Energy

Energy and renewables reporting.

Recent Posts

Rally for greater local voice in renewable energy projects

006

MONTPELIER — Local residents are calling for a greater voice in the siting of renewable energy projects in their communities, and one Senate lawmaker is looking to ban industrial-scale wind projects altogether. More than 100 people packed into the Cedar Creek Room at the State House on Wednesday to protest the current method used by the state to approve renewable energy projects. “Our energy-siting policies and processes have become anti-environmental and anti-democratic,” said Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex-Orleans, a remark that drew 20 seconds of applause from the gathered crowd. Rodgers argued that renewable energy projects should be treated the same way as any other form of development and should be subject to the provisions of Act 250, which includes a host of criteria such the overall impact a development would have to the aesthetics of the environment. “The process we use to site energy in Vermont is broken and it’s long past time to fix it,” Rodgers said. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Commentary: Vermont Should Divest from Coal and ExxonMobil Stocks

5341845_G

n Christmas Day, I burned brush on my farm in Putney — in a t-shirt. My experience was not unlike that of many Vermonters as we all lived through Vermont’s most tropical Christmas in memory, capping off the world’s warmest year on record. Climate change is here, and it is affecting the Vermont that we love, from our ski areas to our lakes. Now is the time to take every sensible action to combat it if we’re to have a shot at preserving a livable planet for our kids and grandkids. At home, we’ve done a lot; from increasing by ten and 20 times the amount of solar and wind in Vermont, respectively, to investing in energy efficiency to help Vermonters use less energy and save money. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

Experts debate carbon tax in Vermont

Panelists debate the merits of a carbon tax before a large audience at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier on Thursday night. From left are John McClaughry, Rob Roper, Paul Burns and Jon Erickson. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — Can 600,000 Vermonters slow the effects of climate change? That was the essential question posed Thursday night before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 during a debate on the merits of imposing a tax on carbon emissions. During the upcoming legislative session that begins in January, lawmakers are expected to discuss a pair of carbon tax proposals offered by Rep. Christopher Pearson, P-Burlington, and Rep. David Deen, D-Putney. Thursday’s discussion was set against the backdrop of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where, next week, Gov. Peter Shumlin will discuss Vermont’s efforts to curb carbon emissions and encourage the creation of renewable energy. Speaking in favor of a carbon tax were Paul Burns, of the Vermont Public Interest Research Interest Group, and Jon Erickson, an economist and a fellow with the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Commentary: Welch’s Stance Against Corn Ethanol

5341845_G

hen a Washington-based lobbying outfit started airing television ads in Vermont that attack Rep. Peter Welch because he wants to scale back federal support for corn ethanol, the erstwhile Vermonter in me took offense. It has been a few years since I lived in Vermont, but I was born in Burlington, grew up in Essex Junction, and graduated from Essex High. I now live near Boston, but I’ll probably always consider myself a Vermonter and I think I still have a working sense of what Vermonters value. Related:

Welch responds to attack ad

Vermonters value follow-through, which partly explains Rep. Welch’s skepticism about the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal law that effectively requires Americans to put billions of gallons of biofuel into our cars each year. The policy is sustained mainly by Iowa’s peculiar role in presidential politics and by the corn ethanol lobby, which has a history of big claims and poor follow-through. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Welch responds to attack ad

BARRE — Congressman Peter Welch responding is to a television ad attacking him for his stance on ethanol in gasoline. This weekend, local television stations in Vermont aired an ad from ethanol-advocacy group known as Fuels America, which attacks Welch for being signatory to a letter to Environmental Protection Agency questioning whether the percentage of ethanol in gasoline should be increased. The ad criticizes Welch for “circulating a plan written by oil industry lobbyists” and concludes by asking viewers to “remind Peter Welch to stand up for Vermont values, not oil companies and climate deniers.”

“I understand why they’re doing it,” Welch said of the ad. “The mandate is a moneymaker for the corn ethanol industry.”

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates an ever-increasing volume of ethanol to enter the nation’s motor vehicle fuel supply. At the time, the Energy Information Administration projected demand for gasoline would continue to rise through 2022. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Entergy rejects trust fund withdrawal objections

ENT_LOGO_V_RG_4C

MONTPELIER — The state of Vermont is ramping up its fight with Entergy Nuclear over Vermont Yankee’s shrinking $600 million decommissioning trust fund. The attorney general’s office, along with the Department of Public Service, filed a petition last week with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asking for a federal “comprehensive review” into how Entergy is spending the fund, which was $675 million a year ago. Yankee shut down Dec. 29, 2014, and Entergy has made regular withdrawals since then. Entergy estimated a year ago it would cost $1.2 billion in 2014 dollars to decommissioning the reactor. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Commentary: Here comes the carbon tax

5341845_G

he Climate Change Warriors are ramping up for a full scale effort in Montpelier two months from now. Not content with the decade long carnival of subsidies, taxes, mandates and sweetheart deals to enrich the renewable energy complex, they’re now going for the brass ring – making you pay the Carbon Tax. The carbon tax campaign flies the flag of “Energy Independent Vermont”, a coalition of nine environmental lobby groups led by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). Here’s the coalition’s argument. Our planet is threatened by the Al Gore-Obama-Sanders-Shumlin Heat Death, now called “climate change” (after “global warming” went on vacation the past 18 years). Here’s the coalition’s argument. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Republicans seek public input

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Republican Party is looking to the public to share their thoughts on how to make the state a more affordable place to live. On Wednesday, the state Republican Party launched a website called “Make Vermont Affordable,” which invites members of the public to share their stories of struggles to pay the bills, and to sign a petition in opposition of a proposed carbon tax. “This will be a forum for interaction on the issues that are being discussed in Montpelier that affect affordability and growth in Vermont,” said David Sunderland, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. With an image of a road sign bearing the words “GAS TAX INCREASE AHEAD,” the website – which can be found online at www.makevermontaffordable.com – invites visitors to sign a petition to “stop the crushing tax on working Vermonters.”

For the past week, the state Republican Party has been rallying the troops to oppose a pair of draft bills expected to be introduced during the upcoming legislative session in January that would impose a carbon tax and could raise gasoline prices by as much as 88 cents a gallon. The bills include language stating nearly all of the revenue collected – 90 percent for one bill, and 80 percent for the other – would be used to offset other taxes, especially for poor Vermonters who would be hit hardest by the regressive tax. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Dubie emerges with wind concerns

Brian Dubie (VPR photo)

MONTPELIER — Former Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, who was a strong proponent of wind power during his government service, is now speaking out on behalf of residents who are concerned about the noise generated by turbines in Sheffield and at proposed sites in the future. Dubie, who served from 2003 to 2011 and lost a close gubernatorial election to Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2010, still supports wind power as an alternative energy source for Vermont. The commercial airline pilot said he’s not looking to re-enter Vermont’s political scene. But he is choosing to speak out now on behalf of his neighbors in Franklin County that could soon be impacted by turbine noise. Additionally, there is a proposed wind project in Swanton — just under a mile from Dubie’s home — that would generate up to 20 megawatts of power from as many as seven wind turbines that are 500 feet tall. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,