Green Mountain Power doubles down on climate change rhetoric

Only weeks after Green Mountain Power issued a press release that featured a meteorologist blaming a snowstorm on climate change, CEO Mary Powell echoed the same alarmist rhetoric, this time for the company’s energy plan.

On Tuesday, GMP announced the filing of its 2018 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Public Utilities Commission. The plan, which is required to be filed with the state every three years, outlines the company’s power distribution objectives for the next decade.

Green Mountain Power

Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power

In an apparent attempt to show GMP’s expanding commitment to fighting climate change by reducing fossil fuel-based energy sources, Powell seized upon recent weather conditions as justification for the company’s direction.

“We saw with the most recent snowstorm another severe impact of climate change, and we are seeing more events like this from climate change,” she said. Climate change is accelerating the need for us to act quickly with conviction and purpose. This IRP shows our commitment to doing that.”

Components of the IRP include “carbon-reducing initiatives” and meeting state Renewable Energy Standards,” which are green energy quota checkpoints utilities must meet at various intervals over the next decades. According to Vermont’s standards, the state is next trying to get to 75 percent renewable power from its utilities by 2032.

“We are adopting new, clean, distributed-energy technologies on both sides of the meter and, together with our customers and Vermont energy companies, changing the way energy is delivered. Vermont is at the forefront of this work nationally and every day more are following our lead,” Powell said.

According to the announcement, GMP also will be helping customers transition away from “higher cost, carbon-laden resources for heating and transportation,” which it says are the largest contributors to “climate-carbon pollution.”

The utility will be offering programs for electric vehicle charging stations and battery storage, even while industry pressure mounts to end federal subsidies for the financially struggling EV industry.

Powell’s global warming urgency echoes statements meteorologist Roger Hill said in a previous release regarding snow storms.

The IRP will be reviewed by the Public Utility Commission, and public hearings also will be scheduled to gain public input. The plan can be read online here.

Todd Meyers, a spokesperson for First Energy, which encompasses 10 energy utilities across six states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, said this kind of rhetoric is becoming the norm as states across the nation develop their own Renewable Energy Standards.

He told True North that New Jersey, Maryland and other states — 29 states in all — are enacting these standards. Once they do, regardless of the higher costs to ratepayers, utilities must follow the law.

“It may be [costlier], but if that becomes the law of the land, that’s the law of the land,” Meyers said. “We need to make sure that the mix of fuel that we are purchasing is proportional with the law.”

He said the argument from green energy proponents is that it will be costlier in the long run if cheaper carbon-based energies remain the status-quo.

“The environmentalists will tell you there are so many social costs,” he said. “Coal may be cheaper to burn, but [there are] respiratory costs, the costs to the environment and everything else. You are not really capturing any of those costs when you are just talking about the kilowatt hours produced.”

Indeed, First Energy also is on the green energy bandwagon. Its 2016 sustainability report includes rhetoric similar to that of GMP in Vermont.

“We’re also taking aggressive steps to improve the environmental performance of our business in the years ahead,” it states. “We’ve established a goal to reduce CO2 emissions companywide by at least 90 percent below 2005 levels by 2045 — exceeding our nation’s goal of achieving economy-wide reductions of 80 percent or more by 2050.”

Annette Smith, director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, called GMP’s messaging “a typical PR pitch about how they are addressing climate change and the ratepayers.”

In November, an anonymous letter sent to Smith from an apparent industry insider alleged that GMP and the Department of Public Service under Commissioner June Tierney have put their own interests before ratepayers during rate-hike hearings. The letter also alleged the use of accounting tricks to hide the true rate increase and investments in unwise technologies that may further cost the ratepayers.

RELATED: GMP rate hike reveals monopoly influence in government

Those allegations have since been supported by Brian Winn, former director of finance and economics for the Department of Public Service.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Green Mountain Power
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19 thoughts on “Green Mountain Power doubles down on climate change rhetoric

  1. According to a fact sheet at Efficiency Vermont, a homeowner would save:

    – $1,842/y by shifting 80% of the heating load away from electric resistance heat to a cold-climate heat pump. See note
    – Propane users would save $1,268/y.
    – Fuel oil users would save $865/y.
    – The “fact sheet” (fiction sheet?) is no longer accessible!

    NOTE: Instead of Efficiency Vermont spouting phony numbers it is best to listen to a reality-based person.

    Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Executive Director Matt Cota: “Most heat pumps installed in Vermont are used for air conditioning. They provide heat mostly during the shoulder seasons. When the heat pumps are “installed and used correctly,” he said, they might be able to offset as much as 30% of heating costs.” Table 3 in this article shows about 32%
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims-about-cold-climate-heat-pumps-for

    “What they won’t do is replace your heating load in the middle of the winter, during the 90 coldest days of the year when you need wood, gas, fuel oil and propane in order to keep the pipes from freezing,” he said. “Unless we’re talking about a newly built, net-zero house (HI/HS house), yeah, in that case you will forego the oil, but that’s not going to happen in 99% of the cases.”

  2. “According to the announcement, GMP also will be helping customers transition away from “higher cost, carbon-laden resources for heating and transportation,” which it says are the largest contributors to “climate-carbon pollution.”” I LOVE IT! “Helping” customers transition – by making cheaper energy even more expensive than the expensive “renewable” energy; by making the cost of rural living unaffordable; by driving out anyone who can afford to leave, including living wage jobs; by moving the poor suckers left behind into urban clusters so they can more easily work at low paying jobs and/or collect their government benefit checks. They are the Government, and they’re here to HELP. Don’t get me started on the CO2 being a pollutant! The collective stupidity is astonishing.

    • Agenda 21 means stacking us all up in cities like cord wood.Rural property ownership is only for the most elite among our population.$15/gal. gasoline will keep the riff raff off the roads.

  3. Some of the more interesting Energy related articles are:
    https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/FMfcgxwBTjtFztQQXQdFnWtgQfmdqFdD

    Major Good News: Ontario Scraps the Green Energy Act

    Solar Panel Waste: A Disposal Problem

    Some of the more informative Global Warming articles are:

    Good news about Climate Change
    Climate Change: Identifying the Problem
    Outstanding video re Climate Change (15:30-28:00)
    Former Top US Oceanographer Sentenced for Accepting a Salary from China
    Fact-checking the second volume of the U.S. National Climate Assessment
    Editorial: Global CO2 Emissions Spike, Despite Paris Climate Pledges

    New U.S. Climate Report a ‘Scientific Embarrassment’
    Why Won’t Liberals Look at the Evidence On Climate?
    How NPR Carries The Dirty Water Of The US Climate Assessment, Ignoring Complex Systems

  4. People Complaining About Less than Promised Savings: The GMP, VPIRG, Efficiency Vermont Troika made rosy savings claims that had no factual basis, but, as expected, lured people to install heat pumps. GMP and EV-approved installation contractors made a lot of money.

    It is likely most heat pumps were installed in houses with average, and less than average, insulation and sealing.
    It is likely people complained about less than promised savings to their legislators and to the VT-DPS.

    After many complaints, VT-DPS performed a survey of actual heat pump installations and their performance.

    – The DPS study found the seasonal average COP was 1.2, which is dismal.
    – The average energy saving was $200/y, which is grossly less than advertised.

    Make sure to read the report. See URL.
    http://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/Energy_Efficiency/Reports/Vermont%20ccHP%20Summary.pdf

    Here is the main conclusion from the report:
    1. Overall dollar savings are impacted by the efficiency of the back‐up fossil fuel system. The higher the efficiency of the back-up system, the smaller the amount of fuel is being displaced by the heat pump.
    2. Houses with poor insulation levels and air leaks will not get as much benefit out of a heat pump, as will highly sealed, well- insulated houses.
    3. It is unlikely a heat pump by itself would be sufficient to heat a typical house, without use of a traditional heating system as a backup on cold days.

    For the annual savings to be only $200/y, most of the houses had to have poor insulation and sealing. EV and its approved contractors likely did not properly survey those houses and did not give proper warning to those households. They likely were eager to install as many heat pumps as possible.

    Vermont has very few energy-efficient houses (highly insulate/highly sealed), likely at most 10% of all houses. Only those houses are candidates for heat pumps. The articles in the media describing the benefits of heat pumps in glowing terms usually are regarding those houses.

    There likely are another 15% of houses that could be upgraded to be energy efficient, at a cost of at least $30,000 each, which likely would make them candidates for heat pumps.

    The rest of the houses (75%) are “energy hog houses” that are completely unsuitable for heat pumps, because the heat output of the heat pumps would be insufficient for those houses on cold days, say 25 F, and below. It would be too expensive to upgrade those houses for heat pumps.

    It appears, the above installation targets and the estimated annual savings of the above troika are highly optimistic, i.e. fantasies based on wishful dreaming.

  5. Efficiency Vermont: According to a fact sheet at Efficiency Vermont, a homeowner would save:

    – $1,842/y by shifting 80% of the heating load away from electric resistance heat to a cold-climate heat pump.
    – Propane users would save $1,268/y.
    – Fuel oil users would save $865/y.

    – The “fact sheet” (fiction sheet?) is no longer accessible!
    http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/heat-pumps-get-leg-vermont

    VPIRG, an RE Lobby: VPIRG, a booster of renewable energy, mostly financed by Vermont RE businesses, estimated the annual savings of a heat pump at $1000 to $1500 on a $3000 household heating bill.

    It appears, VPIRG grabbed a number out of the air, because it looked good.

  6. Heat Pump Example in Valley News Article of March 30, 2018
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims-about-cold-climate-heat-pumps-for

    An engineer had installed one cold-climate heat pump in 2013, which underperforms during colder weather. It is likely the engineer has an average insulated/sealed house. Now he has two heating systems:

    1) A heat pump system, turnkey cost $4655, or $36.81 x 12 = $441.72/y; 15 years at 5%, providing 100% of the heat up to about 20F.

    2) Below about 20F, the existing fuel oil system, turnkey cost $10,000, or $79.08 x 12 = $948.96/y; 15 years at 5%, provides more and more of the heat, as the heat pump output decreases and the heating demand increases.

    His average ENERGY COST saving, i.e., fuel oil cost saved, less electricity cost, was $400/y (the average of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016),

    The heat pump system, plus existing system likely would have costs for:

    – Annual maintenance contracts
    – Outage service calls
    – Replacement parts

    This means he likely is not anywhere close to breaking even.

    This means only energy-efficient houses (highly insulated/highly sealed) are candidates for heat pumps.

    NOTE:
    – The coefficient of performance, COP = (Btu/h extracted from the outdoor air)/(Btu/h to heat pump system, as electricity).
    – The COP decreases as outdoor temperatures decrease. Would you like to electrically heat your house, when the COP is about 1.2 at -10F?

  7. GMP is pushing heat pumps, because it is highly profitable for GMP, even though it is a money loser for heat pump owners.

    Kristin Carlson, GMP’s vice president for strategic and external affairs, said in an email that the utility has now installed 1,125 heat pumps.

    – GMP arranges for the installation with an Efficiency Vermont-approved contractor.
    – The contractor chooses the heat pump brand and model; brands include Daikin, Fujitsu, and Mitsubishi, with outputs ranging from 9,000 Btu/h to 18,000 Btu/h.
    – GMP loan at an interest rate is 10.74%/y. That appears to be a USURY rate!
    – GMP says that payments will range from $49 to $81 per month, depending on the model of heat pump that’s installed.
    – At $49/month, a homeowner would pay $8,820 for a single-head minisplit over the 180-month payback period.
    – At $81/month, a homeowner would pay $14,580.
    – That doesn’t include the electricity required to run the unit.
    – Should a homeowner sell the house before the loan is repaid, GMP says it can offer a buy-out price for the heat pump, or the new owner could pick up the payments.
    http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/vermont-utility-expands-heat-pump-program

  8. Climate change ‘better’ be the result of human made CO2 or we’re in big trouble. The cronyism inherent in PUC and DPS approval of GMP’s rate hikes and carbon credit market manipulation, exchanged for GMP’s acquiescence to the CO2 ‘proven science’ narrative, may be misdirecting our economic attention away from an environmental circumstance their policies can’t control. What then?

    One thing is certain in either case. Ratepayers and taxpayers will assume the costs and the risks for these one-dimensional investments controlled by political appointees and their cronies. God help us if they’re wrong.

  9. Hey, free auto charging to replace those filthy carbon based fuels? Wow, that’s great! Wonder how all this free electricity will be generated. Guess the guy who invented perpetual motion has the answer.

  10. I’ll be a believer that GMP is not just posturing for profits…………..
    when their big bucket trucks for 24 hour duty in outages are all and only electric powered!
    Maybe they can heat their offices with all the hot air going about, concerning global warming
    Maybe they can source copper wire only from solar operated mines, and smelters

  11. Can this woman be so stupid as to believe that these snow storms are caused by climate change? Is she REALLY that much of an idiot or could it be ….”…..that GMP and the Department of Public Service under Commissioner June Tierney have put their own interests before ratepayers during rate-hike hearings.? Oh, heavens. You don’t think?

  12. If everyone moved out of Vermont and nothing happened here for the next 100 years, the effect on climate change wouldn’t even be measurable.

    • Steve , You are so VERY correct. Vermont really needs to just let itself “hang”. It’s the only way you are going to finally right the ship.

      My family of 5 extracted ourselves from VT 2 years ago. It’s been a breath of fresh air on all accounts. Especially for my wallet!

  13. The Sky is falling, The Sky is falling whoops, nope it’s Snowfall in the winter…….scary stuff.
    CEO Mary Powell echoing the same liberal alarmist rhetoric !!

    All she’s doing is getting ready to tell the Burlington Electric Rate Payers to get ready for
    another ” rate increase ” for this boondoggle ” Climate Change”, it’s just her justification !!!

    Hang on Burlington……

  14. GMP is has long since stopped being a Power Company. It is now nothing more than an ideological taxing agency of the state

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