Vermont Senator Bray is being pressured by the starry-eyed, "90% RE by 2050" folks (the latest trend is 100% RE, a nice round number). Many of those RE folks, a.k.a. "stakeholders" are looking to cash in as much federal and state subsidy money as possible, as quickly as possible. They use the mantra of fighting climate change, global warming and job creation. Other RE folks likely have near-zero experience in the analysis of energy systems.


Accordingly, Senator Bray, eager to do “constituent service” for the stakeholders, introduced Bill S.51, titled “Consolidated Clean Energy Planning and Economic Opportunity Act” which would turn the aspirational goal of “90% RE of All Primary Energy by 2050” into a 90% statutory mandate.


This likely was a ploy to trap Governor Scott into a decision he may regret. 


Senator Bray had to withdraw Bill S.51, because, as written, and standing on its own, it did not have the votes to override Scott’s veto.


Senator Bray took the number off the bill, and attached it to an innocent “Miscellaneous Energy Bill” which likely will be voted on near the end of the 2016 legislative session, when legislators will be eager to go home, or resurrected during the 2017 legislative session.


In the middle of the bill’s text you will find issues relating to the Comprehensive Energy Plan of 2016, CEP, pages 18 to 25, which specify in detail what various Town and Regional Energy Plans ARE FORCED to include, such as approvable RE technologies (mostly wind and solar), schedules of implementation, and cost estimates, to get approval of the DPS. 


"The Plan SHALL SEEK to implement the goal, and to ACHIEVE the goals...".



Towns are objecting to such mandated requirements, and to the requirement residential buildings and other buildings would have to get rid of their propane, gas and fuel oil systems, and replace them with heat pumps by certain dates.


In my opinion, that would be one way to start a grass roots revolution.


If starry-eyed RE proponents of the bill were to have enough votes to override a veto in the House, it would be a tragedy for Vermont’s near-zero-real growth economy.


1) Scott has said he supports the 90% RE goal, likely because it is an aspirational goal.  Scott never said he would support a 90% RE goal, if it were made into another expensive, onerous mandate. Does not anyone realize federal subsidies will be decreasing in future years?


Vermont’s lay people, and most legislators, have no idea what a “90% RE of ALL primary energy” mandate would imply, and that it would involve huge investments of about $1 BILLION PER YEAR FOR 35 YEARS.



As a mandate, the 90% RE goal cannot be implemented without a large number of major, government-run, taxing/redistribution programs, financed with a carbon tax.



During future decades, that would further aggrandize the already-bloated government sector and its centralized, coercive, command/control powers, at the expense of:


- The overburdened, already-hollowed-out, near-zero-real growth private sector, and

- Vermont’s 200 year-old tradition of local control.


Rich Germany versus Poor Vermont: Germany has a goal to have almost all of its final electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2050. The Energiewende targets are 35% RE of the final electricity consumption by 2020, 50% by 2030, 65% by 2040, and 80% by 2050. Final electricity consumption is understood to be by buildings, industry, commerce, agriculture and transportation. Thus, about 20% of final electricity consumption would continue to be from fossil fuels, such as natural gas, in 2050. 



Rich 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 Vermont had an RE goal of about 40%. Vermont's present RE is about 16.5%. See below table.



RE goals

Primary energy

 Elect’l prod’n

 Primary energy

H’sehold elect rate


% of total

 % by 2050

% by 2050


Denmark 2015




30 euro c/kWh

Vermont 2016




18 c/kWh

Germany 2016




29 euro c/kWh


2) For the past 6 years, Vermont has been spending about $150 million/y, including Efficiency Vermont, on various energy investments, which were boosted by very high federal and state subsidies. As a result Vermont’s primary energy RE* went from 11.53% in 2010 to about 16.5% in 2016, or 0.83 %/y.


The federal subsidies likely will be decreasing in the near future, so most of the future funding, in the form of a carbon tax, will be extorted from Vermont’s private sector.


* The fuel energy fed into power plants, buildings, industry, commerce and transportation, etc., is primary energy. The energy from mines, wells, forests, etc., is source energy.


If the 90% RE goal becomes a mandate, Vermont has to spend about $950 million/y for each of 33 years, as estimated by Energy Action Network. See Table 1 in URL.


If the goal were reduced to 40%, Vermont would have to spend about $420 million/y for each of 33 years.



3) This is the first time, after about 8 years, such data has been presented in tabular form so lay people can easily understand it. See URL


Even the 40% RE goal would be far beyond what the near zero, real-growth Vermont economy could afford.


Well-meaning, starry-eyed RE folks wishing for 90% or 100% RE is one thing, but facing the reality of numbers and paying for it, is quite something else.

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.





Table 2

Wind ITC

 Wind PTC

Solar ITC Res’l

Solar ITC Com’l




































2022, etc.






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.

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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 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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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."


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