VERMONT’s 90% RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL TO COST $33 BILLION BY 2050

Almost immediately after the funds of the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act, ARRA, became available, many states, including Vermont, distributed some of the funds to a number of government and private renewable energy entities. Government programs with federal and state subsidies were created to attract in-state and out-of-state investments in renewable energy projects to create jobs and boost the economy.

 

In Vermont, the media were enlisted to build up an image of Vermont as a "renewable energy leader". Well-known foreign renewable energy leaders were invited to Vermont to give lectures about their renewable energy achievements.

 

A 520-page report of the Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, was created, which states an aspirational goal of “90% Renewable Energy of All Primary Energy by 2050”; electrical energy is only about 35% of all primary energy.

 

NOTE: No nation in the world, except Denmark, has such an extreme goal, however, Denmark is a special case, because of its proximity to Norway’s hydro plants to balance its wind energy. In the real world, almost all nations have much lower RE goals for primary energy than Vermont, and relatively few nations have high RE goals for electrical energy.

Denmark, Vermont, Germany: Germany has a goal to have almost all of its domestic electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2050. The Energiewende target is 80% RE by 2050. Thus, about 20% of domestic electricity consumption could continue to be from fossil fuels, such as natural gas, in 2050. Germany has a goal to have 60% RE of all primary energy by 2050.

 

Germany's goals are much less extreme than the "90% RE of all primary energy by 2050" goal of poor Vermont. It would be more reasonable and more affordable, if poor Vermont had a goal of about 40%. Present RE is about 16.5%. See below.

 

RE goals

Primary energy

 Elect’l prod’n

 Primary energy

H’sehold elect rate

 

% of total

 % by 2050

% by 2050

 

Denmark 2015

27.2

 100

100

30 euro c/kWh

Vermont 2016

16.5

 90

90

18 c/kWh

Germany 2016

12.6

 80

60

29 euro c/kWh

 

Germany is an Example of Not Reaching CO2 Goals: Germany’s CO2 emissions (from all sources) are about the same as in 2009. There is no way Germany, a big industrial nation, will meet its 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets. As part of the Energiewende, Germany is aiming to have:

 

- 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2050

- 60% of all primary energy from renewables by 2050

- 80% less CO2eq than in 1990, by 2050

 

The Energiewende surcharge on electric bills of German households was about 8 x 24 billion euro = 192 billion euro during these 8 years to gain ZERO CO2 emission reduction. Germany’s boasting about COP-21 and criticizing the US is just empty rhetoric.

 

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/german-carbon-emissions-rise-2...

http://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de/4-1-Home.html

http://revue-arguments.com/articles/index.php?id=76

 

Year

CO2eq

 Reduction below 1990

 

million Mt

 %

1990 actual

1251

 

2009 actual

907

 

2016 actual

906

 

2020 target

 751

  40

2030 target

 563

 55

2040 target

375

70

2050 target

250

80

 

Germany’s consumption of electricity from renewables has increased from 30.8%, 32.7%, and 35.1% in the first half of 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively.

 

But regarding the consumption of thermal energy for buildings, industry and commerce, and fuels for transportation, there has been so little change that the overall primary energy consumption from renewables has increased from 14.7%, 14.8% and 15.2% in the first half of 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively, which means Germany will not meet its 18% goal in 2020, 60% by 2050. See table.

http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-renewable-energy-use-rises-but-only-j...

 

Year

 Electricity

 Heat

 Transport

 Total

RE

%

%

%

%

2015, Jan-Jun

30.8

 13.5

5.7

14.7

2016, Jan-Jun

 32.7

13.3

5.5

14.8

2017, Jan-Jun

35.1

13.6

5.1

15.2

2020 goal

 

 

 

18.0

2050 goal

 

 

 

60.0

 

The electricity sector contributes only about 45% of Germany’s total emissions. The 100% decarbonizing of the electricity sector, which is already about 45% decarbonized (if we add nuclear) would reduce total emissions by about another 25%, not enough to achieve the targets in the above table. Yet Germany’s efforts to decrease emissions continue to concentrate on the electricity sector.

Excessive Denmark and German Household Electric Rates: Denmark and Germany implementing higher renewable energy percentages has led to higher household electric rates. The same would happen in Vermont. German household electric rates are the second highest in Europe, about 28.69 eurocent/kWh in 2015; Denmark is the leader with about 30 eurocent/kWh, Ireland is at 25 c/kWh, Spain 24 c/kWh, France, about 80% nuclear generation, 17 c/kWh. Click on URLs to see revealing graphs.

 

https://www.bdew.de/internet.nsf/id/DC9ABD3F2D97604DC1257F42002E507...

http://euanmearns.com/an-update-on-the-energiewende/

From Aspirational Goal to Mandate: Senator Bray introduced Bill S.51, titled “Consolidated Clean Energy Planning and Economic Opportunity Act” The bill proposes: to establish a statutory goal (a mandate), that, by 2050, 90 percent of Vermont’s total energy consumption be from renewable energy. It also proposes to establish additional supporting goals and to require State plans that affect energy to recommend measures to achieve these goals.

 

State and local bureaucrats would exhort Vermonters to spend $33.3 billion on various government-directed measures and programs that would cause their energy consumption to decrease, but the cost of their remaining energy consumption likely would be about 2 - 3 times present costs, as increases in taxes, surcharges and fees are added in future years.

 

An Easy Task for Utilities: It would be an easy task for Vermont utilities to achieve a Renewable Portfolio Standard, RPS, of “90% RE of their electricity supply”. They merely would have additional contracts to buy RE from in-state and out-of-state producers, and pass any costs onto ratepayers, per VT-Public Service Board, PSB, approval.

 

An Expensive Task for Vermonters: It would be extremely expensive for Vermonters to achieve “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”, as that would require a significant transformation of the Vermont economy. Vermonters would have to make investments of about $33.3 billion* during the 2017 - 2050 period, as estimated by the Vermont Energy Action Network. Vermont’s stakeholders prefer the renewable energy to be from mostly in-state sources, as that would maximize their revenues and profits.

* If the US were to adopt Vermont’s extreme 90% RE goal, the capital cost would be: US 325 million people/Vermont 0.625 million x $33.3 billion = $17.3 trillion, which is in the same ballpark as the $19.9 trillion US national debt.

Decreasing Federal Subsidies: Federal subsidies for wind, solar, and other renewable sources will be decreasing in future years. Table 2 shows:

 

- The Investment Tax Credit, ITC, and Production Tax Credit, PTC. Vermont has a solar ITC, which is about 15.6% of the federal ITC.

- A decreasing wind ITC and wind PTC.

 

Investors in wind turbines on Vermont’s ridgelines have a choice of either the 30% upfront ITC or the PTC for the first 10 years of project operation, plus the tax savings due to rapid asset depreciation. Owners use the tax credits to offset federal and state taxes on any other business.

 

The “accelerated depreciation" subsidy (within 6 years) remains for commercial owners after ITCs have expired. It reduces the income taxes of multi-millionaire investors.

 

No wonder pro-RE interests are crowing about wind and solar being so competitive with traditional electricity sources, such as coal, gas, nuclear and hydro. With enough subsidies and hiding/fuzzing various costs, anything can be made to look successful.

 

https://www.novoco.com/sites/default/files/atoms/files/path_act_sum...

http://www.seia.org/research-resources/impacts-solar-investment-tax...

 

Table 2

Wind ITC

 Wind PTC

Solar ITC Res’l

Solar ITC Com’l

 

%

c/kWh

%

%

2015/2016

 30

2.3

30

30

2017

24

 1.8

30

30

2018

18

1.4

30

30

2019

12

0.9

30

30

2020

Expired

Expired

26

26

2021

 

 

22

22

2022, etc.

 

 

Expired

10

NOTE: Warren Buffett, considered one of the outstanding investors of all-time, has stated: “On wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit”. Buffett has investments in multiple wind sites, as do many other multi-billion dollar entities. Buffett and his cohorts hire tax accountants/lawyers to refine the subsidy-milking art form, as well as PR pros and RE lobbyists to continually increase the milking, via higher RPS targets and renewed subsidy periods.

Reducing the 90% RE Goal to 40% or Less is An Economic Necessity: Reducing the 90% goal to 40% would be more affordable, and it could be implemented by means of:

 

- Significantly increased efficiency of buildings (such as net zero energy buildings and energy surplus buildings) and of transportation (such as by adherence to federal CAFE standards), which would be much better for Vermont, as it would decrease the energy bills for already-struggling households and businesses, and would decrease CO2.

- Significantly increased purchases of low-cost, low-CO2 emitting hydro energy from Hydro Quebec.

 

Both measures would significantly decrease the source energy, because any reduction due to energy efficiency by the user would have had a source energy of at least 2 - 3 times that reduction, and any hydro energy, with a source factor of 1, likely would displace electrical energy with a source factor of at least 2 - 3.

 

Both measures would be the lowest-cost and quickest way to reduce CO2, and would have minimal impact on the Vermont environment. They would be much better for Vermont, instead of additional, subsidized wind turbine systems on more than 200 miles of pristine ridgelines and solar systems on thousands of acres of fertile meadows, which produce energy, that is variable, intermittent, grid disturbing, health damaging, property value-lowering, environment-damaging, social-discord-creating, and expensive at 3 - 5 times NE annual average wholesale prices of 5 c/kWh.

 

The 40% goal would be more in line with other New England states and much less costly. See Table 2. There would be no need for an onerous and regressive carbon tax. With the 40% goal, source energy would be reduced by a quantity similar to the 90% goal, by getting more, low-cost, near CO2-free, hydro energy from Hydro-Quebec*.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/gmp-refusing-to-buy-add...

 

Pathway Source Energy Factors: Reducing source energy requires the use of energy sources with low ratios of source energy divided delivered energy; wind, solar, hydro, etc., have such low ratios.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/more-realistic-energy-s...

 

NOTE: Vermont Public Issues Research Group, VPIRG, mostly financed by RE stakeholders, commissioned a study by REMI, a consultant, which provided VPIRG, legislators, et al, with a report with pretty photographs, a rosy pro-carbon tax rationale, and various talking points, to bamboozle voters regarding the merits of the proposed carbon tax.

 

NOTE: In 2011, the electricity supplied to Vermont utilities was 6119.1 GWh, or 20.88 TBtu. That electricity required about 50.8 TBtu of primary energy, for an average conversion factor of 20.88/50.8 = 0.41, per the VT-Department of Public Service 2013 Utility Facts Report. Vermont’s 2010 total primary energy was 147.6 TBtu, thus electricity was 50.8/147.6 = 34.4% of total primary energy.

 

NOTE: “The Department of Public Service, DPS, in conjunction with other State agencies designated by the Governor, shall prepare a State Comprehensive Energy Plan covering at least a 20-year period”, per Vermont statute $202b. DPS, et al, arbitrarily selected the goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050”, without any feasibility and cost analysis. DPS correctly stated during a public information hearing: “It does not matter what Vermont does, because it would not make any difference regarding climate change and global warming”. Thus far, after waiting for years, Vermonters have not received any rational explanation of why that goal was selected. That goal is greatly in excess of what other New England states have as their goals.

 

Huge Capital Requirements for 90% RE: Vermont’s goal of attaining 90% of its energy from renewables by 2050 would require capital investments of at least $33.3 billion during the 2017-2050 period, about $1 billion per year, according to Vermont Energy Action Network’s 2015 annual report. That’s not counting interest and finance charges and replacements and refurbishments due to wear and tear. See Page 6 of annual report. That burden is far in excess of what the near zero, real-growth Vermont economy could afford. 

 

For the past 6 years, Vermont has been spending about $150 million/y on various energy investments, including federal and state subsidies and Efficiency Vermont. Primary energy RE went from 11.53% in 2010 to about 16.5% in 2016, or 0.83 %/y, which includes electricity, transportation energy and heating and cooling. It was made easier with very high federal and state subsidies, which will be decreasing in the near future.

 

Most of that spending affected the electrical part. As a result, Vermont utilities likely will meet 55% RE of their electricity supply by 2017, and 75% by 2032.

 

It would require a minimum of about $950 million/y between 2017 and 2050 to meet the 90% renewable goal. See Table 1, which is based on estimates by EAN, a consultant for Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, VEIC, and DPS. See URL.

 

Table 1; 90% RE Goal

EAN

Source energy*

Cum. Reduction

RE

RE

Cost

Total

 

 TBtu

%

TBtu

%

$billion

$billion

2010

148.40

 

13.76

11.53

 

 

2016

141.30

4.8

21.20

16.50

0.9

0.9

2020

 136.62

7.9

27.32

20

3.8

4.70

2030

116.61

21.4

46.64

40

9.5

14.20

2040

93.32

37.1

63.46

68

9.5

23.70

2050

94.37

36.4

84.84 

90

9.5

33.20

* EAN uses source energy from a mine or well to as delivered to user, such as a power plant, a building, a gas station, etc. DPS uses primary energy, i.e., as delivered to user, such as a power plant, a building, a gas station, etc., which is slightly less than source energy. Year 2016 obtained by interpolation.

 

Where would the many billions of additional money come from for the remaining electrical part, plus the much more expensive thermal and transportation parts?

 

Vermont is a relatively poor state with a stagnant population; a growing population of elderly and dependent people; state budget deficits year after year; a near zero, real-growth economy; and a very poor business climate. The last thing already-struggling Vermont households and businesses need is a doubling or tripling of energy prices to make the Vermont economy even less competitive.

 

If we were to reduce the goal to 40% renewable by 2050, it would still be a formidable task. That goal would require a minimum of about $420 million/y between 2017 and 2050. See Table 2. 

 

Table 2; 40% RE Goal

EAN

Source energy

Cum. Reduction

RE

RE

Cost

Total

 

 TBtu

%

TBtu

%

$billion

$billion

2010

148.40

 

13.76

11.53

 

 

2016

141.30

4.8 

21.20

16.5

0.9

0.9

2020

 136.62

7.9

25.96

19

1.7

2.59

2030

116.61

21.4

30.32

26

4.2

6.81

2040

93.32

37.1

30.80

33

4.2

11.03

2050

94.37

36.4

37.75 

40

4.2

15.26

Renewable Portfolio Standards: Renewable portfolio standards require utilities to have a percentage of their electricity supply from renewable sources. Two states, Hawaii and Vermont, require much higher percentages of renewable energy than any other state in the nation. As usual, Vermont, a poorer state, is setting excessively high RE goals that are too expensive to achieve.

 

Unlike Vermont, Hawaii is much closer to the equator, has steady trade winds and much sunshine, and has the highest electric rates in the United States. The Hawaii goal is reasonable, but the Vermont goal is economically unwise. See URLs and Table 3.

 

Table 3; RPS Goals  

State

Goal

Year

Goal

Year

Goal

Year

Goal

Year

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

CT

 27.0 

2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

RI

 14.5 

2019

 38.5

2035

 

 

 

 

ME

 40.0 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

NH

 24.8

2025

 

 

 

 

 

 

MA*

 15.0 

2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

VT

 55.0 

2017

75 

2032

 

 

 

 

HI

30.0 

2020

40

2030

70

2040

100

2045

 

* MA percent to increase by 1%/y after 2020; the ME and VT goals are higher because of hydro being counted as renewable.

Vermont Utilities Object to H-Q Hydro Energy For Business Reasons: Vermont utilities could satisfy the 75% RPS requirement within a few years (well before 2032) by buying more hydro energy from Hydro-Quebec.

 

Hydro-Quebec A Much Better Alternative Than Standard Offer: Hydro-Quebec has about 5600 MW of spare hydro plant capacity, and has under construction and in planning stages an additional 5000 MW of hydro plant capacity. Here a list of the benefits of hydro energy:

 

- Clean (no particulates, no SOX, no NOx)

- Low-cost (5 - 7 c/kWh, plus 1 c/kWh for transmission), much less than wind and solar

https://vtdigger.org/2015/01/28/utilities-want-flexibility-renewabl...

- Very low CO2/kWh emissions, much lower than wind and solar

- Steady, 24/7/365 energy, i.e., NOT variable and NOT intermittent, unlike wind and solar, which are weather dependent, variable cloudiness dependent, night and day dependent, and season dependent

- NO federal and state subsidies and investment tax credits

- NO capital outlays by Vermont’s government

- NO enriching of multi-millionaires and their lucrative, risk-free, tax shelters

- NO additional environmental impact in Vermont

- Private entities would own the transmission lines from Quebec to New England

- RECs would not be sold to out-of-state entities so they would be wearing the green halo, instead of Vermonters.

- Much less social discord than controversial wind on pristine ridgelines and solar in fertile meadows

 

Here are some URLs about increased hydro energy from Hydro Quebec.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/gmp-refusing-to-buy-add...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/more-energy-from-hydro-...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/increased-canadian-hydr...

 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

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

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://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?" https://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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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