory program eventually.

“We always knew that this was a potential issue and we just said it was worth going down this path until the day came that they said ‘no,’” Klein said. “Without the SPEED program, we would not have the amount, or maybe any, of the renewables that were built in Vermont.”

Environmental groups push for more in-state renewable generation

Environmental groups want the program to achieve greater greenhouse gas emission reductions in the region. Meanwhile, utilities want more flexibility to comply with the new regulations and industry wants less pressure on rates.

Electricity prices would rise in the short term under the proposed program because utilities would have to purchase renewable energy credits to account for a certain percentage of their power demand. Currently, utilities mostly sell credits generated by their renewable projects.

Under RESET, some of these credits must come from electricity generated in Vermont. The requirement increases 4 percent every three years from 55 percent in 2017 to 75 percent in 2032.

To meet the renewable electricity obligation, Green Mountain Power will continue to sell the high-value credits from its wind farm on Lowell Mountain, for example, and purchase less expensive credits from biomass and hydroelectric plants, Dostis said.

Credits from biomass and large hydro, such as Hydro-Quebec, can be purchased at a 10th of the cost of “class one” RECs, which come from wind and solar farms, among other resources.

No other state in New England counts large-scale, Canadian hydropower as renewable. New Hampshire lawmakers are considering changes to their Renewable Portfolio Standard to allow large-scale hydropower to count toward its goal, citing benefits for electric ratepayers.

Sandra Levine, a senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, said Vermont should set a higher environmental standard for its program — making it similar to the other states in the region.

Levine said there should be a limit on the amount of credits utilities can count from power sources like Hydro-Quebec. She said new large-scale hydro can cause methane emissions and displace indigenous populations, though it is a valuable existing baseload energy source.

“To meet our climate change goals, we need to limit our reliance on large-scale hydroelectric power and, in particular, not rely on having to develop new hydropower facilities,” she said. “We can do that by using the existing hydropower wisely and using in concert with renewable power in the New England region.”

Green Mountain Power will retire the credits from large hydropower to meet its policy obligation at a minimal cost. But Levine said the there is a chance other states in the region may question whether this should be allowed.

Environment groups say the bill also includes an “inadvertent penalty” for customers who generate their own electricity through the state’s net-metering program. Proposed changes to the net-metering law will require customers to purchase RECs from their utility. Currently, the customer owns the credit.

The intent is to help the utilities use net-metered projects to meet their regulatory obligations under the program. Policy experts and renewable energy attempted to safeguard changes to the program, but remain unsatisfied. Changes will be finalized when regulators make planned adjustments to the net-metering law in 2016.

Smaller utilities uneasy with business model overhaul

electric cars

A recharging station for the state’s fleet of solar vehicles sits at the corner of State Street and Gov. Aiken Avenue in Montpelier. Photo by Tom Brown/VTDigger

The administration’s proposal would require utilities to change the way they do business. Rather than just supplying electricity, they would also be required to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the state’s heating and transportation sectors.

“It’s a huge challenge and there are a lot of assumptions, and I think there is a lot that can go wrong,” Hallquist of VEC said.

By generating revenue through additional electricity sales, utilities could offset most of the rate impacts associated with renewable energy procurement, the Department of Public Service says. Take this part of the program out entirely, and rates will continue to climb by up to 4 percent by 2032, officials say.

This part of the program has caused the most angst among utilities. Many asked lawmakers for more flexibility — and many got it.

Springer, of the department, said there are several “escape valves” if a utility has trouble meeting its compliance obligations: It can petition regulators to reduce the requirement; purchase additional small-scale power generation; bank excess credits and use them later; or make up a shortfall in another year.

The purpose of the requirement is to reduce carbon emissions from the heating and transportation energy sectors. Utilities would achieve this by providing financial incentives for wood heating or electric air source heat pumps, coupled with thermal efficiency or weatherization projects. Utilities may also invest in electric vehicle infrastructure.

Much of these so-called “energy innovation projects” would be paid for through new fees on electric bills, investments recovered through electric rates, leasing programs and partnerships, according to the department.

In concept, utilities would act as “general contractors” for all their customers’ energy needs. In 2017, all Vermont’s utilities together would have to install the equivalent of 2,000 heat pumps to comply. By 2032, that climbs to 12,000 heat pumps, for example.

Green Mountain Power, the state’s only investor-owned utility, is already making investments that would qualify under the program.

“We are confident we can make this happen. Frankly, we have to,” said Dostis, of Green Mountain Power.

Hallquist said VEC’s territory is relatively poor and rural — the utility’s territory has 15 customers per mile of line, as compared with GMP’s approximate 20 customers per mile. The low customer density makes it difficult to sell new products, he said. VEC wants to partner with Efficiency Vermont, the state’s efficiency utility to achieve the desired results.

The bill explicitly allows for partnerships, including with other utilities, and gives the Public Service Board broad discretion when assigning credit among the partners.

Committee has all but passed H.40

The potential rate impact remains to be seen because Connecticut regulators have not issued a decision whether Vermont’s RECs under the current program are worthless.

It was not until the opening days of the legislative session that state officials had publicly quantified the potential rate impact resulting from the Connecticut prohibition on the purchase of Vermont RECs.

But the day the bill was introduced to the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the members were told there is a looming 6 percent rate shock if they did nothing. Since then, members have heard from experts, advocates and the regulated community pushing the policy in different directions. Everyone supported the concept and goals of the proposed program.

After three weeks of careful consideration, the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee on Friday opened a vote on the bill, currently 6-1-3. The vote will close on Tuesday.

 

 

John Herrick

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  • Don Peterson

    for some reason not obvious to me, hydro Quebec energy was not considered green enough for our legislators. Their answer was to create a new class of renewable energy, one based in the state and sacrificing our mountains in the process.

    So now we have to eschew cheap hydro Quebec power in favor of expensive mountaintop power. Don’t worry though, the ratepayers will gladly pick up the tab, once they understand that it’s all to save the planet….

    • Richard Ratico
      • Glenn Thompson

        Richard Ratico,

        “A wee bit of perspective is in order here. This morning ISO-NE has coal use at 12%”

        You forgot to add, the current combo of Oil and Coal makes up 36% of the grid. For a moment this morning….Solar and Wind made up 0% . I’m pleased to inform you, Wind is now making up 2% of the 6% renewables. 0 % from Solar. I’m assuming no one as of yet has swept the snow off all those Industrial Solar Panels? Awesome performance!

        • Willem Post

          Richard,

          One of my neighbors has used a squeegee to rake the snow off his FIELD-MOUNTED panels, but the ROOF-MOUNTED panels of the other three neighbors are STILL covered, and have been covered for weeks, a good reason solar energy is shown as being near-nothing on the ISO-NE website.

          Almost EVERY morning of the YEAR I notice near-zero wind when I get up.

          What ARE we to do when there is no wind and no sun?

          Just hibernate, like some animals?

          Put EVERYTHING on hold, including making breakfast?

          Going from “55% RE by 2017” (3,049,200 ridgelines and meadows + 30,800 distributed) to “75% RE by 2032” (3,780,000 ridgelines and meadows + 420,000 distributed) would require additional billions of dollars in capital outlays for wind systems on ridgelines, for solar systems in meadows, for distributed systems, and for grid enhancements.

          Where will these funds come from? How much will be the federal subsidies? How much will be the VT subsidies? No blowback from communities about visual impact, noise, lowering of property values, environmental damage?

          To meet the RES goals, VT would be wise to buy almost all of that RE from EXISTING out of state sources. The quickest, and least costly way that can be done is to buy more hydro from Hydro-Quebec at 5 – 7 c/kWh, per Dostis of GMP. An HVDC transmission line in Vermont would be needed.

          In addition to diverting scarce capital from more useful investments, it would be misused to destroy ridgelines and meadows, and to produce RE at about 3 – 5 times New England wholesale prices, which have averaged about 4.5 to 5 c/kWh for the past 5 years.

          That would be a major headwind for Vermont’s weak, low/near-zero-growth, economy, with mostly already-struggling households, whose real incomes have DECLINED since 2000, and with low/near-zero-profit businesses, all trying to make ends meet, while paying more and more, for an ever-growing, ponderous, expensive government sector that acts as a wet blanket on the shrinking private sector.

          • Richard Ratico

            I can’t help but notice your and Glenn’s attempt to divert the discussion from the points I raised. But no one’s surprised by that. How can you argue against such graphic evidence?

            The fact is wind energy is a great fit in Vermont. It sits lightly on the ridge tops. The disruption is minimal compared to that of other energy sources except solar.

            GMP didn’t build a turbine in your front yard because, as you’ve discovered, a wind resource doesn’t exist there. There’s plenty of wind where the turbines are built. That’s why they build them there.

            Have you never climbed one of our New England mountains, stood at the summit, and marveled at the strength of the wind?

          • John Greenberg

            Willem:

            Snow on solar projects may, as you suggest, be “a good reason solar energy is shown as being near-nothing on the ISO-NE website.” But it’s not the only reason.

            Another reason, in ISO-NE’s language, is that “… PVs aren’t typically connected to the high-voltage transmission system that the ISO manages—many are located “behind-the-meter” or connected directly to a home or business.” http://www.iso-ne.com/aboutiso/fin/annl_reports/2000/2014_reo.pdf, p. 28 (p. 30 of pdf)

            To be clear, ISO-NE is talking about not just off-grid installations, but also installations which are net metered, and where most of the power is consumed by the owner/generator. In these cases, solar generation is not “seen” by the grid as production at all. As the number of installations grows, grid operators will perceive them primarily as a drop in demand, rather than as additional supply.

            I have no idea what the numbers are on net-metered installations versus those where power is sold predominantly or entirely into the grid, but until fairly recently, I’m pretty certain the second kind has predominated. Utility scale producers who are not consuming the power have come on the scene only in the last couple of years, as I understand it, at least in any serious quantity, because prices have dropped sufficiently to make these installations more economically viable.

            All this is worth noting here because even if there were massive penetration of the New England market by rooftop solar and other net-metered solar projects, the ISO-NE daily “meter” that you and others are constantly citing in these comments would never pick it up. Only the ‘atypical’ (to distort ISO’s phrase) projects which are ‘on-the-meter’ (ditto) will show up in these statistics.

            Needless to say, that makes citation of statistics from the day-to-day “meter” quite misleading.

          • Willem Post

            John Greenberg,

            My neighbor has a solar system with 2 smart meters. One measures the AC output fed to the grid, the other the consumption by the house, including by the solar system; solar systems DO use electricity to run themselves.

            GMP knows, second by second, what are the energy flows of EVERY solar system in ITS service area, and may be, or is, required to report the sum of these solar system flows to ISO-NE, as would ALL OTHER utilities in Vermont and NE states.

            It would be good to determine the exact situation and, with a PR release, GMP could explain it in detail, if so inclined to inform its ratepayers.

            BTW, Your contacts at GMP may be useful to get them to put out such a PR message.

            With some snow on the panels, the DC output is very low; a 5 kW DC system may put out 0.5 kW DC, or 10%.

            At 20% capacity, the inverter has an efficiency of about 85%, at 10%, about 50%, at 5%, about 10%.

            Solar energy fed to the grid = 0.5 kW x 0.5 = 0.25 kW, or 5%!!

            BTW, in Germany, under such snow circumstances, it is worse, about 2%, as shown by various real-time websites (just google), because it is further from the equator.

            Such a small percent of the 48 MW installed in Vermont at the end of 2014 would be about 2.5 MW, which, with the contributions from other states, would likely be shown as near 0% on the ISO-NE website, which deals with daily demand numbers of 15,000 to 28,000 MW!!

            Because wind AND solar energy, on almost EVERY day of the YEAR, is near-zero in MOST OF VERMONT (just look out of the window when getting up around 6 or 7 AM), almost ALL other generators are required to provide energy to make breakfast and to do millions of other tasks , like running traffic signals, in a modern society.

            These generators are required to be in good working order, staffed, and fueled, which is very costly, especially when there is a lot of wind AND a lot of sum, and their lesser, VARIABLE production is inefficient, as with a car at a variable 20 MPG getting less mileage than at a steady 55 MPG.

            BTW, all this is explained in this article, which I have recommend you read, as have at least 13 thousand other people till now.

            http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/332911/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-vermonts-economy

          • Richard Ratico

            Willem,

            “just look out of the window when getting up around 6 or 7 AM”

            Your ability to determine wind generation at ANY point in time, by looking out your window, is PRECISELY the same as if you gazed at your navel instead.

          • John Greenberg

            Willem:

            First, I stand by my remarks above. I already cited ISO-NE directly to the precise point in question.

            What GMP (or any utility) knows or doesn’t know is hardly germane to what shows up on the ISO-NE snapshot you referred to.

            In addition, you’re missing my point.

            There are many of us who are grid tied AND producing small amounts of electricity for our own use. In our house, for example, our generating systems (solar and wind) are exceedingly small. Most of the energy we use still comes from the grid. I no longer have any way of tracking what my windmill produces (the meter I used to use was fried by lightning and I didn’t replace it). Since most of it never reaches their meter, there’s no way GMP would know either. Only the portion of the power we generate which we don’t happen to be using, at a time when the batteries are also full to capacity, ever reaches the meter. My guess is that’s a VERY rare event. Under normal circumstances, the power goes to the batteries and either stays there or goes into whatever devices we happen to be using. Given that our production at this point is substantially less than our consumption (our consumption is about ½ of the VT average, but our system is much smaller than that), the vast bulk of what we generate is simply consumed in our household.

            If and when I expand our system as I intend to, the situation won’t change very much either. We will be feeding into the grid more often, but those amounts will be offset by power we consume at other times. Basically, GMP will “see” us as a customer with no net usage (though smart metering will give them more precise data as to which ways power is flowing and at what hours). The same would apply to ISO-NE.

            You might want to read my second comment to Annette Smith (timestamped Feb. 19 at 2:57 PM) as well, which makes a number of different points about the comparison you insist on making to the ISO snapshot: http://vtdigger.wpengine.com/2015/02/17/renewable-energy-makeover-clears-house-committee/#comments.

            Second, I am not in contact with GMP. With a colleague, I had in-person meetings with CVPS and GMP roughly 6+ years ago (the exact dates are inconsequential, so I won’t track them down) and occasional email contact with one or another person in the interim. Without checking my records I can’t be certain, but as far as I can recall, I haven’t had ANY contact with anyone there since the merger.

            If you have a message for GMP, call or write them. In my experience, they’re quite friendly and responsive. Who knows? You might even learn something.

          • Richard Ratico

            Willem,

            “solar systems DO use electricity to run themselves.”

            Just how much energy do these grid tied systems use, Willem?

        • james taylor

          More bad news for the moon bats and gorebull warning. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many as the “Little Ice Age”. In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

          It is common sense to believe that the sun has more influence on global temperatures than a trace gas. With a 17 year “pause” in the predicted outcomes of an increase in atmospheric CO2, warmists face more and more awkward questions. If temperatures actually decline as a result of an expected decrease in solar activity, at some point the game will be up, and the billions of dollars a year squandered on climate modeling that doesn’t predict what happens will have to dry up.

          • Glenn Thompson

            James Taylor,

            “It is common sense to believe that the sun has more influence on global temperatures than a trace gas.”

            No Doubt! And there is plenty of articles and data out there to support it. Trying to convince the crowd who believes filling the planet with solar and wind will control the climate…… is a harder sell!

            This is one of many articles out there on the Sun-climate connection!

            “The Sun is the source of the energy that causes the motion of the atmosphere and thereby controls weather and climate. Any change in the energy from the Sun received at the Earth’s surface will therefore affect climate.”

            http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/IASTP/43/

          • John Greenberg

            James Taylor and Glenn Thompson:

            Exactly what do you think global warming is all about?? OF COURSE, the sun has the most influence on global temperatures: in fact, that’s the whole BASIS of the greenhouse gas theory.

            The sun warms the earth. Some of the heat is reflected back into the atmosphere, and greenhouse gases trap it. Excess greenhouse gases are created by the activities of humans, primarily the burning of large quantities of fossil fuels. Without man’s intervention, the heat escapes through the layers of the atmosphere into space and temperatures remain within the bounds of ordinary climatic impacts (El Nino, La Nina, volcanic eruptions, etc.)

            To believe in global warming theory is NOT to doubt or minimize the importance of the sun in any way, any more than it is possible to run a greenhouse without sunlight. Precisely to the contrary, the whole theory is based on the sun’s action. To suggest otherwise is the worst kind of straw man argument.

          • Glenn Thompson

            John Greenberg,

            “Exactly what do you think global warming is all about?? OF COURSE, the sun has the most influence on global temperatures: in fact, that’s the whole BASIS of the greenhouse gas theory.”

            Except your greenhouse gas theory gets totally blown out of the water if one studies the warming period during the Medieval era followed by the Little Ice age…when man contributed almost nil to CO2 emissions? You don’t suppose there is another factor that is the main contributor to Climate Change other than CO2 gases?

            The Little Ice age!

            http://www.eh-resources.org/timeline/timeline_lia.html

            The Medieval era!

            http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/13/study-earth-was-warmer-in-roman-medieval-times/

            The article I posted did mention the ‘science’ is not yet fully understood! So why are we jumping to conclusions that Climate Change is the result of Greenhouse gas emissions when the evidence put forward from Geological history shows otherwise?

          • Steve Comeau

            It is also true that any change in the energy from radiated from the Earth’s surface and atmosphere will affect climate. It turns out that CO2, methane, and other traces gases greatly influence the amount of energy that is radiated from the earth out into space. These gases and clouds are a large part of control the “energy balance” of the atmosphere. As the gases increase concentration less energy radiates to space, then the earth energy balance shifts; in this case to warmer.

            It is hard to predict what will happen and how quickly it will warm because the dumping of 37 gigatons of CO2 per year by humans is a fairly recent phenomenon is history. But the global temperature records, the ocean temperature records, arctic ice measurements, and the glacial melting rates of most glaciers all point to a long term warming trend.

          • John Greenberg

            Glenn:

            I’m not going to debate climate change with you. If the world’s climate scientists can’t convince you, I’m sure I can’t and in any case, I have no inclination to try.

            My comment above was written to insure that no one took at face value the suggestion that climate change theory somehow minimizes or ignores the role of the sun in heating the earth. No more, no less.

      • Willem Post

        Richard,

        Klein said. “Without the SPEED program, we would not have the amount, or maybe any, of the renewables that were built in Vermont.”

        This statement should read: Without the 30% federal cash giveaways* (scheduled to end at the end of 2017) donated to in-state and out-of-state multi-millionaires with lucrative, no risk tax shelters, plus the 5-yr accelerated depreciation, plus the 25 – 30 c/kWh+ being paid to these multi-millionaires by Vermonters for that variable, intermittent, solar energy, there would have been very few, if any, SPEED solar systems built in Vermont.

        * If a 2.2 MW solar plant on a 15-acre meadow costs about $10 million, the federal TAX-FREE donation is about $3 million.

        + That energy could have been bought at New England PEAK-TIME wholesale prices of about 6.5 – 7.0 c/kWh, as explained in this article.

        http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/332911/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-vermonts-economy

        • Richard Ratico

          Willem,

          Those of the “put all your eggs in one basket” school of energy generation might take the trouble to boost your numbers (and ego) on the energy misinformation site to which you linked, I will not be among them.

          We already get a substantial percentage of our energy from Quebec. Where is the wisdom in committing to significantly more, except as intermittent balance to intermittent homegrown local distributed RE?

          A very long, very vulnerable (terrorists, ice storms, coronal mass ejections, drought) extension cord to Canada, on which we are totally dependent, makes very little sense.

          The power seems cheap now. That’s the big advantage you claim for it. There’s no guarantee it will remain so in the future.

        • John Greenberg

          Willem,

          What is the government contribution to “cheap” natural gas?

      • Willem Post

        Richard,

        ““just look out of the window when getting up around 6 or 7 AM”

        Your ability to determine wind generation at ANY point in time, by looking out your window, is PRECISELY the same as if you gazed at your navel instead.””

        But Richard, I did correlate my early morning observation with the ISO-NE website on many such days, just to check, and true enough they agree.

        No navel gazing was involved.

        I leave jumping to conclusions and navel gazing to others.

        • Richard Ratico

          Willem,

          Your naval gazing not withstanding, the FACTS demonstrate the Vermont wind capacity built to date is performing nicely.
          http://vtdigger.wpengine.com/2015/02/18/green-mountain-power-delivers-good-neighbor-promise/

          • Willem Post

            Richard,

            Every crowing story has a silver lining.

            2014 was a GOOD wind year in New England. Almost all wind turbines did better.

            “In 2014, Kingdom Community Wind generated 179,385,000 kilowatthours”

            CF = 179,385,000 kWh/(63,000 kW x 8760) = 0.325.

            Lowell is grossly UNDERPERFORMING in a GOOD wind year, because in a NORMAL wind year, with the bigger rotor, the CF was predicted to be 0.3587, i.e., it would be higher in a GOOD wind year, say 0.37.

            Green Mountain Power testified to the PSB, the CF would be 0.3587, “with the bigger rotor”. See URL
            http://vce.org/2011-6-20_ALB-CFT_First_Comments_GMP_Filings(7628)

            GMP had to spend $20 million on grid improvements and synchronous converter to be able to feed that much energy into the NEK grid.

            SENECA was to be located near Lowell and its grid improvements were estimated at $86 million. The project was cancelled.

            According to standard practice, the ISO-NE rule is THE DISTURBER PAYS.

          • Richard Ratico

            Willem,

            The corollary of your criticism of Lowell is that the rest of NE wind wildly overproduced.

    • Darryl Smith

      More more “Think globally, Destroy locally.

    • Willem Post

      Don,

      If I were a CEO and Vermont was my company, to ensure its economic viability, I would immediately follow the advice of Dostis of GMP and buy as much low-cost, near-CO2-free, STEADY (not, intermittent, not variable), RENEWABLE energy from Hydro-Quebec as possible for 5 – 7 c/kWh (per Dostis), before anyone else beats me to that good deal.

      NO STATE AND FEDERAL SUBSIDIES WOULD BE REQUIRED to buy the hydro energy.

      The hydro plants were built 30 years ago, but demand growth did not take place, so all sorts of extra capacity, MW, is available. The Canadians are eager to sell hydro energy. Vermont should jump on the chance to get hold of it.

      Just think, we would be able to charge our future plug-ins and our future heat pumps with the low-cost energy.

      We would be able to attract energy-intensive businesses, such as multi-billion dollar data centers.

      It would be a perfect replacement for the energy of the now-closed Vermont-Yankee.

      To get energy from other RE sources at 2 to 5 times wholesale prices would a most irrational business decision.

      Any CEO who would go that expensive RE route that should be keel-hauled, or worse, until he wises up.

  • Rep. Warren Van Wyck

    A simple bill could have dismantled the double-counting (to some states) SPEED program and established a
    Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that other states would have accepted. With an acceptable RPS, there would not be
    rate increases of 6% or 20%. Most of the bill (H.40) is a laundry list of renewable energy requirements and fossil fuel reduction goals that
    will certainly lead to more expensive electric rates, more economic malaise (solar jobs are a flash-in-the-pan — read about Spain), more bureaucrats shuffling papers and more farm fields covered with acres of black solar panels. Therefore, I vote against it. — Rep. Warren Van Wyck of Ferrisburgh

  • Scott Woodward

    There’s a small twist in H.40 that I think merits reconsideration by the bill’s drafters. For a number of reasons, it seems like a bad idea to have inserted the opt-out language that transfers property rights (ownership of the REC’s generated from residential PV) from the property owner to the utility. The current language makes this choice elective. It sends a negative signal to property owners in Vermont when property they rightfully own is given to someone else, here, the utilities, through an opt-out provision. Opt-out provisions give the appearance of being underhanded. I see the reason for wanting to give the REC’s to the utilities (so they can be retired toward in-state goals), but why not do it in a positive way by educating and encouraging property owners rather than making them give it up if they forget to check a box (or however the opt-out provision shows up in the CPG application).

  • You’re right about revolution. A couple of years down the road when the rate payers pick up the “new tab” resulting from this bill it could certainly result in a rate payer revolution and possibly more. Hey, let’s be happy, it may be the FIRST state revolution.

  • Annette Smith

    Dostis and Klein still don’t seem to get it, assuming that John Herrick quoted them accurately. They are both saying that SPEED resulted in a lot more renewables in Vermont. They still neglect to acknowledge that those renewables are helping MA and CT meet their RPS, and therefore Vermonters are not getting renewable energy while paying very high social and environmental costs to host them.

    Good job reporting on a very complicated subject. However it isn’t quite true that “everyone” supports the bill. I testified https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYj3QLmxghE with great concern for the lack of new standards to help our communities absorb all this new development, suggested they simply fix the SPEED double counting problem and take the next year to work through the rest of it.

    To meet the goals in the bill, it will require about 25 MW (think 250 acres) of new solar a year, and that’s just for starters. There are a lot of hidden costs to our state and our communities in this bill, and the way I see it, the costs are simply being pushed out a couple years and the sticker shock will hit in 2017. By then there will likely be a different governor and legislators.

    RESET is akin to SPEED, with lots of consequences that are not fully understood because the bill is way too complicated. It meets GMP and BED’s needs, but not VEC’s or ratepayers’. Make no mistake, there are huge costs associated with H.40. One thing John didn’t mention is that the proponents are claiming it will result in $275 million in savings. Where does that come from?

    Rep. van Wyck’s comment seems to have it about right. Slow down. The current problem with REC sales can be fixed without adding a lot more new ones. Let’s fix the problems we have now, like poor siting and lack of community involvement, before piling on yet more.

    And oh, by the way, how about making sure that Vermonters are getting real benefit from all the renewable energy infrastructure that is cluttering our landscape. Yes, renewable energy costs more. Deal with it.

    • Willem Post

      Annette,

      “They are both saying that SPEED resulted in a lot more renewables in Vermont. They still neglect to acknowledge that those renewables are helping MA and CT meet their RPS, and therefore Vermonters are not getting renewable energy while paying very high social and environmental costs to host them.”

      Vermonters are GENERATING renewable energy, and REDUCING CO2, but, FOR BOOKKEEPING PURPOSES, cannot COUNT that energy and CO2 towards RE goals, because Vermont sold the associated RECs to out-of-staters who use these pieces of paper to avoid doing THEIR part.

      Vermont getting 90% of ALL energy from RE by 2050 in that manner would mean Vermont gets no CREDIT for building out all those RE systems.

      However, in our hearts, Vermonters know “we are doing the right thing”, as we are told by RE mantra propagandists.

      In the end, it is feel-good that counts, even though Vermonters will be paying through the nose for it.

      BTW: Bioenergy is renewable on about a 100-year basis. Cut and burn now, but it will take a forest about 100 years to recover. Those who feel smug about, or are advocating for biomass are significantly misinformed.

      • “BTW: Bioenergy is renewable on about a 100-year basis. Cut and burn now, but it will take a forest about 100 years to recover. Those who feel smug about, or are advocating for biomass are significantly misinformed.”

        Methinks the significantly misinformed must also include the significantly ignorant who are unaware of, or choose to ignore, the use of hybrid poplar sylvaculture to provide biomass while also providing an excellent disposal use of sewage sludge.

        Currently available equipment also allows direct conversion to chips for immediate transport to generation facilities. That also applies to stands of other low grade hardwoods.

        While Canadian hydro is a fine idea, there is also room for other technologies. But I guess diversity applies only when politically correct.

        • Willem Post

          James,
          “the use of hybrid poplar sylvaculture to provide biomass while also providing an excellent disposal use of sewage sludge.”

          What percentage of Vermont’s energy consumption (5,600,000,000 kWh/yr) would that technology provide? 1%, 2%, 5%? There is room for other technologies, but they have to be providing large quantities.

          If GMP, VEC, et al., were really interested in reducing the electric bills of already-struggling Vermont households and of low/near-zero-profit Vermont businesses, they would get about 75% of their total energy as steady, not variable, not intermittent, hydro energy, at 5 – 7 c/kWh (per Dostis of GMP), from Hydro-Quebec.

          It would be much less destructive to Vermont’s environment to buy as much hydro energy as possible from H-Q, which has about 5,000 MW of underused hydro capacity due to demand growth planned for at that time, but did not occur. That environmental damage took place over 20 years ago, whereas any wind and solar energy, in-state or out-of-state, would entail ADDITIONAL damage, mostly on Vermont’s ridgelines and meadows.

          The additional H-Q hydro energy would require building additional HVDC lines, capacity about 600 MW, within Vermont. HQ would build connecting HVDC lines within Canada. The line would be in parallel with the existing HVDC lines, and could be operated near design capacity to maximize its economic return. The funds to build the HVDC lines would be borrowed by private entities. No Vermont outlays for subsidies would be required.

          Vermont’s economy would be the major beneficiary by taking as much as possible of the low-cost, near-CO2-free, STEAD hydro energy, with the rest fed into the New England power system. That way all of the low-cost, near-CO2-free, STEADY nuclear energy New England lost by closing down Vermont Yankee would be replaced by the H-Q hydro energy for many decades. A no-brainer?

          Buying additional energy from Hydro-Quebec would not require any Vermont outlays of about $1 – $2 billion in subsidies to build out the equivalent wind capacity on ridgelines and solar capacity in meadows, and would not require any ADDITIONAL environmental damage in Vermont. Always remember, one person’s subsidy is another person’s tax. A no-brainer?

          The new HVDC line could deliver = 600 MW x 8760 hr/yr x CF 0.90 = 4,730,000 MWh/yr. To produce that quantity of energy with wind and solar capacity, assuming 80% from wind (3,784,320 MWh/yr) and 20% from solar (946,080 MWh/yr), would require:

          Wind cost = 1728 MW x 8760 hr/yr x CF 0.25 x $2,800,000/MW = $4.84 billion; (27) 63 MW Lowell Mountains!!
          Solar cost = 771 MW x 8760 hr/yr x CF 0.14 x $3,500,000/MW = $2.70 billion; (350) 2.2 MW field-mounted systems!!
          Grid modifications to accommodate wind and solar energy……….. = $1.50 billion
          Total………………………………………………………………………………………= $9.04 billion

          The capital cost of the Vermont portion of HVDC lines is estimated at about $1 billion.

          The cost of the unsteady, variable, intermittent, wind energy would be 10 – 15 c/kWh from ridgelines (with subsidies).
          The cost of the unsteady, variable, intermittent, solar energy would be 15 – 27 c/kWh from roofs and meadows (with subsidies).

          • Willem, You keep needlessly giving the hard sell for the Canadian hydro. Makes a lot of sense to me for current conditions in VT; I love the stuff! Actually, have more than a few hours of hydro operation under my belt, so I know the ins and outs of the process.

            The “uninterruptable” factor only holds true if there is a surplus available due to the downtime required for whatever maintenance may be required on the turbines and/or hydraulics, the generation/switchgear/controls, and the impoundment; it’s generally less than for combustion oriented generation, but still is downtime.

            Using your numbers, I came up with an average hourly demand state wide of IIRC ~630 Mw. Just a single 25 Mw woodchip plant could/would provide some 4% of that number 24/7 and would contribute to the Vermont economy in the form of jobs and money in circulation from the wages, taxes — wealth created in the state that stays in the state.

            Such a plant was proposed for a site near the former Green Mountain thoroughbred cum greyhound racetrack site and vigorously opposed by the Williamstown MA intellectuals and other greenies. That ship was blasted off the ways before it could even be built. The Town of Pownal allowed the bullies to prevail, but is bending over backward to transcend the PCB/river sludge issues in order that someone’s buddy (who has obtained the water flow rights) can get up and running to produce a few Mw from the river flow at the dam site of the former tannery (which the town still owns). Pretty stupid when the town could have enjoyed the revenue to offset taxes.

            Before this becomes a rant, I’ll finish by saying that there have got to be more than a couple more sites in the state that are suitable for similar use. The obvious obstacles are those that would be imposed by the hysterical greenies who would ignorantly point to the vapor plume coming from the stack as “carbon pollution” while continuing to exhale the same substance.

            Ignorance can be overcome with information. Stupid is an uphill battle.

          • Willem Post

            James,

            You did not read what I wrote. You seem to be on a biomass hobby horse.

            With biomass: Cut and burn now and it takes a forest about 100 years to recover. Are you OK with that?

            Hydro-Quebec has multiple hydro plants with multiple turbines. It is rare for an ENTIRE hydro plant to be down.

            Norway gets 95% of its energy from hydro plants. I lived there for 3 years, and NEVER experienced a single outage.

            The environmental damage to build the H-Q hydro plants was done over 30 years ago. Why be irrational and do more environmental damage in Vermont to build RE systems the produce EXPENSIVE energy at 2 – 5 times wholesale prices? It is called shooting yourself in the foot.

            The H-Q plants are underperforming because the planned demand growth did not take place. The Canadians are eager to sell as much energy as we need at 5 – 7 c/kWh, per Dostis of GMP.

            Why would anyone in his right mind cut down many acres of forest to feed a biomass plant year in and year out to make electricity at 25% efficiency, which means 75% of the trees are wasted.

            If ALL the trees were left alone, they would continuously renew themselves and sequester CO2 for hundreds of years.

          • Willem Post

            Anne,

            The below comment is revised response to James Willey’s comment of February 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm.
            It has disappeared.
            Please resurrect it.
            Thank you,

            Willem

            PS. Please disregard the prior comments that are not yet posted.

            James Willey

            ” Just a single 25 Mw woodchip plant could/would provide some 4% of that number 24/7 and would contribute to the Vermont economy in the form of jobs and money in circulation from the wages, taxes — wealth created in the state that stays in the state.”

            You are right about jobs, wages, taxes, etc., but that is not the issue. Vermont needs have LOW-COST energy to make the OTHER sectors more efficient, so they can expand, be profitable, create jobs, pay good wages, and pay taxes. RE systems produce energy at 2 – 5 times wholesale prices.

            Vermont, one of the poorest states in the US, cannot afford to turn over a major part of its economy to expensive renewable energy production.

            Getting more, near-CO2-free, low-cost (5 – 7 c/kWh, per Dostis of GMP), steady, not variable, not intermittent, hydro energy from Hydro-Quebec would be THE way for Vermont to get its economy moving again.

            With enough of such RE energy, Vermont’s ENTIRE economy would be facing a significant headwind.

            With biomass: Cut and burn now and, based on numerous studies (just Google), a forest would require about 100 years to recover. Are you OK with that?

            Below are some calculations regarding 25 MW wood-burning plants, which show the required cord quantity/yr., the harvest region, and truckloads per day

            A 25 MW wood plant operating at 75% capacity factor will produce 164,250,000 kWh/yr., or about 2.93% of Vermont’s consumption.

            Plant heat input = production x (3,413 Btu/kWh)/0.25 plant efficiency = 2,240 billion Btu/yr.

            NOTE: Also energy is required to harvest, transport the trees to the plant site, and process them into chips and dry them at the site, etc. In some cases, the trees are chipped before being transported to the plant site.

            Wood input = plant heat input/(24,000,000 Btu/cord) = 93,431 cords/yr.

            Truckloads = 93,431/(5 cords/truck)= 18,686, or 75/day

            Land harvested = cords/(0.5 cord/acre) = 186,862 acres, or 292 sq. miles.

            Area radius = sq. root of 292/pi = 10 miles, if within those miles are only harvestable forest. In the real world, the radius of the harvest region is about 50 miles.

    • Megs Keir

      It is appalling to learn that Vermont power producers were allowed to get credit for the same entity (Clean Energy) twice! That sort of thing may happen on Wall Street but it shouldn’t be allowed to happen here. Keep it simple: produce and sell clean energy, and get credit when you sell it, once.

  • Anna Vreman

    So what happens to electric rates when everyone switches from oil, propane, and gas to electric heat? And why should everyone add another heating system to their home? To the best of my knowledge, heat pumps are not up to the job on sub-zero nights so some other fuel source and another furnace will still be required. Or do we all go back to the baseboard heating we were urged to remove in the ’70’s?
    As for cars, where do electric companies get the authority to dictate what kind of car one drives? And why would someone who lives out in the country drive a car that only has a 100 mile range? Finally, who will provide all the rental cars for “trips”? Or are we also supposed to keep a “trip” car to go along with our cold weather furnace?
    It seems like a little more thought needs to go into this before we upend everyone’s lives and further increase our already high electric rates.

  • Jamie Carter

    “Under the RESET program, utilities would be responsible for reducing their customers’ total fossil fuel emissions by taking aim at Vermont’s dirtiest energy sectors: transportation and heating.”

    I’m really curious as to how this would play out. How is GMP going to reduce my fossil fuel emission? Are they going to petition VT Gas to run a line to my area? Are they going to penalize me until I change out my oil furnace for an ELECTRIC one? This seems to be a very poorly thoughtout concept and what’s more disturbing is the bill is “all but passed” and it’s still lacking very key details… Hmmm where else have we seen this before??? Single Payer?? Yeah we’ll get around to figuring out the details later…

    • ” Are they going to penalize me until I change out my oil furnace for an ELECTRIC one?”

      Given the large %age of power used originates outside the state, what’s a few more Gw? Even with in-state generation, consider that even the most efficient combined cycle Gas Turbine generation is at best only 35-37% efficient. Factor in line losses to point of use, you begin to see what a loser electric heat is.

      Gas is clean and efficient, currently cheap, as heat source fuel IF the selling entity can deliver cost effectively without burdening the consumer with pipeline costs.

      The Greenie maniacs stand in direct opposition to encouraging any renewable cellulose based energy in any form. They do not seem to comprehend that we all can’t build/site/own solar palaces.

      Vermont needs a strong dose of reality.

      • Jamie Carter

        If only Gas was available I would have hooked up long ago… it’s not viable if it’s not available.

        So I’m still curious how How GMP is going to reduce my fossil fuel usage…

        • Can you say “Smart Metering”?

          With the above, GMP will be able to control your power usage by switching off “smart” appliances at their whim.

          Any power you don’t (aren’t allowed to) consume means that whatever fossil energy is used toward its generation won’t be.

          All Hail Bill Gates/Al Gore!!
          BTW, Al, How many $Billions in Carbon Credits you got racked up? Oyeah, and the polar ice caps are still there — both of them! But wait, it’s
          climate change now; so, it don’t compute??

          When are people going to quit buying into all the lies?

  • Ralph Colin

    And how do the governor, the speaker and the chair of the House Natural Resources & Energy committee propose to keep the cork in the bottle when current residents of the state can simply no longer afford to live here and are forced to move elsewhere?

    Or maybe that’s exactly how they propose to reduce all the carbon emissions in Vermont: just drive all the people out. That’ll do it.
    Interesting concept[.

  • Gary Murdock

    “The proposed program would be among the first in the nation to require utilities to attempt to change the vehicles customers drive and the way they heat their homes.”
    “Under the RESET program, utilities would be responsible for reducing their customers’ total fossil fuel emissions by taking aim at Vermont’s dirtiest energy sectors: transportation and heating.”

    Outrage, contempt, fear, loathing, disgust…these are the only words that come to mind that can be repeated here. Beyond that, all I can say is that I am at a complete loss for words.

  • cui bono? The question I always ask.

    Farther east, the HVDC transmission lines move the HydroQuebec power to Taxachusetts where it gets marked up and sold and the money goes to Canada.

    Why not use VT resources — like wood chips — to generate, put Vermonters to work, and keep the wealth here?

    Sill me, it’s the Greenies, stupid.

  • John McClaughry

    Compliments to John Herrick for a valuable report. However it would have been more valuable if he had found knowledgeable critics to quote.
    Leaving aside the complicated details, it’s not hard to see where this is headed. Driven by the Governor’s proclamation of “90% of all energy from renewables by 2050” (did anybody ever vote on that?), and accentuated by the “crisis” caused by the rejection by the REC market of Vermont’s double counted RECs that threatens to increase electric rates, we are now with H.40 headed toward making the GMP/PSB/DPS/VPIRG/CLF into an unaccountable fourth branch of government, mandating whatever energy requirements they agree on to achieve Peter Shumlin’s 2050 goal, and forcing ratepayers to finance it.
    In short, this is the counterpart to single payer health care and Phil Scott’s Green Mountain Education Board: giant , powerful entities to manage the Administrative State, financed by threatening to withhold energy from users until they toe the line and pay the rates. This would be a sad finale to Vermont’s tradition of free, self governing citizens.

    • Some old dead white guy is credited with saying that, in the end, we get exactly the sort of government we deserve.

      Nationwide, the malignancy of socialism is now Stage 4, with little hope of the patient’s survival.

  • ray giroux

    Stack and pack housing

    walkable communities

    improved bike paths

    Urban renewal (protect open land)

    sustainable development (no development without paying large price, only stack and pack gets the fast track)

    renewable energy (would someone please explain what this term really means?)

    hybrids

    electric cars

    carbon credits (so a dirty corporation can continue to operate by buying credits from a clean corp)

    Are we being led to a place where we no longer have a say over our lives, our livelihood – where and how we can live?

    Are States and Corporations dictating to us what our future will be like, or else?

    Pull the plug folks, let them have their expensive electric, all to themselves.

    After all, it’s to complicated, to many big words for them to figure out.

    and, it has almost passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • renewable energy (would someone please explain what this term really means?)

      That big yellow-orange ball is the source of the energy we use, whether stored in fossil deposit or in plant life. The only truly renewable energy source I am aware of is the cellulose created via photosynthesis, most readily available as trees and plant waste e.g. sugar cane bagasse, hemp fiber.

      I’m sounding like a broken record saying it, but Vermont’s abundant forests can and should provide viable heat and power sources while putting Vermonters to work. That we are allowing the Green Maskers to dictate otherwise shows that there is an agenda that is not being articulated.

      Can you say Agenda 21?
      Read all about it here:

      http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

  • Linda Baird-White

    “The proposed program would be among the first in the nation to require utilities to attempt to change the vehicles customers drive and the way they heat their homes.”

    Just One Darned Green Mountain Moment here….. Guess he didn’t get the memo. Last I heard we are governed by state government with elected officials (not a dictatorship). Totally smacks of single payer tactics – Cart before the horse, yet again and Spend More before fixing what’s been broken for a long time. Got my dander up too.

  • Kathy Leonard

    Just wow.
    So…electric utilities including international entities such as gaz metro would control – by means of higher electric rates – how we drive and how we heat our homes?

    This is so convoluted and so wrong… The DPS and PSB do not have a handle on renewables regulation as it is, and it is being proposed that they would in effect regulate transportation and home heating policy too?

    Whoa! Stop!

  • Kathy Nelson

    “Their electric bill will go up, but their fuel oil or their propane bill will go down,” said Asa Hopkins, DPS director of energy policy. “Basically, they’re happy because they are saving money overall.”

    Excuse me but what planet is this public servant residing on? If the only way one has to heat their home is an oil furnace (with no financial means to replace that essential unit) then how will one save money on oil/propane while paying more for electricity? Heating with electricity, which tends to fail during those winter storms (which will are likely to be more prevalent in the future) is not a viable or intelligent option for Vermonters.

    As for transportation issues it should be considered that most of the vehicles in this state are concentrated around larger cities and that those cities, like Burlington, should close their cities off to gasoline powered vehicles and only allow electric vehicles to move within the city limits.

    Too many people are forgetting that fossil fuels are an essential part of VT’s agricultural and tourist economies. It is unlikely that there will be any electric farm tractors, log skidders, chain saws, highway mowers, snowplows or snowmobiles in the near future.

    H40 is the result of one grievous mistake after another, and only piles another mistake on top of the already mile-high heap. Enough already.

    • Jan van Eck

      Without wishing to detract from Kathy Nelson’s post above, I would merely mention that electric snowmobiles are entirely viable, from an engineering viewpoint. This is because the snowmobile is a lightweight device (or can be built lightweight) and thus would use small energy flows to operate recreationally. You might not be able to run a lunatic 100 mph down the middle of rural RR tracks (which is not very bright anyway), but you can easily ride through the back country on a silent electric snowmobile. We are developing one now, for introduction in about four years. Manufacture will take place in Morrisville. The target launch market incidentally is for rental in Yellowstone Park, as they have issues with the noise bothering the wildlife. Cheers, Jan.

  • Nancy Fried

    Tony Klein is trying to ram this legislation through. He and his committee need to slow down and really study the ramifications of what he is proposing. There are a lot of people with real concerns with this bill.

    • Willem Post

      Nancy,

      Klein held his “hearings”.

      Chap Smith stuffed the committee with 7 new members who likely do not have an inkling of the complexities of H-40.

      It looks the 4 holdovers and 6 of the 7 will vote for it, just to get rid of it. Let the House figure it out, just the House did with dysfunctional SPEED about 5 years ago.

      Here are the production results for the heavily subsidized SPEED Program, 2.2 MW or less. Note the RISING cost trend. It is mindless idiocy to be for SPEED, as it ultimately render uncompetitive Vermont’s private sector. Vermont’s government sector will protect itself by means of higher taxes.

      Year…….Production………Paid to Owners…….$/kWh……% VT Use
      Units………kWh…………………….$
      2010……..5,980,779………….829,832.88………0.1387……….0.11
      2011…….20,172,973……….3,329,269.05………0.1650……….0.36
      2012…….29,666,592……….5,093,237.71………0.1717………..0.53
      2013…….44,820,516………8,692,440.70………0.1939……….0.81
      2014…….62,865,075……..13,190,927.86………0.2098………1.13; after 4.5 years of RE build-outs!

      http://vermontspeed.com/speed-monthly-production/
      http://vermontspeed.squarespace.com/project-status/

      Hydro Energy From Hydro-Quebec:

      If GMP, VEC, et al., were really interested in reducing the electric bills of already-struggling Vermont households and of low/near-zero-profit Vermont businesses, they would get about 75% of their total energy as steady, not variable, not intermittent, hydro energy, at 5 – 7 c/kWh (per Dostis of GMP), from Hydro-Quebec.

      It would be much less destructive to Vermont’s environment to buy as much hydro energy as possible from H-Q, which has about 5,000 MW of underused hydro capacity. That environmental damage took place over 20 years ago, whereas any wind and solar energy, in-state or out-of-state, would entail ADDITIONAL damage, mostly on Vermont’s ridgelines and meadows.

      The additional H-Q hydro energy would require building additional HVDC lines, capacity about 600 MW, within Vermont. HQ would build connecting HVDC lines within Canada. The line would be in parallel with the existing HVDC lines, and could be operated near design capacity to maximize its economic return. The funds to build the HVDC lines would be borrowed by private entities. No Vermont outlays for subsidies would be required.

      Vermont’s economy would be the major beneficiary by taking as much as possible of the low-cost, near-CO2-free, hydro energy, with the rest fed into the New England power system. That way all of the low-cost, near-CO2-free, nuclear energy New England lost by closing down Vermont Yankee would be replaced by low-cost, near-CO2-free, hydro energy for many decades. A no-brainer?

      Buying additional energy from Hydro-Quebec would not require any Vermont outlays of about $1 – $2 billion in subsidies to build out the equivalent wind capacity on ridgelines and solar capacity in meadows, and would not require any ADDITIONAL environmental damage in Vermont. Always remember, one person’s subsidy is another person’s tax. A no-brainer?

      In addition to diverting scarce capital from more useful investments, it would be misused to destroy ridgelines and meadows, and to produce RE at about 3 – 5 times New England wholesale prices, which have averaged about 5 c/kWh for the past 5 years.

      That would be a major headwind for Vermont’s weak, low/near-zero-growth, economy, with mostly already-struggling households, whose real incomes have DECLINED since 2000, and with low/near-zero-profit businesses, all trying to make ends meet, while paying more and more, for an ever-growing, ponderous, expensive government sector that acts as a wet blanket on the shrinking private sector.

  • Correct Ray, Rockefeller`s (John “donated” the property where UN headquarters sits) United Nations agenda for the 21 century/sustainable development. What a kind dear philanthropic soul. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre
    People haven`t a clue. A woeful act of willful ignorance.
    And 90% by 2050? Straight from the UN. As (democrat) Rosa Koire says: It`s easier to list what isn`t agenda 21 than what is.

    • You neglected to plug the book:
      “Behind the Green Mask”, Rosa Koire.

      Catch her interview on Glen Beck (one of many, just “google”):
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=8Oevj6XokVw&NR=1

      • james taylor

        Good read. The best thing about that book was she was an ally of the liberals and climate change, until of course it directly effected her world. Kinda like a kid following Obama until they actually get a real job and have to pay taxes.

        • I’m still awaiting my copy, thus will need to read before I know exactly what you mean by “effected her world”.

          Koire has more a libertarian mindset, having become disillusioned with the divergent path the current Demo’ party has taken while sounding more like war hawks than the opposition. Similar to Ron Paul, who has long been disillusioned with the Republican party which he terms as ‘having lost its way’.

          A commercial real estate appraiser, Koire has become intimately familiar with the hoax of urban renewal. Listening to her speak is like deja vu for me; I grew up in a mill town where it, UR, began in earnest in the 1950’s. It’s now far from “urban”, industry/jobs are fading fast, downtown stores replaced by Wallyworld etc. at neo-malls, but there is more, and more, and more government regulation and druggies and welfare mothers and overweight people in electric scooters on the roads and sidewalks. Meanwhile the bars and liquor stores are booming while the plummeting dollar is signalling all hell to break out soon.

          • John Greenberg

            ” the plummeting dollar”??

            The dollar is rising against most world currencies.

          • Hold that thought, John.

            Those ratios will be meaningless soon, as every fiat currency will be virtually worthless in the coming global crash.

            Be sure to pile up all the dollars you can in the meantime; they’ll give you lots of the warm fuzzies — until you try to use them to actually buy something. The gold-stockpiling Chinese will soon own the gold-backed dominant currency of the world. Nations like US that produce damn near nothing that the world wants to buy will be in severe pain.

            The Chinese have already used a large chunk of the $Trillion+ of US debt they are holding to buy up large portions of our infrastructure and real estate. Our ongoing negative trade balance portends a gloomy future.

  • Ralph Bollard

    From the article “Electric customers would pay for thermal efficiency through new fees on their electric bills or through their electric rates. The program will likely increase electric bills in the short term, but save on total energy costs in the long run, state officials say.”

    We already pay the darn VT efficiency charge. What does that get us. 99 cent bulbs full of Mercury and goofy commercials. Great!!!

  • Jeff Nichols

    First in the nation in mandating what it’s citzens can and can’t do and forcing ideology from people like Klein into their lives. Thanks very much, I really don’t want him in mine.

  • Scratching the surface of H.40, brings to mind the push to pass Obamacare and Nancy Pelosi’s infamous words: “ You have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” As time has proven, most of those voting in favor of Obamacare had no idea of what they were voting for.

    If one is to believe New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and others in his party, pushing Obamacare through was the wrong thing to do at the wrong time. Will Vermont now repeat the Obamacare experience by pushing through H.40 without really understanding it?

    H.40 represents a gigantic change in where energy is to come from and how consumption is to be managed. It puts government bureaucrats in charge with utilities to carry out their wishes. It leaves the people totally hostage to those in Montpelier, but responsible for paying the bills that accrue. Bills with the amounts owed left blank at this time because no one knows how much H.40 will cost the people and businesses of Vermont.

    Now think of the same type of bureaucrats that attempted the implementation of the health care exchange moving in to manage our energy system for the next 50 years. This should be a very scary thought for any rational person.

    Additionally, remember that it was Rep. Tony Klein that had a heavy hand in getting us into this situation back in 2005 when the SPEED program was initiated.

    Klein is now leading a group of good people on the House Natural Resource Committee who are struggling to grasp what is being proposed in H.40 and how our society and landscape will be impacted for decades to come. They are being asked to act on massive issues that require them to refer to a glossary of terms in a vain hope of understanding the mere basics.

    This seems to be totally irresponsible. Why in the world does this comprehensive and far reaching bill have to be dealt with in such an overwhelming and rapid fashion?

    Rep. Don Turner has it right when he says the bill should move forward in a “more moderate manner”. This is common sense, this is the adult in the room speaking and he should be heeded.

    If the last election meant anything, it was the people sending a strong message that they wanted an end to the type of behavior and legislation characterized by what we are now seeing with H.40.

    In the meantime, unless each member of the House Natural Resources Committee can say with full confidence: “I fully understand this bill and all of its consequences.”, they should abstain from voting or vote against H.40.

    • Willem Post

      Peter,

      It works like this from one Rep to another: I’ll hold my nose and vote for single-payer, or whatever, and you hold your nose and vote for H-40.

    • Willem Post

      Peter,

      The DPS wrote H-40 to Vermont on the path towards “90% of ALL energy to be RE by 2050”, not just electrical energy, which is just 1/3 of ALL energy.

      Klein, like a good soldier, is rushing H-40 “through committee”, holding pro forma hearings, calling in the usual “experts” to testify to make it all look good, all as pre-planned in strategy sessions behind closed doors.

      After a quick 10 to 1 vote to approve, Klein’s committee is more or less done with H-40, at least for a while.

      If the good part-time Legislators on Klein’s committee, most without any suitable energy systems experience, profess to be flummoxed, and cannot make heads or tails out of H-40, the House will find it even more daunting.

      Unless businesses wake up and protest, it will be passed by the House in no time, and Vermont will be on its way to weaken its economy even more.

      Vermont’s economy has been stuck in low/near-zero growth mode since about 2000, largely because of the wet blanket of unwise, excessive government spending suffocating the shrinking, low/near-zero-profit private sector. In Vermont, the sum of local and state tax burdens, plus government fees, plus quasi-government surcharges (such as for Efficiency Vermont, which was given an 8% budget increase for 2014) has been increasing as a percent of total household incomes, while the real household incomes of 60% of lower income households have been decreasing in a near-zero growth economy for the past 14 years. That is called hollowing-out the middle class.

      Vermont 8th Poorest State: Vermont is the 8th poorest state, based on dividing REAL (inflation-adjusted, 2013$) median household incomes by the COL index.
      http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf

      NOTE: Chittenden County has many people, and its economic statistics rank well above all other Vermont counties. If Chittenden County were removed from the Vermont averages, the rest of Vermont would have averages just slightly above Mississippi, i.e., near the BOTTOM of US averages. Vermont is a very poor state with a very expensive government? You bet.

      • Wait until next year, Willem.

        The formerly great republic of Vermont is losing yet one more wage paying manufacturer.

        Plasan Carbon Composites, located in Bennington, will be folding its tents and relocating to Michigan. Its 200 plus employees will face the uncertainties of also relocating or, more likely joining the rolls of the Bennington County unemployed.

        More than one excuse is given, including lack of qualified help. The unhospitable business climate of Vermont is charitably not mentioned.

        • Willem Post

          James,

          Carbon fiber costs about $16/lb.
          Most of that cost is energy, which is much cheaper in Michigan.
          Sayonara Vermont.

          • Willem, the significantly larger portion of the carbon panel production costs is the epoxy required to bond the fibers, the kW required to heat it just prior to deposition being a much lesser expense.

            It would appear from the plasoncarbon.com web site that their intentions from the outset in purchasing the automotive side of the Bennington operations some ten years ago were to move them to Michigan. What was left could not survive on its own, and so will follow to Michigan so that Plasan will no longer need its “vacation home” in Vermont’s abusive tax structure and hostile business climate.

            Meanwhile, Regional Planning Commissions will continue to promote the “Smart Growth” that will be the death of us all as we “progressively” become inhibited in our rights to productively use our own property. Even 6¢/kW electricity will be expensive then, so don’t sell your stock in QuebbyHydro.

  • Gary Murdock

    It’s a tossup as to what sends the shiver farthest up my spine…this bill or Tony Kleins contemptuous stare.

  • dan burks

    If you guys think rate payers are being set up for serious financial abuse, consider the current plight of whats left of VT’s energy intensive industry that doesn’t even get to vote….and their employees. Two of the biggest competitive penalties a VT manufacturing firm faces are energy costs and transportation expenses….totally out of hand in comparison to the lower costs enjoyed Midwest and Southern competitors. Its becoming clear that the largest threat to what’s left of VT’s manufacturing industry is VT’s Legislature-in-session. Elections do have consequences.

    • Before the US of A even was, a wise Brit once said, “While the Legislature is in session, no man’s purs is safe.”

  • Linda Baird-White

    FUTURE LEGISLATION – RAM PASSAGE
    Yikes…. a Disaster in the making.

    “Changes will be finalized when regulators make planned adjustments to the net-metering law in 2016.”

    1. Vermonters have learned (particularly through this administration) that one never assumes assurances with predictions of future legislation. We’ve been left holding an empty bag of promises many times before.

    “The biggest obstacle has always been ‘Where do we find the money?” Electric customers would pay for thermal efficiency through new fees on their electric bills or through their electric rates. The program will likely increase electric bills in the *short term, (but save on total energy costs in the long run, state officials say).

    2. Once rates are raised we will NOT see them lowered again, that’s a given.

    If Klein is trying to RAM PASSAGE of this bill through legislation, it’s “likely” there are many arguably flawed or weak components he hopes will escape notice.

  • Lance Hagen

    This has to be the worst piece of ‘crap’ legislation that I have ever read. It dictates totally unreasonable terms and mandates on utilities and utility customers.

    Any legislator that votes for passage on this bill, should definitely be held accountable for their action. I surly hope if this bill ever comes up for a vote, that all the really hard questions are asked and there is a clear understanding of the implications of this bill. As it reads now, I wouldn’t vote ‘for’ this bill.

    • Willem Post

      Lance,

      I was told by a Rep H-40 is a DPS bill aiming to accelerate getting 90% of ALL Vermont’s energy from RE by 2050, not just electrical energy which is only 1/3 of ALL energy.

      Klein has to process it through his committee and send it to the House for a rubber stamp vote, as was done with SPEED.

      Vermont’s economy will be handicapped for many years, because of babes-in-the-woods energy zealots.

  • Mark Smith

    “consider that even the most efficient combined cycle Gas Turbine generation is at best only 35-37% efficient”

    Sorry but you are incorrect.

    http://www.siemens.com/innovation/apps/pof_microsite/_pof-fall-2011/_html_en/combined-cycle-gas-turbines.html

    • That really is quite a leap forward.

      Improved metallurgy, blade gap variability… A lot has happened in the 20 yr since I was in the field. Not to mention not needing a heat soak. Impressive 30 min. start to load. Yeah, a lot has happened since aeroderivatives were used for peaking. That machine is about ten times the size of the ones my company used.

      BTW, don’t be sorry for enlightening the neglectful ignorant.

    • Willem Post

      Mark,

      The most efficient CCGTs are 60+% efficient. That means they use 3413/0.60 = 5688 Btu to produce one kWh.

      Gas bought by utilities under long term contracts is about $4/1,000,000 Btu, so the GAS COST of producing one kWh = 400 cents/1,000,000 x 5688 = 2.27 c/kWh!!!

      There are other costs, such as for O&M and paying off loans, just as with a car, of about 2 c/kWh, for a total of 4.27 c/kWh.

      Now you know why New England wholesale prices are about 4.5 to 5 c/kWh.

      RE zealots at DPS, PSB, Legislature, etc., want to FORCE utilities to buy energy at 2 to 5 times wholesale prices (as they are doing under the dysfunctional SPEED program), i.e., 10 to 25 c/kWh.

      Those utilities will add their usual markups on top of THOSE PRICES, instead of on top of 4.5 to 5 c/kWh.

      Enough of such RE will make Vermont’s already-fragile economy even more of a basket case.

  • As an aside, I noted earlier today that the article went on to say:
    “Combined cycle power plants in the U.S. currently have an average efficiency of less than 40 percent. If all of these units used the new gas turbine from Siemens, additional electricity equal to that used by 25 million Americans could be generated each year — without causing additional CO2 emissions…”
    which validates my own statement. When technology is already in place, it behooves the owner/operator to undergo the cost/benefit analysis as well as to follow the post installation histories of new tech before jumping in with both feet in the name of political correctness.

    We ain’t talking about springing for a hybrid Prius here. A multi-million dollar upgrade can seriously tick off the board of directors if the CEO pushes for a duck that don’t fly — whether or not it has lower methane emissions. The CO2 parameter continues to be the same hogwash that it was when instituted, serving only to appease the control freaks who use it as one more armlock for squeezing out non-compliance fees and fines.

    Green plants world wide are screaming for more brush fires.

  • Paul Lorenzini

    I am personally so excited and proud to know that our elected MP’s are down there in the statehouse figuring out how to turn VT into a global model of cleanness. We need to stop climate change now! It’s too hot in the summer and to cold in the winter and we need to set an example to the world, through our own self sacrifice, no matter how much it costs the citizens of this green state with a bunch of hills, (greenbacks in industrial wind terms). Don’t worry enlightened legislators, we the exceptionally blessed natives will buck up and pay whatever bill you send us, as you are enlightened, and can fix this darn Climate Change debacle created by every one of us carbon emitting sinners. It will be no problem in the philosophy of Global Citizenship if we collapse under the weight of the burden you bless us with, as I know that the planets population is too much for this delicate egg, of soil, water and air to endure.
    Please pile on the bills to each of us, the more the better.

    Oh, and by the way, does the entire state emit as much CO2 as they do in one borough of New York City does in one day? With all those polluting farmers and farting cows, I guess we probably do. Sorry for my moment of doubt, Great Leaders.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      My comment was pure sarcasm. I hope someone got it.

      • Am certain that more than one of us “got it”.

        Maybe a young innocent is needed to proclaim that “The Emperor is naked!!”

        Currently there seems to be a dearth of “adults” who can see things for what the truly are.

    • Willem Post

      Paul,

      The RE aficionados have the rest of us by the you know what.

      Every time we protest, they squeeze.

      There seems to be no way out until we elect a new governor, etc., plus a thorough buraucratic housecleaning.

      A state spending cut of a flat 20% would be a good start to sunset a whole host of useless, wasteful programs.

      Milne should keep is powder dry, be ready for action.

    • walter moses

      Mr Lorenzini, in my experience with cows, it is not the flatulence that contains the most methane, it’s the burp.

  • Richard Ratico

    Willem,

    Obviously he can’t “keep is powder dry” if he hasn’t got any to start with. See Jeff Danziger’s cartoon on the Digger home page.

  • Bruce Wilkie

    Rep. Klein and his cohorts are bound and determined to have the highest electric rates in the country. Partner this with the highest property taxes and the highest per pupil education costs and they will drive out whatever large employers that are left in Vermont,

    • Willem Post

      Bruce,

      Vermont is trying to outdo Hawaii and Alaska, to be No.1, a “LEADER”, regarding household electric rates by using H-40, a mish-mash of open-ended RE glibberish concocted by DPS behind closed doors, to get to Shumlin’s goal of 90% of ALL energy to be RE by 2050.

      Not even rich Germany has such an extreme goal.

      Vermont’s economy has been stuck in low/near-zero growth mode since about 2000, largely because of the wet blanket of unwise, excessive government spending suffocating the shrinking, low/near-zero-profit private sector. In Vermont, the sum of local and state tax burdens, plus government fees, plus quasi-government surcharges (such as for Efficiency Vermont, which was given an 8% budget increase for 2014) has been increasing as a percent of total household incomes, while the real household incomes of 60% of lower income households have been decreasing in a near-zero growth economy for the past 14 years. That is called hollowing-out the middle class.

      Vermont 8th Poorest State: Vermont is the 8th poorest state, based on dividing REAL (inflation-adjusted, 2013$) median household incomes by the COL index.
      http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf

      NOTE: Chittenden County has many people, and its economic statistics rank well above all other Vermont counties. If Chittenden County were removed from the Vermont averages, the rest of Vermont would have averages just slightly above Mississippi, i.e., near the BOTTOM of US averages. Vermont is a very poor state with a very expensive government? You bet.

  • Peter Everett

    If government is for it, I’m totally against it. Several reasons:
    1. It won’t end up as stated, initially.
    2. Cost over runs will be massive, much more than we were told.
    3. Has anyone ever an effectively run gov’t program? Me neither.
    4. Who will have to pay for the mess gov’t creates? We, the
    taxpayer.
    5. Government truly believes the taxpayer has Deep Pockets. So
    deep that they continually tell us we must pay for their
    Boondoggle . They never give us a chance to express our
    concerns. They are the gov’t, they know what is best.
    Many, many more come to mind. Time to stop before I make myself sick thinking how these buffoons create far more problems than they solve.

  • John Greenberg

    “Has anyone ever an effectively run gov’t program? Me neither.” World War II? Moon Landing? Social Security?

    • Peter Everett

      Vietnam, Iraq, Obaacare, possibly…Isis

      • Paul Lorenzini

        Global Warming, Obamacare, Stimulus, The War on Terror, The War on Drugs, Welfare,

        All benefits to the elite, elite in terms of campaign contributions, thanks to Wall Street investment.

  • John Greenberg

    Peter Everett:

    The fact that there are some government programs which are NOT run effectively does not imply that there are none that are. Your logic is wrong.

  • Peter Everett

    To each their own. My trust in government is not very strong. I’m sure that there are many who feel the same way. I’m sick and tired of being lied to by self serving politicians. Hopefully, some day we will rid ourselves of career politicians who can be replaced with statesmen. You know, those who think of state/country before their political aspirations. Until such time, believe me, my trust in the system is close to zero.
    Try to look at both sides of an issue, instead of just one side. You may begin to have some distrust, like many of us.
    Just one instance of my disdain. Since 1991, $312 BILLION has been designated in PORK (unnecessary) spending by Congress. I blame BOTH R’s & D’s, as well as VT’s I for this waste of money. Not only is this my money, but, it is YOUR’s also. That money could have gone to useful areas that would have done good. Why should I have to accept money on the sex lives Sea Horses?You may not mind wasting money. I certainly do. I worked too damn hard to squander my money, why should I accept what politicians do with my money? Give me ONE good reason why I should TRUST a politician. I think they should be accountable. Obviously, you, like many don’t think they should be held accountable. Like others, you, keep putting them back in office. In office, to do as they please, with no fear of having to worry about their careers. Don’t you wish you could live this way? Or, are you a politician, set for life because far too many don’t care? Damn it!!!! I DO care. That is my problem, I CARE.
    My money that is spent well, I have no problem with. This Tax/Fee spend attitude has to stop. If you can PROVE there is no waste, do so. I will tell you that I believe there is, at least, 10% waste in EVERY program that government controls. This can be from many areas: over budgeted programs, fraud in programs to just too many other items.
    My fact: I was a public employee, in another state. Year in year out, those who created our budget complained it wasn’t enough. EVERY year, at the end of the fiscal year, I was told to SPEND more because we can’t return money, especially since we were asking for a larger budget the next fiscal year. This was just one government run department, out of many.
    Did this happen in every department? I am not foolish enough to think it did. I, do, know it happened in my department for 35 years and still does.
    I’m tired of this DEMAND for more of OUR money to fund THEIR desires, leaving YOU and I with much less for what we worked for.
    Yeah, I rambled. Why? I’m upset that politicians at the Fed/State levels continue to believe we have unlimited resources to fund EVERYTHYING they want, while we continue to cut back in the way we live.
    I apologize for this diatribe, I’m really PO’ed at government right now. There is good, but, there is far too much to be concerned about. I love my country/state, I just wish I could believe in those who run them. I am not blaming one side of the isle or the other. I blame them all for not working as they should. I wish they would have some fear of having to be accountable. It isn’t there.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      Do not apologize. Continue to speak freely. PLEASE!!!!!!!!

  • John Greenberg

    You’ve put a lot of words in my mouth here. None of the things you claim I said or advocate are things I actually said or advocate. I’ll leave it at that and let my comments speak for themselves.

  • Peter Everett

    I didn’t not put words in your mouth. Your views are fine, you should stand by them. I stand by mine, which have been derived over many years.
    What once made this country strong was the ability to share different points of view without the ridicule of those who disagree. If we can’t get back to doing so, soon, we certainly may see the demise of what we have had.
    My age tells me I may be fortunate not to see the total collapse, yet, I will see the journey that leads to it. What is left to my/ your heirs concerns me. Therefore, I must continue to voice my thoughts/opinions, as I hope you do, so people can work to a strong, viable solution to what ails this country. Free speech is good, let’s use it for good, never putting down others thoughts. This country was founded on the ability to reach compromise. Both sides have good ideas, but, not always the ideal. Most positive results come from taking parts of both sides. Never let us lose that ability. Stubbornness on our leaders have put us in a divided way. That is truly the sad state we’re in today.

    • David Dempsey

      Amen

  • John Greenberg

    Peter Everett:

    “I didn’t not put words in your mouth.”

    There are many instances where you did precisely that.

    Here’s just one: “Obviously, you, like many don’t think they should be held accountable. Like others, you, keep putting them back in office.” Where did I say or imply that I don’t think politicians should be held accountable? How do you know whether I vote to “keep putting them back in office” or not?

    Reread your “diatribe” (your word, but accurate) above and you’ll find there are many views which you ascribe to me. I venture to say none of them correspond to views I’ve ever expressed, and certainly not to views expressed here.

    You now add: “Your views are fine, you should stand by them.” I DO stand by my views, when they actually are MY views. I do not stand by, nor do I have to respond to views which you ascribe to me and then assert are mine.

    If you want to have a respectful dialogue – as you say you do – then you have to listen to what your interlocutor actual says and respond to it. At the risk of being didactic, let’s review our dialogue here.

    It began when you provided a list of generalizations about “government.” I challenged one of them: namely that there are no effectively-run government programs. I provided three examples of such programs. Logically, one counterexample would have sufficed to show that your generalization is wrong.

    By contrast, no number of examples of ineffectively-run programs suffices to demonstrate your proposition. So when you and now Paul Lorenzini provided more examples, I pointed out that your logic is wrong.

    Since you appear to have missed the point, I’ll spell it out: there may be thousands of examples of poor programs, but that does nothing to prove there are no good ones. Here’s an analogy. If I said that there are no rich people in Vermont, and then I pointed to a whole lot of poor ones, do you think that would prove my point?

    From there, rather than responding to MY point, you launched into your self-described diatribe, telling me what I think about this and that.

    If you truly want to have a respectful discussion, then it needs to be a two-way street. There’s no indication that’s likely to happen here.

    • “Life is like a box o’ choklits…”

      Cordially, Forrest

  • Paul Lorenzini

    Science is most often true, until politicians buy it.

  • Jonathan Teller-Elsberg

    Correction: the alternative compliance fees are 1 cent/kWh for Tier 1 (not the reported 0.01 cents), and 6 cents/kWh for both Tier 2 and Tier 3 (not the reported 0.06 cents and 0.07 cents respectively). These numbers come from version 3.1 of the bill at http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2016/WorkGroups/House%20Natural%20Resources/Bills/H.40/Draft,%20Summaries%20and%20Amendments/H.40~Aaron%20Adler~Draft%20No.%203.1%20(2-50pm),%202-13-2015~2-17-2015.pdf.

    • Paul Lorenzini

      How do you plan to capitalize on those facts Jonathan?

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