Vermont’s Energy Policy Is Out Of Touch with The People, Culture, And Economy of the State. See the Latest EAI Video

The Ethan Allen Institute released this week a ten-minute video overview of Vermont’s current energy policy and what it means for the future of our state. In a nutshell, transitioning to 90% renewable energy by 2050 will be devastating to our landscapes and ecology, harmful to the “Vermont Brand,” and contrary to the culture of the communities that will be affected most directly by these policies.

Too many Vermonters do not understand the scope of this vision for our future, nor is it clear to them the magnitude of impact implementing this policy will ultimately have on virtually every aspect of our lives. This video is designed to put our energy future into a digestible format, easy to understand and to visualize.

We posted this video on our Facebook pager earlier this week and it has already reached nearly 25,000 Vermonters and received 17,000 views. Please watch and share!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Greyling Van Alstyne May 24, 2017 at 11:09 am

With fusion energy on the horizon, all of these renewable energy projects will become obsolete and abandoned in a matter of a few of decades. Who is going to clean up the mess?

Reply

Willem Post October 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Annette,
Vermont’s renewable energy programs are set up to maximize subsidies for owners of the systems.

Those subsidies are patterned after traditional Wall Street methods for tax shelters, such as tax credits, and fast write offs, and selling at above wholesale market prices.

Once that is clearly understood, all else, including willful destruction of the Vermont environment, willful creation of social discord, and willful harm to health and property values, all falls in place.

Here is an example of a STANDARD OFFER tax shelter. I have removed the URLs, as other wise it would not be posted. I also removed the tables, as they would lose format.

My article can be viewed on Citizen Task Force for Wind Power. Just google that and Willem Post.

Example of “Standard Offer” Subsidies of PV Solar Systems: In Vermont, a PV solar system, 2000 kW, turnkey capital cost about $5.9 million, produces about 2794 MWh/y and has revenues of about $365,000/y.

During the first 6 years, about 3.5/5.9 = 59% of the turnkey capital cost consists of:

1) Upfront federal and state ITCs
2) Taxes not paid due to rapid asset depreciation
3) Excess energy costs. See URL and table 3.

About 48,867 kW of PV solar projects were installed since 2010. The 7-y total subsidy cost (2010 – 2017) was at least 48,867 kW/2000 kW x $3.5 million = $85.5 million, just for the PV solar projects; earlier feed-in tariffs were much higher than at present.

– The variable, intermittent solar electricity is bought by utilities from owners at 13.36 c/kWh. But a higher-quality energy (not variable, not intermittent, steady, 24/7/365) could have been bought by utilities at the NE annual average midday wholesale price of about 6 c/kWh. The excess energy costs will occur for 25 years, per SO contract. Clearly, the overall cost of SO PV solar is much greater than the 13.36 c/kWh paid to owners. See table 3.

– The federal ITC is 30% of the qualified portion of the turnkey capital cost. The qualified portion is 1,190,475/0.30 of the $5.9 million turnkey capital cost, or 67%.

– The state ITC is 185,714/1,190,475, or 15.6% of the federal ITC.

– Owners collect ITCs up front and avoid paying any taxes due to rapid asset depreciation, for a total of $2,332,758, during the first 6 years. See table 3.

If the 6-y subsidy costs ($3,507,244) were divided by the 6-y electricity production (16,558 MWh), the subsidy cost would be 21.2 c/kWh, on top of the 13.36 c/kWh paid to owners.

Whereas owners pay no taxes for the first 6 years, after year 6, the project would have taxable income on which state taxes ($285,476) and federal taxes ($1,075,571) likely would be collected during the 7 to 25 year period.

For comparison, the steadily increasing real estate/school taxes of a typical homeowner would be about $250,000 over 25 years.

Reply

Willem Post October 5, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Addition:

For Vermont to build-out solar systems in fertile meadows, and IWT systems on pristine ridgelines, etc., which would produce expensive energy, is beneficial to multi-millionaires who own such systems, but it is shortsighted/wrongheaded economic policy, as their high energy costs would become an additional major headwind for the near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

As an alternative, it would be much better for Vermont’s economy to have more energy from H-Q, which:

– Would be lower in cost/kWh, much less costly than wind and solar,
– Would reduce more CO2/kWh than wind and solar,
– Would require no federal and state subsidies,
– Would not require a carbon tax to subsidize RE system build-outs,
– Would require minimal capital costs by Vermont,
– Would not be grid disturbing, unlike wind and solar,
– Would not be variable and intermittent, unlike wind and solar,
– Would provide grid-stabilizing synchronous rotational inertia, unlike wind and solar
– Would not ruin pristine ridgelines and fertile meadows,
– Would not kill birds and bats, and harm other animals,
– Would not cause social unrest among nearby people,
– Would not lower the property values of nearby people,
– Would not harm the health of nearby people and animals.

Reply

Kyle October 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm

We need to learn to differentiate between homeowners who support renewable energy, because they want to stop being under the thumb of the big utilities and oil companies, having their own solar panels or a small wind turbine and the real problem, investment groups & energy speculators feeding off government incentives, subsidies & grants (payed for by us!), that want to develop farm land into 100 acre solar fields for nothing but profiteering. The way to beat these companies at their own game is to take the wind out of their sails.

Produce your own power, electric/heat/auto, so there is no market for theirs.

Reduce your power consumption at every level, becoming energy independent, again pulling the market for their profitable products right out from under them.

Shop only with businesses that do the same.

They can’t have the BPU bought and paid for if they are strapped for cash. These people are bottomfeeders. We need to clean up the bottom, so there is nothing there for them to feed on.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
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