Sticker shock! $2.2 billion needed for ‘green’ electricity infrastructure

Lawmakers expect ratepayers to pick up part of cost

By Rob Roper

As the legislature takes up the Climate Action Plan’s recommendation to electrify pretty much everything in Vermont by the year 2050, including home/business heating and transportation, a big question is how are we supposed to create and deliver enough electricity to actually do that. And, of course, how much might it cost.

Rob Roper

Testimony to this issue came before the House Energy & Transportation Committee this week, and the answer to the latter question is $2.2 billion in upgrades – to start. This price tag just represents the “top priorities” the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority deems necessary for moving away from fossil fuels.

The breakdown of the $2.2 Billion request falls into four categories: Resilience & Reliability ($771,881,477), Grid Modernization ($89,594,826), Energy Transformation Equity ($676,575,095), and Distributed Generation Integration ($668,192,000). Click HERE to see further breakdowns and explanations.

Some of this money will likely come from federal sources as part of the ARPA program, but exactly how much was not known. This is just an immediate request for what they think it will take to meet the infrastructure needs of the Climate Action Plan.

Replacing oil, propane, natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuels with electricity – and preferably, according the Climate Council, with in-state renewables – ultimately will at least double demand for electricity. The problem is, we don’t create that level of electricity now. If we did, we don’t have the grid capacity to deliver it to homes and businesses. And, if we did, 75% of homes in Vermont are not wired to handle the levels of electricity necessary to heat their air and water and charge an electric vehicle or two. The cost to upgrade a home from a 100 amp panel to a 200 amp service is on average between $2500 to $4000 per home, with a range of hundreds of dollars up to $10,000.

We did get some hint as to where this money will come from. Energy & Technology Committee chairman, Tim Briglin (D-Thetford) warned that we can all expect to see higher fees on our electric bills in the future. “Some of this is going to be funded through electric rates. Certainly we want to minimize those costs for Vermont ratepayers, but some of this stuff is going to wind up there.”

Although Vermont’s electrical grid does need to be upgraded regardless of the Climate Action Plan, this policy choice to go “all electric” is making this way more expensive and complicated than it needs to be.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Categories: Energy

11 replies »

  1. Given historical cost overruns, doubling the $2,200,000,000.00 might be a more accurate starting point. As Mr. Roper points out, This is” just an immediate request for what they think it will take to meet the infrastructure needs of the Climate Action Plan.”
    Remember too, that the immediacy of the GWSA requires this work be done, well immediately.
    (remember, AOC says we have less than 10 years…)
    Environmental regulations have to be complied with…or do they? Hearings, appeals Impact statements and other such bureaucratic obstacles will delay and dramatically increase cost.
    In the end, this whole charade may end up as peter shumlin’s single payer boondoggle- dropped because there just isn’t enough money in Vermont to pay for it.

  2. “a big question is how are we supposed to create and deliver enough electricity to actually do that. And, of course, how much might it cost.”…Propeller Beanies are just around the corner folks..Mandated…

  3. I have heat pump split and when it gets to 25 degrees or lower they don’t keep the home warm enough so I switch to my oil heat to keep warm! Heat pumps will not cure/solve the oil problem, sorry!

  4. We’re told that to meet “top priorities”, which apparently doesn’t include meeting all priorities, will take $2.2 billion to move away from fossil fuels……So the transformational and maintenance cost are very likely to be much higher than $2.2 Billion.

    Did I hear correctly from the attached video: Melissa Bailey from the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (presumedly the expert) tells us that transformational plus maintenance costs would be embedded in the electric rates that “Vermont consumers would pay for over and over again” and that required investment “would likely pay off”!

    Has the Climate Council proposed fixes that will cost Vermont consumers billions without knowing if the solutions will payoff? Who makes multi-billion dollar investments without great certainty on the outcome or payoff? With public money investments, the return should be close to a sure thing……not just likely.

    The attached video reinforces the fear that the legislature and in turn the Climate Council do not know what they’e doing in addressing climate change……..Would you invest your kids’ college tuition money or your retirement savings in something that is not certain, but only likely to payoff?…….I don’t think so.

  5. That 2.2 bil is just an guesstimate, I’ll bet you that by time all is said and done they will have spent double that amount, just sayin…..

  6. Is the 2.2B today’s dollars? If so then then when inflation is taken into consideration the final figure is going to be far far higher by the time 2050 rolls around.

  7. This would be a joke if they weren’t so ignorant and dedicated to disrupting our lives while bankrupting us. I have news for you; electric heat pumps will not work at the temps we get in the winter. Even the few expensive cold climate heat pumps don’t heat a house when it’s zero degrees let alone 10 or 20 below. Backup heating is always required. If you’re home, fit and able to be there one can use a woodstove. Many people are unable to handle firewood and many housing units are unsuitable for woodstoves. The only alternative would be significant use of oil or gas heating systems.

    I’m personally so very tired of these people trying to dictate how we live to “solve” a problem that isn’t solvable. Even if humans were actually responsible for “climate change “, there’s absolutely nothing Vermont can do that would make any noticeable impact despite bankrupting us all. But I figure the next ice age will help them figure out what’s really going on!

  8. VELCO is jumping up and down in front of “charade Committee hearings” to get its OK to donate VELCO an extra $2.2 billion to upgrade VELCO’s High Voltage grid, including very expensive battery systems, that cost at least 30c / kWh to operate, if financing, owners return on investment, and the degrading effects of aging are included in the economic evaluation, on a lifetime, A-to-Z basis. See URL

    Battery system life is 15 years or less.…

    $2.2 billion for Vermont’s HV grid, which takes just 5% of the NE grid load
    That HV grid “upgrading” would cost about 100%/5% x $2 billion = $40 billion for ALL OF NEW ENGLAND.

    That upgrading primarily benefits Vermont’s electric utilities, which will get a whole lot of goodies for free, so they can artificially keep down electric rates, which would help them promote heat pumps and electric vehicles, and make oodles of more money, by selling more electricity to sucked-dry, over-taxed, over-regulated ratepayers

    I have three heat pumps in my house.
    Turnkey capital cost was $24,000
    I do not use them at temps less than 15F, because the electricity cost per hour would be more, than my efficient propane furnace.


    I tested my kitchen heat pump when it was -20F in January 2022
    After about 20 minutes, all I got was luke warm air that was not sufficient to heat my kitchen!!


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