VERMONT FAR FROM MEETING CO2eq REDUCTION GOALS

Based in the latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update 1990 - 2013, issued July 2017, it appears there has been an increase in CO2eq emissions from 8.378 million metric ton in 1990 to 8.745 MMt in 2013. The numbers for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 likely were about the same as 2013. See table 1.

http://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents...

 

NOTE: It is truly amazing Germany, with a hugely more complex economy than Vermont, has up-to-date CO2eq data for 2017, but Vermont only manages to come up with 2013 data in July 2017.

 

If the CO2eq of wood burning is added, the CO2eq becomes about 10.0 MMt in 1990 and 10.8 MMt in 2013.

If Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry are subtracted, the CO2eq becomes 5.2 MMt in 1990 and 6.350 MMt in 2013.

 

The CO2eq sequestering of the forests has decreased, because of:

1) Less forest acreage, due to encroachments and development.

2) Increased clearcutting, roads, and other development within forests, which reduces sequestering, CO2eq/acre.

3) About 50% of standing timber being of low quality and suitable only for burning.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/is-wood-burning-carbon-...

 

Table 1/Year/Source

1990

2000

2005

2011

2012

2013

Share

Units; million Mt

%

Electricity

1.090

0.430

0.640

0.430

0.930

0.810

9.26

Transportation

3.220

3.990

4.200

3.680

3.640

3.660

41.85

Res’l/Com’l/Ind’l

2.450

2.900

3.000

2.460

2.220

2.450

28.02

Fossil fuel

0.008

0.004

0.004

0.004

0.005

0.005

0.05

Waste

0.270

0.360

0.340

0.290

0.240

0.220

2.52

Agriculture

1.130

1.150

1.060

1.040

1.020

1.010

11.55

Ind’l Processes

0.210

0.590

0.600

0.690

0.650

0.590

6.75

Total # 1

8.378

9.424

9.844

8.594

8.705

8.745

100.00

Wood combustion

1.622

1.976

2.056

1.906

1.896

2.055

Total # 2

10.000

11.400

11.900

10.500

10.600

10.800

LU, LUC, F

-4.80

-4.45

Total # 3

5.200

6.350

VT forest area; million acres

4.6

4.5

Aboveground C; million Mt

110.0

128.0

 

Vermont CO2eq Increased Despite Huge RE Investments for 23 years: Vermonters and out-of-state entities have spent at least $5.0 billion trying to reduce CO2eq emissions from 1990 - 2013, about 5.0/23 = $220 million per year, including Efficiency Vermont.

 

That total includes federal and state grants, various subsidies, reduced tax collections due to rapid depreciation write offs, and investments by private and government entities. The money was spent on insulation and sealing, new heating systems, and renewable energy programs.

 

However, it appears Vermont’s CO2eq reduction efforts have been unsuccessful so far. For at least a decade, I have been advocating net-zero-energy and energy-surplus housing and other buildings and gas-guzzler taxes to get higher mileage vehicles off the road. Those two sectors contribute about 70% of Vermont’s CO2eq. See table 1.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/energy-efficiency-first...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/reducing-the-energy-use...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/comparison-of-grid-conn...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/comparison-of-energy-ef...

 

Electricity CO2eq was only 9.26% of the 8.745 MMt in 2013, but wind and solar has been receiving most of government attention, because lucrative grants, various generous subsidies and reduced tax collections due to rapid depreciation write-offs were available to politically well-connected, high-income people, if they invested in such projects.

 

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

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-oversold-by-...

 

Vermont CO2eq Reduction Goals: Based on the values in table 2, it appears optimistic goals were set which had no chance of being achieved, based on the historical results of policies and programs.

 

Table 2

Year

Actual MMt

Goal MMt

Below 1990

 

1990

8.378

 

 

 

2012

8.705

6.29

25%

 

2013

8.745

 

 

 

2028

 

4.20

50%

CEP

2030

 

5.03

40%

CEP; high

2050

 

2.10

75%

CEP; Medium

2050

 

1.68

80%

CEP; Low

2050

 

0.42

95%

 

If spending of $220 million/y leads to an increase in Vermont’s CO2eq/y, it is clear much higher levels of spending are needed to level out and reduce CO2eq/y.

 

The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, goals aim to “transform” the Vermont economy. It 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.

 

The CEP could not be implemented without very high carbon taxes, and other taxes, surcharges and fees, for a total spending of at least $970 million per year for 33 years. It would benefit the RE sector of the economy, but almost all other sectors would suffer, i.e., that level of spending would totally ruin the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

 

http://eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EAN-2015-Annual-Report-...

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

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

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

 

NOTE: The same is true for world CO2eq, which continues to increase, despite spending of about $250 to $300 billion per year. Germany, a very rich country, has the same level of CO2eq in 2017, as in 2009, despite spending at least 225 billion euro during the past 9 years.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-world-making-almost...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/germany-not-meeting-co2...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop21-ipcc-co2-emission...

Vermont Electricity Sector CO2: The results of four CO2eq calculation methods are summarized in the below table. This URL has a detailed description of each method.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/methods-for-determining...

 

Method

Basis

Data Year

Metric ton

Method 1

VT consumption, based on electricity drawn from NE grid

2015

1,316,385

Method 2

VT consumption, as calculated by ISO-NE

2015

581,053

Method 3

VT generation and purchased, as calculated by VT-DEC method

2013

810,000

Method 4

VT generation by McNeal/Ryegate, as calculated by EPA method

2015

657,733

 

VT-DEC Method: Per VT-DEC Report: “Greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector in Vermont (Figure 8) are calculated based on electricity consumption data and electric utility purchase decisions (supplied by VT DPS). By using this accounting methodology, the emissions from the generation of all the electricity used in Vermont are accounted for, instead of just the electricity that is generated within the state.” See URL, page 10.

http://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/aqc/climate-change/documents...

 

VT-DEC uses its own method based on generation within the state (data obtained from VT-DPS) and utility purchases of instate and out-of-state electricity (data obtained from VT utilities and VT-DPS). The total CO2eq is also affected by:

 

1) Renewable energy credits, sold or not sold

2) The varying Residual Mix (mostly electricity purchased on the NE wholesale market). 

 

The VT-DEC method yields mostly an artificial "paper" CO2eq. It has nothing to do with physical reality. The result is a much a higher CO2eq than calculated by the ISO-NE and EPA methods.

 

Vermont utilities generate instate electricity and buy instate RE and out-of state nuclear and renewable electricity, including hydro from Hydro-Quebec, plus a buy a varying quantity of “Residual Mix” (wholesale purchases, which have an ISO-NE determined lb CO2eq/MWh).

 

If RECs of the RE (mostly wind and solar) are sold out of state, that RE losses its CO2eq attributes and must be added to the “dirty Residual Mix”.

 

The VT-DEC method is contrived, not based on physics, plus it significantly overstates Vermont's CO2eq emissions.

APPENDIX 1

Subsidies and Cost Shifting are the Lifeblood of Wind and Solar: The prices, c/kWh, of wind and solar power purchase agreements, PPAs, are significantly reduced, mostly due to the various subsidies and cost shifting of 1) variability and intermittency, 2) grid enhancement and 3) storage onto the general public.

 

Studies comparing LCOEs of wind and solar plants with traditional plants are flawed, if:

- The various subsidies and the cost shifting are not properly accounted for.

- Useful service lives are assumed too long for wind and solar and too short for traditional plants.

- Capacity factors, CFs, are assumed too high for wind and solar and too low for traditional plants.

 

APPENDIX 2

Various Subsidies for Wind and Solar: Because of the various subsidies, taxpayers and rate payers are forced to pay 1) higher monthly electricity bills, 2) higher prices for goods and services, and 2) taxes to finance various subsidies for wind, solar and other RE producers. Here is a partial list:

 

- The federal ITC, 30% of the qualified portion of the turnkey capital cost. The federal ITC is an upfront, tax credit that can be applied against any of owner’s taxes.

- The state ITC, usually a percentage of the federal ITC. The state ITC is an upfront, tax credit that can be applied against any of owner’s taxes.

- The federal production tax credit, PTC, of 2.4 c/kWh for the first 10 years of operation, a subsidy of 2.4/5 = 48% of the US average wholesale price. No wonder owners are crowing about underbidding traditional generating plants. For example, in areas with good winds, low construction costs and low operation and maintenance costs (Texas, Great Plains), if an owner’s cost is 7.3 c/kWh and he deducts 2.4 c/kWh as PTC, then his bid price could be 4.9 c/kWh, which is sufficient to get the contract, in most cases, and “competitive” with traditional plants.

- The federal and state tax savings due to rapid depreciation write-offs in about 5 to 6 years, much more rapid than normal utility equipment write-off schedules of 10 to 20 years. Having tax savings earlier, instead of later, is financially more advantageous.

- The exemption of equipment purchases from the state sales tax and from the education property tax.

- Selling wind electricity at generous feed in tariffs of about 9 - 10 c/kWh in areas with high capital costs and low capacity factors (CFs), such as New England.

- Selling solar electricity at generous feed in tariffs of about 13.5 - 14.5 c/kWh in areas with high capital costs and low capacity factors, such as New England.

- Selling renewable energy credits, RECs, which lower the utility purchased RE energy cost by up to 50%.

- Loan guarantees by the federal and state government, which lower the interest rate of the funds borrowed from private entities, because the federal and state government assume the risk of the loans.

 

NOTE:

Wind ITC and Wind PTC decrease in 2017, 2018, 2019, and expire in 2020.

Solar ITC decreases in 2020, 2021, and expires in 2022.

APPENDIX 3

Energy on the Grid: Once electricity is fed into an electric grid, it travels as electromagnetic waves, at somewhat less than the speed of light, on un-insulated wires, i.e. from northern Maine to southern Florida, about 1800 miles in 0.01 of a second, per Physics 101. On insulated wires, the speed, on average, is about 2/3 the speed of light. The electrons vibrate at 60 cycles per second, 60 Hz, and travel at less than 0.1 inch/second. It is unfortunate most high school teachers told their students electrons were traveling and likely never told them about EM waves, or did not know it themselves.

http://www.djtelectricaltraining.co.uk/downloads/50Hz-Frequency.pdf

 

This article explains in detail what happens when electricity is fed to the grid.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/popular-misconceptions-...

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Comment by Willem Post on March 23, 2018 at 10:11am

Art,

Gas has replaced it.

The NE grid CO2 intensity increased.

Closing Vermont Yankee Increased New England CO2 Emissions: The closing of Vermont Yankee increased NE grid CO2 emissions from 28 million ton in 2014 to 30.2 million ton in 2015. See URL. The NE System CO2 intensity was 730 in 2013, 726 lb/MWh in 2014 and 747 lb/MWh in 2015. See table 1.1 in URL.

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2017/01/2015_emissio...

http://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2016/01/2014_emission...

 

Comment by Art Brigades on March 18, 2018 at 5:38pm

It will be interesting to see Vermont's CO2 emissions (one of the top three states in the USA) since the Vermont Yankee nuclear station closed. Presumably that plant contributed a large share of the state's load. Has Hydro Quebec essentially replaced it, or have older dirtier plants filled the void?

First Prize

NE Book Festival

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

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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