Understanding Vermont’s Energy Policies

Report Shows Vermont Policies Not Achieving Renewable Energy GoalsScreen Shot 2018-03-13 at 9.37.22 AM

Vermonters for a Clean Environment has released a report, Understanding Vermont’s Energy Policies. It describes five current policies, and explains how they are not doing what Vermonters expect regarding energy policy and consumption. The five policies the paper reviews are:

·      Renewable Energy Standard (RES) 

·      standard-offer program

·      net-metering program

·      Act 174’s energy planning process 

·      Arbitrage with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

            Most Vermonters accept the reality of climate change and support the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels; however, if Vermonters truly want better energy policies and outcomes, the discourse and procedures must be comprehensible and honest, with considerably more transparency.  Currently, only the industrial scale developers, utilities, and regulators have a firm grasp on Vermont’s energy policy maze.

            “Most Vermonters would be stunned to know that we have actually seen an increase in carbon emissions due to our current energy policies,” said Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE). “From public discourse to date, it appears most Vermonters do not realize we get little renewable energy from our State’s wind and solar developments, while simultaneously costing ratepayers significantly more money,” Smith added.

            Smith commented that currently, Vermont is meeting energy goals with monetary and paper transactions, not with honesty and transparency in terms of costs, profits and benefits.  Additionally, any transition to renewables has to include less energy consumption.  

            As the report summary states, “The best possible outcomes are achieved when all stakeholders – utilities, developers, regulators, property owners, investors and communities – are well informed partners in transparent and equitable solutions.”

            “VCE’s goal”, says Smith, “is to provide Vermonters with a solid understanding of what they are and are not getting from current policy, and help inform energy policy going forward.”

To read VCE’s report, go to 

http://vce.org/VCE_White_Paper_UnderstandingVermontEnergyPolicies_09August2018.pdf

 

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New Documentary Film about Wind in Vermont

WIND: A Struggle for the Character of Vermont

click on the image to watch the film

 

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LCAR Legislators’ Responses to VCE’s Public Records Act Request

Videos of LCAR Wind Noise Rule Hearings: 6/8/17, 6/22/17, 8/3/17, 10/12/17, 10/26/17.  In total LCAR spent 10 hours and 20 minutes on the PUC’s wind noise rule.

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 2.46.02 PMOn October 16, 2017, Vermonters for a Clean Environment filed Public Records Act (PRA) requests with the eight legislators who serve on the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.  This was an unusual action for VCE to take because in the past, legislators did not respond to PRA requests.  On Oct. 18, 2017 VCE held a press conference in the Vermont Statehouse announcing the filing of the PRA requests.

We took this extreme (to us) step after sitting through eight hours of hearings before LCAR on the Public Utility Commission’s Wind Noise Rule where most members’ questions were entirely focused on protecting the industry.  The legislative intent in instructing the PUC to conduct rule-making was to produce sound standards that are more protective of Vermonters than the standards previously applied.

We witnessed interactions between industry lobbyists and LCAR members throughout those eight hours of hearings, and decided it was important to shine some sunshine on the relationship between Vermonters’ elected representatives and the wind industry’s lobbyists.

Five members of LCAR chose to take the extra 10 days allowed by law.  Below are the responses VCE received by the Oct. 30 deadline.  The cost was $94.50.  Each of the legislators’ responses are separated by two lines, and there are eight in total, numbered to make it easier to follow.  Separate responses within each legislators’ sections are separated by one line. Continue reading

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“Green Energy”, Avangrid/Iberdrola’s Deerfield Wind in Readsboro and Searsburg, Vt., Formerly Critical Bear Habitat

This gallery contains 29 photos.

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Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio interview with VCE’s Annette Smith, April 9, 2017

https://resistanceradioprn.podbean.com/e/resistance-radio-annette-smith-040917/

April 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

Resistance Radio – Annette Smith – 04.09.17

Annette Smith is executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, an organization she co-founded 15 years ago with Vermont citizens when a large energy project was proposed for her region.  After successfully defeating that project, Annette has worked with Vermonters throughout the state to defeat large quarries, landfills, farms, and other large energy proposals while also improving Vermont’s groundwater protection laws.  Annette has lived off-grid with solar in Vermont for more than 20 years, hand milks a cow, has a flock of chickens, grows most of her own food including citrus in a greenhouse, and seeks change through collaboration when possible and opposition when necessary 

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Mountains, wildlife took precedence over 60 windmills

http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/mountains-wildlife-took-precedence-over-60-windmills/

Jensen Afield, 
Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 10.01.12 AM
The Herrick Mountain range in Ira and Poultney, next to Birdseye Mountain, was saved from 60 giant wind turbines, thanks to the organized efforts of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, headed by Annette Smith, above, and Justin Lindholm. The mountains in the background are now a state wildlife management area. PHOTO BY JUSTIN LINDHOLM

The best advice: “Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am— a reluctant enthusiast … a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this much: You will outlive the bastards.”

Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

Those words, on a large plaque, were given to me years ago by one of my sons. The plaque sits off to the side of my work desk and, to this day, I am moved by Abbey’s passion for wild places, the importance of holding onto those wild places, and why we should trek through those places.

Abbey’s reflections on “The Best Advice” came back to me after an interview with two Vermonters who deserve a great deal of credit for their work to preserve an untouched stretch of pristine land in Rutland County.

Thanks to the hard work of local people, everyday Vermonters who love the land and, in particular, Annette Smith and Justin Lindholm, two people who worked like hell, we have a huge parcel of prime property in which to “ramble,” a large chunk of land that, if those people “hypnotized” by profits had their way, the mountain tops of that wild land would forever be marked by the languid swoosh-swoosh-swoosh of 60 giant windmills.

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Do you love Vermont’s mountains?

www.mountainmanifesto.org

VCE_MountainManifesto_300x250web

http://vermontbiz.com/news/march/mountain-manifesto-protect-vermont%E2%80%99s-mountains-now

Mountain Manifesto: ‘Protect Vermont’s mountains now’

Mon, 03/13/2017 – 4:54am —

Vermont Business Magazine A core group of Vermonters, with experience in natural science, public policy and environmental history, have released The Mountain Manifesto, an urgent and public call to action to protect Vermont’s mountains, according to Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, in a statement released Sunday (http://mountainmanifesto.org).

Published online, the Manifesto declares, “the mountains are now under siege, as they have been before, but this time for the seemingly-insatiable human craving for energy. The siege is relentless, the need for defense more urgent.” 

The Manifesto’s core statement begins, “The ecological integrity of the Green Mountains is essential to the health of Vermont’s lands, its air and its waters, and to all the life — human and otherwise — that dwells on and in them.” It is that integrity the group seeks to protect. 

Contributing writers Bruce S. Post and Charles W Johnson have included essays on mountain ecology and Vermont environmental history to educate Vermonters and others about what is at stake as the Green Mountains face another tide of mountain destruction. Readers are encouraged to take direct action by becoming Mountain Protectors (http://mountainmanifesto.org/mountain-manifesto-6/). 

The Mountain Manifesto has been made available courtesy of Vermonters for a Clean Environment. A print version of the Manifesto will be released soon, the statement said. Smith has been a vocal opponent of large-scale wind-energy developments in Vermont.

Source: March 12, 2017.  Vermonters for a Clean Environment

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