- All new car sales must be electric by 2035
- Pricetag of Vermont grid electrification: $79 million/year for 28 years
By Guy Page
The Vermont Electric Co-op, Vermont’s second largest electricity utility, last week asked its members to not charge electric cars at the peak hours of 5-10 pm Wednesday July 20 and and Thursday July 21, due to the heat wave-related high demand for power.
The July 19 request by the Johnson-based member-owned utility was part of a larger ask for energy conservation. It reads:
Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) is encouraging members to conserve electricity tomorrow evening (Wednesday) and Thursday evening as demand for electricity across New England is expected to spike because of high temperatures. Specifically, VEC asks members to conserve electricity both evenings from 5-10 pm.
“When VEC can reduce the cost to buy and transmit electricity during these ‘peak’ periods, it helps control electricity rates for all co-op members over the long term,” said Jake Brown, VEC Energy Services Planner.
Members can help “beat the peak” by:
- Delaying the use of major appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, pool pumps etc., until the peak period has passed
- Reducing the use of air conditioning as much as safely possible (Consider pre-cooling your home before the peak period)
- Turning off lights and powering down other devices that are not in use
- Members who have electric vehicles can have a large impact by not charging during these hours, too [Italics added].
VEC officials this morning promised to address Vermont Daily Chronicle questions about the effectiveness of the voluntary conservation, the possibility of brownouts, and the longterm plan for accommodating electrified transportation.
The EV-charging conservation request raised eyebrows around Vermont because the State of Vermont is committed by legislation to follow California emissions regulations, which recently were upgraded to ban all sales of virtually all new gas or diesel powered vehicles by 2035. Aftermarket purchases will still be permitted.
“If the charging needs of 5000 EVs [now registered in Vermont] can overwhelm the electric grid during a week of July weather, what do these people think 42,000 of such vehicles will do?,” asked Ethan Allen Institute board member Rob Roper in an op-ed. “Even on a nice fall day? And then, 170,000 of them? Plus at the same time they’re pushing us to change out our oil and gas furnaces for electric heat pumps, etc. and so on?”
Vermont utility officials have a plan to improve Vermont’s energy grid to accommodate an expected huge demand for electricity as society uses less fossil fuels for heat and transportation. Under questioning by Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Orleans), utility officials this January said the upgrade would cost $2.2 billion over 28 years. That’s $79 million/year, minus interest and cost overruns.
Meanwhile, the State of Vermont is spending millions on the EV transition. Governor Phil Scott announced today that the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has awarded $1 million in grant funds to subsidize the cost of purchasing and installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at multiunit properties to provide residents with at-home charging access.