UNILATERAL, REGRESSIVE CARBON TAXES A HEADWIND FOR THE VERMONT ECONOMY

A wise person would advocate putting the horse before the car, i.e., first use less energy, then build-out the much lesser capacity systems needed for the energy still being used. This is so simple. Most people get it, but most pro-carbon tax folks do not.

 

Pro-carbon tax folks want to have the unilateral carbon tax now, so the state government would set up various programs, and folks would have to go through various hurdles to qualify to get some of their money back; most folks would never qualify. Here is one way the money would be used.

 

Various subsidies would be used to finance high-efficiency duplex mobile home communities in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, with solar panels on the roofs and batteries on the wall, and efficient appliances and lighting, and heat pumps. It would be part of GMP’s expensive “islanding/microgrid” fantasy. Here are examples of such a state-subsidized boondoggles.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/pv-solar-sonnen-combo-l...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-and-...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/subsidized-solar-system...

 

The low-income residents likely would:

 

- Have minimal or no heating and electric bills

- Pay minimal or no rent

- Get food stamps and qualify for Medicaid, and other welfare goodies

- Pay minimal or no income and school taxes

- Sing the praises of the good that befell to them in pro RE press releases

- Vote for Democrat legislators forever

 

Who pays for all the subsidies?  

Who pays the resulting higher prices for goods and services? 
Answer: Those who will pay the carbon taxes, and other taxes, surcharges and fees.

Anytime a politician says he going to extort a tax from you and “give it all back”, he actually means, give some of it to back you, with most of it to his favorite constituents who voted for him.

 

Efficiency Vermont is a notoriously wasteful, quasi-government program, audited on a cozy basis, by the PUC.

EV, financed with an onerous, ever-increasing, $65 million surcharge on electric bills, is a perfect example of taxing the many and giving to the few who are “deserving”, i.e., willing to do things the expensive EV way to get some money back.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/efficiency-vermont

 

In the meantime, Vermont ranks 48th on business climate, per Forbes. A unilateral carbon tax, and more government-directed, socialist-style redistribution programs will make it even worse. State-directed, socialist-style economics was practiced in the USSR and Cuba. We all know how that worked out.

http://truenorthreports.com/forbes-ranks-vermont-48th-for-business-...

 

Carbon Taxes, Subsidies and Cost Shifting: Senator Bray of Vermont does not get it. He announced he wants to eliminate the sales tax on the first $30,000 cost of buying an EV. He wants to SHIFT the burden of sales taxes from a few upscale-income buyers of electric vehicles onto all other taxpayers. That means upscale-income people benefit at the expense of others.

 

This means 1) an $1800 saving for the upscale-income buyers, 2) the state having less revenue and 3) the state having bigger CHRONIC deficits, and 4) other taxpayers paying more. There is no free lunch, except in LaLaLand.

 

Legislators like Bray have been giving away the store to please RE constituents for at least a decade.

Did Vermont's annual CO2 decrease due to all these RE giveaways these last 10 years? No!

Throw more money at it? Oh yes, says Bray and other legislators.

All the hyping about reducing CO2 to "save the world" was just for the benefit of RE interests and to bamboozle the long-suffering Vermonters.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/subsidized-solar-system...

Legislators sponsoring carbon taxes likely have near-zero experience designing energy systems and the economic impacts of their mandates. About 25 Democrat legislators just get on the carbon tax bandwagon with their Essex Plan and rah-rah along.

- Legislators and Vermonters have no idea how much has been given away in terms of tax credits, subsidies, accelerated write offs, surcharges and fees by various energy bills and mandates over the years.
- No rational central accounting exists. The numbers are all spread over the place, likely on purpose.
- Almost nothing it properly vetted and exposed to the public.
- The state auditor likely knows about some of it, but apparently ignores it.

- VT-DPS, GMP and hired consultants agree, behind closed doors, to give GMP very generous 9+% return on assets, PLUS a 5% rate increase for 2018, with more such increases to follow in 2019, 2020, etc. These RE build-outs are soooo expensive.

The RE shenanigan factor is much bigger than the $200 million EB-5 fraud (the largest ever in the US), and $200 million healthcare website fiascos.

When recurring revenue gaps occur, legislators and bureaucrats pretend to have not a clue as to how that came about.

 

A unilateral carbon tax, $240 to $300 million PER YEAR, would further aggrandize state government, would raise the ante of foolish spending by about a factor of 3 - 4, and increase social discord.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-energy-transfor...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-state-governm...

Vermont Lagging Behind Other NE States: Vermont has been sliding backwards regarding economic growth, compared to other NE states during 2012-2016, because of various expensive follies, such as:

 

- The huge adverse impact of all the state mandated, expensive, subsidized renewables
- The state usurping dominance in centralizing control of education, instead of local control of education
- Socialist-style experimenting with healthcare systems

- Vermont having a bloated, inefficient government that suffocates the private sector.

 

These follies have become an increasing headwind that further reduces the near-zero, real-growth of the anemic Vermont economy.
http://truenorthreports.com/the-essex-plans-exaggerated-growth-claim

1) Vermont Unilateral Carbon Tax an Economic Headwind:

The infamous ESSEX plan is a big, multi-decade, government-directed, socialistic, wealth transfer tax from the tax-paying middle class to the tax-consuming lower class. It is a vote-getting project of big-government Democrats and Progressives. It will do NOTHING to reduce global warming.

 

Various RE interests and lobbyists are going around the state to promote a unilateral carbon tax to boost RE businesses, because future federal subsidies will be decreasing. 

 

The unilateral carbon tax would take $240 to $300 million out of people’s pockets and transfer it to the state government. A unilateral carbon tax would significantly increase the cost of gasoline and diesel for driving, and of fuel oil and propane for heating.

 

As part of various state programs, some people would get some money back as rebates, many others would get nothing back, or much less than paid in, similar to Efficiency Vermont’s surcharge on electric bills.

The owners of low/medium income rental apartment buildings (mostly in Burlington, Rutland, Montpelier, etc.), a powerful lobby in Montpelier, would get carbon tax funds to 1) insulate and seal their buildings, and 2) install subsidized solar systems (Chinese panels), subsidized heat pumps (Japanese) and subsidized Powerwall 2.0 batteries (Arizona); hard-earned money leaving Vermont.

For Vermont to impose a unilateral carbon tax would make its economy less competitive versus other states, i.e., more brain drain, more TAX-PAYING households leaving the state (TAX-CONSUMING households are staying), and fewer good-paying, steady, full-time jobs, with good benefits in the private sector. A unilateral carbon tax would be another headwind for the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

 

A unilateral carbon tax would further aggrandize Vermont’s government, which is too large, too inefficient, is bloated with programs, and is spending too much money and running annual deficits that are offset with annual increases of taxes, fees and surcharges, as if money grows on trees.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-energy-transfor...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/unilateral-regressive-c...

 

After six long years of out-of-control government spending, Vermont finally has a governor, who aims to reduce the bloated, wasteful state government to enable the anemic, hollowed-out private sector to start growing again.

2) Vermont’s Goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”

The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, has a non-binding goal to have “90% RE of all primary energy by 2050”.

That goal would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017 - 2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network 2015 Annual Report.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-s-90-percent-re...

Not counted is the refurbishment and replacement of short-lived wind and solar systems, and cost of financing, etc., during the 2017 - 2050 period.

 

The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, fees and surcharges totaling about $1.0 billion per year for 33 years. It would require many, inefficient, government programs to implement it and redistribute the money. It would lead to gross aggrandizement of state government.

3) Heat Pumps Oversold by Efficiency Vermont and EV-Approved Contractors

 

Matt Cota, executive director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association testified: “Cold climate heat pumps are inadequate during the colder days in winter. Many households with heat pumps found they could not adequately heat their houses. They had to turn off the heat pumps, which are very inefficient in cold weather, and turn on their oil and propane stoves or their wood stoves.”

 

Highly Energy-Efficient Houses: About 10 percent of all houses in Vermont are highly energy-efficient houses. Air-source* heat pumps, if of sufficient capacity (they should be sized for the heating demand for worst conditions, i.e., cold days), can extract enough heat from the cold outdoor air to heat those houses, without having to turn on propane furnaces, oil furnaces, and wood stoves.

* Ground-source heat pumps, use the soil to extract heat. The soil temperature is a near-constant 50 F throughout the year, at about 6 ft below grade, ideal for the highly efficient operation of heat pumps. Such heat pump systems should be installed when a house is built. Such a house could have heated floors using 100 F water. It would need a ventilation system to ensure at least 0.5 air changes per hour to each room.

 

Highly energy-efficient houses likely would be candidates for heat pumps, after successful results from:

 

1) Initial blower door test to determine existing leakage rate, ft^3/h

2) Analysis of three years of heating bills to determine the effectiveness of existing insulation

3) Calculated heating demand reduction from sealing, additional insulation, and from replacement of windows and doors.

4) After blower door test to determine new leakage rate, ft^3/h

 

Average Energy-Efficient and Energy-Hog Houses: About 80 to 90 percent of all houses in Vermont are average energy-efficient and energy-hog houses. If such houses have air-source heat pumps (about $3500/heat pump), their owners, likely to their surprise and dismay, have to turn on their propane furnaces, oil furnaces, and wood stoves to keep warm during cold days in winter, because air-source heat pumps cannot extract enough heat from the cold outdoor air to heat their houses.

 

These houses are not candidates for heat pumps, unless very significant energy efficiency upgrades are made, which usually are very costly. The uninformed owners, who installed air-source heat pumps anyway, likely got caught up into the “save the world” mantras, promoted by:

 

1) Efficiency Vermont, a quasi-government entity, spending about $70 million per year. By means of clever PR, glossy reports, etc., EV has managed to convinced lay people, the DPS, PUC, and many legislators, heat pumps will save them money, etc.

 

2) Installation contractors, approved by Efficiency Vermont. EV does not pay a subsidy to the homeowner, unless EV-approved contractors, who usually charge higher prices than normal, install the heat pumps.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/efficiency-vermont

 

4) Requirements for a 2000 sq. ft. House to be “Off-the-Grid”

 

The house envelope must be insulated (roof R-60, walls R-40, basement R-20, windows R-6, doors R-10) and sealed (0.6 air changes per hour, or less, during a blower door test @ 50 pascal, about Passivhaus level), to minimize energy requirements for heating, cooling and electricity. Heating and cooling would be with air-source or geothermal source heat pumps. One air change per hour, ACH, for a 2000 ft^2 house is about 16000 ft^3, excluding the basement.

 

NOTE: Typical NE houses, 10 to 20 years old, have leakage rates of 3 - 5 ACH @ 50 pascal, and would be totally unsuitable for space heating with heat pumps. Yet, installation contractors, approved by Efficiency Vermont, and eager to make a buck, persuade homeowners to install heat pumps anyway. Homeowners have no idea they likely will have inadequately heated houses during colder winter days.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/blower-door-...

 

All this adds about 10% to the house envelope capital cost for air-source heat pumps, about 15% for geothermal source heat pumps. Land, sitework, septic, well, etc., are not part of the house envelope. 

 

The appliances must be high-efficiency and programmable to manage the household daily demand curve according to the weather. For example, the washer/dryer would be operated during sunny periods, not during cloudy/rainy/snowy periods; LED lights would go on/off upon entering/leaving a room. Here is a daily demand curve for a typical household.

https://topromotetheprogress.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/smart-meters-...

 

The house would be oriented to solar south and have:

- A roof-mounted solar system, 10 kW; production in Vermont, 12,500 kWh/y; turnkey capital cost $35,000

- 2 Tesla Powerwall 2.0 battery units; AC to AC round-trip efficiency 90%; input 14.74 AC, stored 14 kWh DC, output 13.3 kWh AC; turnkey capital cost $16000.

https://dgit.com/tesla-powerwall-specs-price-battery-10214/

- A propane-fired generator, 3 - 5 kW, to top off batteries, as needed, mostly during winter; turnkey capital cost $1000.

- A well-insulated domestic, domestic hot water storage tank, 300-gallon, with 1) electric resistance heater and 2) propane-fired heater in the basement.

- Centrally located heat pump with air supply/return ducts for each room, 0.5 ACH.

In heating mode, the heat pump receives a mixture of 50% recirculated air and 50% pre-heated, filtered, fresh air and delivers warm air as needed. The preheating allows the heat pump to operate at a higher COP.

In cooling mode, the heat pump receives a mixture of 50% recirculated air and 50% pre-cooled, filtered, fresh air and delivers cool air as needed.

- Air-to-air heat recovery unit, efficiency 85%, to preheat incoming fresh air and ventilation stale air to the outdoors, located in air supply duct, upstream of heat pump.

- HEPA filter to reduce pollen, bacteria and spores, located in air supply duct, likely upstream of heat recovery unit.

- A back-up, thermostatically controlled electric heater, about 2 kW, for space heating, located in air supply duct, downstream of heat pump.

 

Excess electricity could be used to heat an outdoor Jacuzzi, Sauna, or to top off the charge of a plug-in hybrid or EV, during the Spring, Summer and Fall.

 

NOTE: The actual stored energy in the Powerwall 2.0 is 14/0.70 = 20 kWh DC, because the unit is maximally charged up to 95% and minimally discharged down to 25%, i.e., 20/0.95 = 21.05 kWh AC enters the battery. The delivered 14 x 0.95 = 13.3 kWh AC depletes the battery by 14 kWh DC. The remaining charge, 20 - 14 = 6 kWh DC, stays in the battery.

 

NOTE:

R = delta t/heat flux = delta t/(energy rate/unit area)

R (US units) = 1 F/{(Btu/h)/ft^2} = (1 F.ft^2)/(Btu/h) = (5/9 K x 0.092903 m^2/ft^2)/(1055.0556 J/3600 s) = 0.17611 K.m^2/W

RSI (SI units) = K/{(joule/s)/m^2} = K. m^2/(joule/s) = 1 K.m^2/W

RSI = 5.67826 x R

 

F = 5/9 K

ft^2 = 0.092903 m^2

Btu = 1055.0556 joule

h = 3600 s

W = J/s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-value_(insulation)

 

5) Rebuild Grid Systems to Accommodate Electric and Hybrid Plug-ins

 

At a neighborhood BBQ I was talking to a neighbor, an electric utility employee

I asked him what he thought about the impact of electric vehicles. He said: 

“If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, you have to face certain realities.  

For example, a home charging system for a Tesla Model S requires 75 Amp service.  

Most houses have 100 Amp service, a small percentage of houses have 200 Amp service.  

On our street (about 25 houses), the local grid would be able to carry 3 houses with one Tesla Model S each.  

If half the houses had one electric vehicle each, the grid would be wildly over-loaded.

This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles.  

The residential grids cannot carry the load. 

As our genius legislators, etc., promote this nonsense, they urge us to:

- Buy these electric vehicles to save the world.

- Replace our reliable, low-cost generating systems with expensive wind and solar electricity

- Rebuild our entire grid system and add expensive electricity storage. This latter "investment" would not be revealed until we are far down the road. It will be presented with an OOPS... and a shrug”

 

NOTE:

Owners of gasoline vehicles pay a tax on every gallon for driving their vehicles.

The tax pays for maintenance of the roads.

Electric vehicle owners will get huge subsidies to buy their vehicles.

Electric vehicle owners will use the roads, but will not pay for their maintenance.

All is fair in LaLaLand.

 

6) Energy-Surplus Buildings and Plug-in Vehicles: Turning around the US building stock to energy-surplus buildings, and the vehicle stock towards plug-ins would take some decades.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/evs-and-plug-in-hybrids...

 

Ideally, all residential and other buildings should be energy-surplus buildings, with:

 

1) Highly insulated and sealed

2) Energy efficient systems and lighting,

3) Heat pumps for space heating and cooling and hot water,

4) Battery systems

5) Thermal storage systems

6) PV solar systems 

 

Such buildings would:

 

1) Take a long time to warm up or cool down, i.e., the internal temperature would vary just a few degrees during a day, even though the outside temperature would vary 30 degrees or more.

2) Use minimal energy for heating, cooling and electricity (Btu/ft2/y)

3) Have enough electricity left over to charge plug-in vehicles at night.

 

Such a setup would greatly reduce the daily variation in electrical demand, and thus reduce the need for generating capacity, MW.

 

However, almost all of the building stock in California is very far from highly insulated and sealed, etc., as is the building stock in New England. They are energy-hog buildings. Placing solar panels on the roofs of such buildings makes for good visuals, but creates grid disturbing duck curves, which requires various measures, including expensive battery storage systems.

 

 

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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