Deb Billado: GWSA great for lawyers, bad for us

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.

On June 26, 2020, the Vermont Senate joined the Vermont House and passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), a bill that will eventually reach the desk of our governor, Phil Scott, who will have the duty to allow it to become law or veto it.

I rarely ask such things, but please contact the governor and ask him to veto the bill. I will list his contact information at the end of this message. Why am I asking this? I do not want to make this too complicated. Suffice it to say that this law is bad for Vermont and Vermonters and has no redeeming value. You can read what I recently wrote about this law in my June 4th VTGOP message.

Deborah Billado, chair of the Vermont GOP

Gov. Scott said he opposes current Global Warming Solutions Act legislation “because it allows the state of Vermont to be sued for not meeting carbon reduction goals. H688, the GWSA bill, establishes a regulatory structure to require carbon emissions reductions across the Vermont economy. If the state fails to meet the steep reduction targets, the law allows not-for-profit groups to sue the state to force compliance.” This bill, which our governor and legislative Republicans are opposed to, will allow lawsuits that will cost the Vermont taxpayer dearly if the state does not meet the unreachable emission mandate deadlines in the bill. It will open the state to litigation, big fees for lawyers and big tax increases for Vermonters.

By this law, the legislature will have abandoned its accountability as elected lawmakers and will subject our state to the rules made by an “army of regulators and enforcers needed to carry out ‘The Plan’” —  a scheme that puts unelected bureaucrats and lawyers in charge, people who are in no way legally accountable to the citizens as required by our Vermont Constitution.

Vermont is already facing major economic problems because of the businesses that were closed as the result of Covid-19. This law on top of that will be an absolute disaster, and as a natural resources bill, it is a train wreck, neither good for the environment or our economy. Again, I say that by passing such a radical bill, the Democrats and Progressives in Montpelier have demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to sacrifice our state’s economic integrity in exchange for the hypothetical of an unmeasurable and unprovable reduction in global greenhouse gas emission effects.

It is so clear that in times like these we need fiscally sound minded Republicans at all levels of government. For now, and until those who truly represent the people of Vermont are elected, let us get behind Gov. Scott and encourage him strongly to veto GWSA.

How can I do that? Simply email, call, or write the governor with the message, “Please veto GWSA.” Email from Governor Scott’s website by clicking here. Call the Governor and leave a message at 802.828.3333.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

9 thoughts on “Deb Billado: GWSA great for lawyers, bad for us

  1. Simply put, this bill GSWA is heartless at a time when Vermonters don’t have any more money for any more programs taxes and special interests that have little or no merit, yes Gov. Scott needs to veto this! Charles

  2. The structure of the is bill is the proposition that the earth is in jeopardy…we need to do something about it…you slackers are just not taking it seriously enough SOOOOOO we’ll make you do it…and punish you if you don’t buy in. Is that about it???
    We’ll just skip over all the unknowns about this issue — the seriousness of this jeopardy…(That’s just them heretical whining science deniers) — our potential for impact on the problem…(well, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, or we’ll be condemning ourselves to the apocalypse.) Apparently these legislators feel no responsibility to do the diligent missionary work necessary to convince us constituents sufficient to get a consensus. They’ll just use majority mob rule to subjugate us…AGAIN! It’s our job to solve the peoples problems for them…tell them to hold still, it’s good for them, they’ll like it. OH do we ever need a direction change in Vermont.


    This section has information from this Seven-Days article.

    The Bill mandates utilities buy 20% of their electricity supply, about 1.2 BILLION kWh/y, at present, from in-state RE sources, which effectively means solar, even though solar:

    – Is, by far, the most expensive electricity in the portfolio of GMP. See Appendix.
    – Imposes the greatest threat to the stability of the grid, due to ever-larger DUCK-curves, as have happened in southern Germany and southern California
    – Would make the use of EVs and heat pumps prohibitively expensive.

    The Bill appears uncomplicated to pro-RE lay people, and some legislators eager to please Vermont solar businesses, but is far from it, according to energy systems analysts at VT-DPS.

    Vermont had installed 364.24 MW ac, or 438.84 MW dc, at end 2019, per ISO-NE/VT-DPS
    In 2019, solar electricity generation was about 482,000 MWh, or 482/6000 = 8.03% of supply to utilities, or 482/5600 = 8.6% of consumption via wall sockets.
    Vermont installed solar would need to increase to about 20/8.6 x 438.84 = 1021 MW dc, at end 2032, per House Bill. See Note.
    The capital cost would be about (1021 – 438.84) x $3 million/MW = $1.747 BILLION, or $134 million/y for 13 years, excluding:

    1) Grid expansion/reinforcement to connect solar systems
    2) Increased connections to nearby grids to minimize disturbances due to solar
    3) Any storage to deal with midday DUCK-curves
    4) Any inverter replacements in about year 12 and O&M

    Historically, items 1, 2 and 3 have been charged to ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debt.
    If they had been charged to owners of solar systems, they would be would a lot less eager to have solar.

    NOTE: Legislators, and pro RE-entities, may offer the usual “easy-talk” option of “we do this and that, by that date, and Vermonters will save lots of money, and Vermont will reduce climate change”, but the experts at VT-DPS have no choice, but to evaluate the A to Z picture of cost and physical implications of increased solar on:

    1) Electric rates, c/kWh
    2) Stability of the grid
    3) Expansion/reinforcement of the grid
    4) Substations on grids with solar systems needing to be arranged to receive and send power.

    If they did not, all hell may break loose, such as costs/kWh going through the roof, and the grid becoming unstable, especially on sunny days and variable-cloudy days, at some future date.

    • Addition:

      Wind/Solar Lulls

      Some Bill proponents likely do not realize, Vermont (and New England, and Germany and Denmark, etc.) often has 5 to 7-day wind/solar lulls (extended overcast periods, with rain or snow, and little or no wind), i.e., the combined wind/solar output that could have been expected, for that time of year, is, in fact, less than 15% of expectations.

      Where would the shortfall come from?
      Traditional generators in nearby states?

      How can solar be a “good thing”, if it has midday DUCK-curves that disturb the grid and cost a lot of money to fix with storage and grid upgrades, plus owners of gas turbine plants incurring extra costs for counteracting the varying solar outputs, all adding up to a cost of about 25 c/kWh, about five times NE wholesale grid prices?

      James Moore of SunCommon loves solar, because he makes good money installing solar systems.
      Ratepayers, taxpayers, etc., pay through the nose, because Net-Metered and Standard Offer solar are charged to rate base at 21.7 c/kWh, whereas solar is worth to a utility about 8.5 c/kWh.


    Vermont Business Climate

    Vermont has a very poor climate for traditional, private-enterprise job creation. Forbes, et al., rate Vermont near the bottom. There are too many onerous taxes, fees and surcharges, and rules and regulations, that have caused businesses to not grow in Vermont, to leave Vermont, or not even come to Vermont.

    Vermont’s population is stagnant. Ambitious, younger people leave, older, more-needy people stay. Well-paying, steady jobs, with decent benefits, are hard to come by in Vermont.

    GWSA to Subsidize Job Creation in RE Sectors

    GWSA would require major increases in the current levels of various subsidies to all sorts of RE businesses for decades; an expensively subsidized, industrial policy to produce expensive, mostly variable wind/solar electricity and “to create jobs”.

    GWSA would be a poor substitute for traditional, private-enterprise job creation, which has proven so difficult in Vermont, largely because of historic, socialistic mindsets within the Legislature, which prefer to protect vote-getting pet projects, rather than create the conditions for a vibrant private sector.

    GSWA Requires Major Annual Spending Increases

    Annual spending on RE would have to increase from the current $210 million/y (includes $60+ million for Efficiency Vermont) to about $1.0 BILLION PER YEAR, to implement the CEP.

    If the RE subsidies were “freebie” federal subsidies, they would subsidize and grow RE businesses, and create jobs.
    However, federal subsidies increase and decrease, and come and go.

    If the subsidies were “state” subsidies, such as for 1) heat pumps, 2) electric vehicles, and 3) above-market, feed-in rates for solar, such as net-metering at 21.7 c/kWh and Standard Offer at 21.7 c/kWh, they would be extracted from Vermont ratepayers, taxpayers and tourists, which, as has been proven, would create jobs in the RE sectors, but would, as has been proven, eliminate jobs, or prevent jobs from being created, in almost all private-enterprise sectors. That would further worsen the near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, and prolong the adverse employment conditions of the “Virus economy”.

    Brief Summary of GWSA

    The Agency of Natural Resources, ANR, led by Peter Walke (who is a member of EAN), has to create the rules and regulations, and penalties for non-compliance, which would be subject for review by a “Council of Wise Men”, i.e., mostly appointed RE proponents.

    As part of GWSA, if the ANR measures would not sufficiently reduce Vermont’s carbon dioxide, CO2, as scheduled, any Tom, Dick and Harry would be allowed to sue the state government, with lawyer’s fees reimbursed, if the suit is upheld in Court.

    As part of GWSA, the legislature would play no role other than vote to provide the money, extracted from more and more impoverished, already-struggling, Virus-unemployed Vermonters, to implement it all.

    I foresee one litigious brouhaha after another; Vermonters becoming more and more oppressed and impoverished in the pursuit of impossible climate goals and Vermont becoming less and less attractive as a place to live.

    GWSA would be decades of torture of Vermonters to achieve nothing regarding the climate, other than “feel-good/virtue-signaling”.

  5. Thanks for the heads up Deb. All through the Global Warming debate, I voiced my opposition to any legislator I could identify regarding global warming because Vermont’s contribution to the worldwide problem is so negligible there is no reason to penalize Vermonters for a nonissue and, of equal importance, it involved yet another tax. I have passed these thoughts to Governor Scottt. I just hope there is suffecient outcry to get the governor’s attention and persuade him to exercise his veto authority.

  6. Al Gore , John Kerry, both losers, let’s hope Phil Scott doesn’t join the group. Veto the bill Phil!

  7. The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), just another liberal pipe dream
    that’s being fed and paid for by globalist and Vermont’s Liberal have bought
    it hook line and sinker.

    Governor Phil Scott, who will have the duty to allow it to become law or veto it,
    if he cares anything about Vermont’s well being, he should VETO it…….

    Is the Governor a Leader or a Follower ??? ……. time will tell.

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