Vermont renewable energy trade scheme comes under scrutiny

When Vermont policymakers discuss the state’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, the consensus is that the electric sector is doing pretty well. 

Vermont requires utilities to supply 75% of their energy renewably by 2032 — one of the highest mandates in the country — and multiple utilities are already 100% renewable. 

Nationally, electricity accounts for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions; in Vermont, electricity accounts for just shy of 10%.  

Critics say Vermont’s renewable energy standard encourages utilities to buy cheap renewable energy certificates, or RECs, from out of state that wouldn’t meet renewable requirements elsewhere. 

That means companies can tout in-state energy generation projects like wind and solar, sell the renewable “credits” to other states, then purchase cheaper credits from out-of-state projects like hydropower, and still count it toward their renewable targets. 

So although Vermont is leading the way on some renewable indicators, the numbers don’t tell the full story — and some think the Green Mountain State should follow what other states have done and adopt a stricter definition of renewables. 

Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, said the Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus, which she vice chairs, will be pushing this session to update the state’s renewable energy standard to require more in-state generation. 

“In our minds, it doesn’t really work to call our electric grid clean green when we’re not generating the new electricity that we need out of in-state generation,” she said. 

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Comment by Willem Post on September 26, 2019 at 2:41pm


HQ imports 98% hydro to the NE grid via a DC line.

As soon as that electricity is fed into the grid it spreads, as electro-magnetic waves at near the speed of light, throughout the NE grid as it is consumed.

ON PAPER, GMP has a contract to buy almost all that electricity at about 5.9 c/kWh for 20 years, a very good deal.

ON PAPER, GMP can claim the hydro as renewable to satisfy its legal requirements.

IN ACTUALITY, GMP physically draws electricity from the NE grid, which has 322g CO2/kWh, i.e., hardly renewable.

Comment by Frank J. Heller, MPA on September 26, 2019 at 1:29pm

I think Hydro Quebec is selling directly to the three Northern Vt. utility companies and bypassing the grid. Don't know, but the grid members don't seem to favor Hydro Quebec's invasion of their market. CMP is owned by a global energy company and seem to be above parochial opposition.

Comment by Willem Post on September 26, 2019 at 10:21am

It is amazing the multiple fallacies in this article. Will these legislator fantasizing people ever read, ever learn?

The only rational approach for Vermont is to:


1) Insulate and seal the existing and any new buildings as much as possible, so they will use the least Btu/sq ft/y for heating, cooling, hot water and electricity. The advantage is that the capacities of any heating and cooling systems would be minimal, and that any electricity purchased under power purchase agreements would be minimal.


2) Enter into power purchase agreements with owners of wind, solar and hydro systems equal to all electricity consumption of Vermont. The electricity from these three sources has minimal CO2 emissions. So Vermont can brag about that, as do many other entities.


Those agreements would be paper contracts, not physical contracts, because, in reality, all electricity fed into the New England grid anywhere, instantaneously becomes part of the mix on the NE grid, so any electricity drawn from the NE grid is that mix.


Electricity travels on the grid as electro-magnetic waves at near the speed of light, i.e., from northern Maine to southern Florida in about 0.01 second. Any talk by lay people of there being a Vermont mix, or New Hampshire mix is a pure fantasy.


The NE grid CO2 emissions were 322 g/kWh in 2016 and 309 g/kWh in 2017, as calculated by NE-ISO, the grid operator. Those values should be increased by about 7.5% to account for transmission and distribution losses from generator to user meter. Vermont can still brag about that, because it is much better than the US grid.




Here are two examples of ground source heat pumps:


Example 1: There are around two million single-family houses in Sweden, and approximately 20-25% of these houses are heated with a GSHP (2015 status)

They work great no matter the outside temperature, because the ground temperature always is about 55F, when outside it is about -20F in winter.


Example 2: My cousin lives on the ninth floor of a 12-story modern, condo building in Maassluis, the Netherlands.

The building is part of a housing complex of 20 buildings entirely provided with heating, cooling and domestic hot water from ground source heat pumps already for more than 35 years.

In the Netherlands, all that is old hat, routine BAU.

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."


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 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?" 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.”

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