Legislation

Green groups eye 2023 Legislature, want all energy from renewable power

by Ciara McEnanenany, Community News Service

Editor’s note: this news report was written last week, before Election Day.

Environmental groups see an opportunity to change Vermont’s energy standards and infrastructure next year as more than a third of the state’s legislators will be new to the State House.

“The number one priority is ensuring that, as we ask Vermonters to electrify everything, that all of our energy needs are met with 100% renewable energy from solar, wind and small-scale hydro sources, period,” said Peter Sterling, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont.

“Vermont’s current law does not meet this goal,” he said, “so we want to change Vermont’s renewable energy standards.”

Earlier this year, the state Department of Public Service released a new version of Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan that looked to expand on energy goals established in 2011 and 2016: That the state should meet 25% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2025, 45% by 2035 and 90% by 2050.

For the transportation sector, the 2022 plan called for meeting 10% of energy needs through renewable energy by 2025 and 45% of those needs by 2040; in the thermal sector those goals were 30% by 2025 and 70% by 2042. In the electric sector, the plan called for using carbon-free resources to produce all its electric energy by 2032, with at least three-quarters of energy needs using renewable resources.

Sterling said he believes Vermont has lost its position as the leading clean energy state in New England, and we need to play catch up.

Paul Burns, executive director of Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said for the state to meet its energy goals, legislators need to commit to building infrastructure — like expanded public transportation and new energy plants — that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the state’s reliance on fossil fuels.

“If you have any real hope of meeting that goal, there’s much that needs to be done in terms of establishing the infrastructure to make that work in the state,” Burns said. “And that will require a commitment on the part of this administration going forward for more infrastructure — for instance, charging stations and electric vehicles.”

The election next week is set to bring historic turnover to the Legislature — with similar levels of fresh faces running for statewide executive offices, too. More than a third of lawmakers will be new come January’s session. This high turnover in the Legislature poses a chance for environmental lobbying groups like Sterling’s and Burns’ to set the tone of the debate.

The two see a chance to make environmental issues a major focus for the new session.

“We are going to be setting up opportunities to connect with legislators, both new and those who are returning to office in the days following the election,” Burns said. “We’re planning a series of webinars that will be open to the legislators so that they can hear what issues we’re working on and some of the subjects that we hope to get done in this upcoming legislative session.”

Burns said he sees particular promise in the flood of funds the federal government gave out last year through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The COVID-19 relief act sent the state $2.7 billion to help sectors of the state that have been struggling since the onset of the pandemic. Legislators have already agreed to use $640 million of those funds to advance environmental initiatives, including clean water and action on climate change.

“It is viable now to say we need tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in order to try to avoid the worst catastrophes associated with climate change,” Burns said. “We really wish we could get alternatives to fossil fuels right now for heating, transportation, electricity, and that’s going to be a big, big push for us.”

You might think the good chunk of new legislators would make things harder. But Sterling said he believes his group’s biggest challenge lies in the governor’s office.

“I think by far the biggest challenge is that we have a governor who just really isn’t committed to taking the big steps necessary to combat climate change,” Sterling said.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has a recent history of vetoing bills focused on reducing the impact of climate change and protecting the environment that he sees as too costly, untransparent or restrictive, or that give more power to state agencies than he is comfortable with.

In 2020, he unsuccessfully vetoed the Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2025, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below that mark by 2050. The bill lets individuals sue the state into compliance if those goals aren’t met.

In May, Scott vetoed a bill that would have required fuel providers in Vermont to decrease how much fossil fuel they sell as a way to make heating more environmentally friendly. Then in June he vetoed a bill to set goals of conserving significant portions of Vermont’s land by 2030 and 2050.

Sterling said he sees that track record as a hurdle. “Until we have the governor on board with what everyone else is saying Vermont needs to do, it’s a real struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

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13 replies »

  1. Unrealistic demands, at least Scott had some sense to veto this nonsense.
    Without the infrastructure, sustainable energy dependency and affordability this is quite impossible.
    Those white benefit are the monopolized electric companies, the wealthy and such organizations that are profiting significantly from the green energy push, while the common Vermonters get screwed because it’s simply not affordable nor sustainable, especially in an inflated market.
    Our environment and wildlife will also be compromised with all the proposals. It makes no sense.
    Mandating and taxing Vermonters will only lead to
    more separation / division and a possible energy war.

    Stay in engaged !!!
    Learn the facts !

    • But now, even Phil Scott has no voice in whatever the legislature desires.
      The result of this election is that economic and energy policies and law reside completely in the hands of 135 D/P or I politicians- and the multitude of lobbyists and grifters that inhabit the state house. 45 R’s plus Phil Scott can only watch the carnage. You don’t suppose the super-majority will be emboldened to do as they please? Ask Jim Douglas how it worked out when he was faced with the same. Or peter shumlin, who almost faced a mutiny when he backed down on universal health care.
      The absurd part of this is all of the zeal to regulate and tax carbon has no effect on the environment. None. I learned that fact from the legislature, in committee testimony, 2022.

      • These are all contracts without consent of the sovereign, we the people, and thus are illegal and a form of slavery and thus are unconstitutional: But then the Lawyers, either stupid or to scared, because they make money servicing the racketeering as do others on the food chain to keep the charade going…until everyone freezes to death, perhaps coming to a neighborhood nearby this winter, especially as diversion to gas and thus rolling blackouts are expected, But don’t blame Leahy, Welch and Sanders, why they voted to fund actual NaZi’s in the Ukraine…and Becca is licking her chops to vote for…!

  2. This isn’t an unrealistic ‘demand’.

    What is unrealistic is that the cronies in VPIRG, the VT Public Utilities Commission, and the solar and wind businesses that profit from this cronyism, would ever talk about Hydro Quebec (HQ). It’s time to hold their feet to the fire and ‘demand’ that they prove that whatever they’re proposing can compete with HQ.

    For those of you still unaware of the HQ option: HQ is the 4th largest electric energy producer in the world. It’s closer to VT than NYC. HQ already provides 30% of Vermont’s power and has offered to provide all the electricity Vermont needs. And HQ power is as green (carbon neutral) as can be.

    Most importantly, HQ wholesale kwh prices are one-third the cost of that which GMP currently pays for wind and solar.

    • Thank you for that important valid point 🙏🏻

      Also no discussions about sustainable efficient nuclear possibilities.

      …electric rates have gone up significantly, a percentage has been tacked on to our rates to sustain “efficiency Vermont” which offers energy upgrades and rebates for energy upgrade products and labor installments which are currently ridiculously way to expensive and not sustainabile, so who’s benefiting ?

      • G.L.:

        Re: nuclear –

        Vermont already gets demand load power from the Seabrook nuclear plant at about the same cost per kwh as HQ power. Otherwise, we’d still have to invest in a new nuclear plant. It would take five years to complete, if we started now.

        But HQ power is here now. All we have to do is flip the switch… and begin saving money. It’s a classic ‘no-brainer’. Vermonters could cut their electric bills by almost half…. tomorrow.

        Then we could take the money we save to ‘weatherize’ our homes and businesses without having to use – you guessed it – more taxpayer money.

        But as long as there are non-profit cronies out there, later turning their ventures into for-profit businesses (as SunCommon did when it was sold by the former VPIRG board members who started it as a non-profit and later walked away with $40 million), there’s little chance of we ordinary citizens seeing any benefits.

        These guys are all on-the-take, including Peter Welch, his wife and PUC commissioner, Margaret Cheney, and all of the other legislators receiving campaign donations from this cartel. There are loads of eggs to be gathered. But so long as the foxes are guarding the hen house, we’ll never see them.

    • Ol’ phil has little sway with the incoming legislature. At best, he can bring his case to the voter in a press conference, but any veto is easily overridden. He gets to sit on his hands, just like everyone else and watch the spending show in Montpelier next spring. Vermont is fully controlled by the elitist /socialist for the next two years. If IRV
      becomes a reality this biennium, then the chokehold over Vermont politics is for a very very long time. We’ve been down this road before and it wasn’t pretty.
      Business? Nope, unless it’s a thoroughly subsidized ‘green’ business, approved by the left. All others will look elsewhere. Cities and towns just across Vermont’s border will thrive- Littleton, Lebanon and Claremont NH, Plattsburg, Glens Falls NY will see increased prosperity and Vermont residents shift their buying habits and business leaves- uninterested in continuing socialist regulations and taxation.
      Sorry, this is a lose-lose situation for all Vermont residents except those profiting off the leftist government occupying Montpelier.

  3. Pope Francis and globalist elites are gathering on Mt Sinai, Sunday, November 13, 2022, to usher in 10 new climate commandments. Anyone who believes such a blasphemous display will not be answered is an utter fool. God is now closing the door to those who choose not to repent. The time to pick which side to stand on is over. The line is now a trench drawn deeply into the earth. Those who believe they can mock God, defy God, steal and deceive with impunity are the most foolish of all mankind. They shall reap what they sow. The harvest is coming. The spiritual realm is in full battle now. Take heed in knowing this battle was fought before many times over. History shows those with the most to lose, lose it all, including their lives. God always wins – always.

  4. Agree, Melissa Casey. We are living in the days that is foretold in God’s Word. The time to repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus is now. Like the thief on the cross you have until your last breath. Eternity is forever, this life on earth is a wisp of wind. Heaven and Hell are real. Choose wisely. We are to fight the good fight while on this earth, spread the Good News of Salvation to all that will hear and see. God goes before His people, He is our Refuge, our Strength, our Defense and our Stronghold. True Peace is with the Lord. Yes, God has already Won, be on the side of Victory.

    Matthew 6:19-21
    New King James Version
    Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
    19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Matthew 16:26
    New King James Version
    26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

  5. This is the united nations roll out of Agenda 2030, by the puppets of the United Nations (our leaders) which is not designed to make our earth better but to bring in Marxist control.

    Remember the slogan,

    “You will own nothing and be happy.”?……Here are the foot soldiers for this movement, ready to spring into action. Give us all your money and we’ll save the planet they say.

    Nobody ask how? Nobody asks, well who does own it then?

  6. Okay, the People’s Republic has spoken. Be ready for these BIG ..

    1) So-called “clean heat”, EV’s and “weatherization” (which may in fact be dirtier) rammed down our throats. Solar and wind purveyors as well as many legislative, governmental and so-called “non-profit” grifter profiteers loving it.

    2) Regular people’s (non-Chittenden and Washington County) real estate tanking in value. Escalating foreclosure, abandonment, further hollowing out of rural areas. Low income housing will grow some, but regular middle income housing becoming undoable for regular people.

    3) Regular Vermont (non-Chittenden and Washington County) business sector tanking. Many businesses folding their Vermont tents, going under, leaving for other pastures.

    4) Schools continuing to perform poorly. Even with all of the equity hoo-haa promoted by the VPA, VSA, Rowland Foundation, Vermont NEA, etc., an ever-growing and painful gap between the haves and have nots.

    5) Gender fluidity. It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Especially in school lunchrooms and the statehouse dining room.

    6) Bernie to UVM, Becca to the Senate. Phil to retirement, David Z. to Governor. and Anne Moonbeam to Lieutenant Governor. Mark it down.

    7) And we will all then be windmill-shadowed, solar panel-festooned, unemployed, foreclosed, equitable and gender questioning Day Trippers getting by with A Little Help From Our Friends and living in a Yellow Submarine.

  7. Oh, and one more thing…..NUMBER EIGHT.

    Murder, opioid use, property crime. Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon:)

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