Higley: Deadline almost here for new climate action rules

This commentary is by state Rep. Mark Higley, a Republican from Lowell who represents the Orleans/Lamoille House district. Note: The Agency of Natural Resources approved the California II rule approved before Thanksgiving 4-2.

Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act gives statutory authority for rulemaking to the Agency of Natural Resources. The secretary of that agency has until Dec. 1, 2022, to adopt rules to meet the 2025 emissions reductions requirements in the Vermont Climate Action Plan.

state of Vermont

Rep. Mark Higley

I’m one of eight legislators on the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, and it appears we will be reviewing rules that follow California’s clean car standards. California’s clean car standards are much stricter than the federal standards require.

I believe Vermont does have the option and should revert to the federal standards.

I believe the Global Warming Solutions Act has given overly broad authority to the agencies, as well as to the unelected Climate Council. The mandates and benchmarks (not goals) for carbon reduction do not allow for the many variables that come up along the way. A pandemic, recession, depression, war and other variables need to be considered when making legislative decisions.

Starting in 2026, automobile manufacturers will have to supply more and more electric vehicles and by 2035 only electric or hydrogen vehicles will be able to be sold in Vermont. Even if other states don’t have this requirement and you purchase out of state, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles will not allow a nonconforming car to be registered here in Vermont.

It appears that, of the 17 states that were going to follow California’s clean car standards, Colorado in particular and maybe Pennsylvania have decided to bow out. Vermont is not like California in its geography or climate.

There are currently a number of issues in California with trying to achieve the standard: There are severe pressures on its electric grid, with Gov. Newsom asking residents to turn their thermostats up to 78° this summer; inadequate funding for incentives and rebates for low-income residents; charging stations are mostly in urban areas, leaving inadequate charging for renters and in rural areas; General Motors explaining supply chain issues make it hard to meet demand; a short supply of electric vehicles is driving up costs.

Environmental justice groups have said that reliability of the electric grid is of concern, but it’s up to the Public Utilities Commission to find the generation.

What about our reliable grid concerns in Vermont? During our hot stretch this summer, Vermont Electric Co-op created a “Defeat the Peak” campaign, asking consumers to not use certain appliances during certain hours. More recently, the co-op has asked for a 10% increase in its rates.

Where will Vermont’s electric companies get reliable power, considering such mandates, and what of the cost to consumers? At a meeting in September, members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated concerns on whether ISO New England will have the ability to run its gas-fired generation plants because it won’t have enough fuel this winter.

Because of Vermont’s overly ambitious benchmarks, how will we deal with the reduction of revenue from our fuel tax? Twenty-eight percent of Vermont transportation revenue comes from the fuel tax. In 2019, this amount was $77.8 million.

An average vehicle using 600 gallons a year would realize the state $180 in gas tax. Electric vehicle advocates say we should not impose such a fee on new EV owners for incentive reasons. If we are headed down this road, we should consider such a fee because all users of our highway infrastructure should contribute.

These are very real concerns that we, as legislators, need to realistically consider and work through together with all involved. Just considering carbon reduction benchmarks by the unelected Climate Council is not being realistic. This year alone we will invest $215 million on climate change initiatives like weatherization, the municipal energy resilience grant program, advanced metering infrastructure and electrification initiatives.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Erum Patel and state of Vermont

5 thoughts on “Higley: Deadline almost here for new climate action rules

    Don’t we have enough of this faux “fighting”?

    Solar an Unreliable Nothing-burger in the UK in Winter, and in New England
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/solar-an-unreliable-nothing-burger-in-the-winter-in-the-uk-as-it ;

    Francis Menton

    The Zero-Carbon folks have no idea how an electrical system works.
    They are demanding an expensive, highly subsidized wind/solar/battery replacement of fossil fuels that has zero chance of success, as was shown in Europe in 2021, well before the Ukraine situation, and in 2022.
    It’s only a question of when, and how big, will be the failure, and how damaging the consequences of the failure will be.

    Paul Homewood posted on his website “Not A Lot Of People Know That”, an article titled  “Why Solar Power Is Useless In Winter.”

    Homewood obtained the hourly data on electricity generation from UK solar panels from this website.

    For context, the typical electricity usage in the UK at this time of year is given by Homewood as 840 GWh, or 840/24 = 35 GWh for each hour of the day; some hours are less and others are more, depending on the daily demand.

    The capacity of the solar generation facilities in the UK is given as 14 GW, as AC.

    If the solar systems produced at full capacity for the 24 hours, they would have produced 14 x 24 = 336 GWh, or 336/840 = 40% of the UK’s typical usage for the day.

    But hey, it’s late November.

    The days are short, and the UK has lots of clouds, and often there is snow on the panels
    So how much did the solar facilities actually produce today?

    Here is the chart:

    Open URL to see chart

    The peak output of the solar panels was about 1.33 GW — less than  1.33/35 = 4% of the 35 GWh hourly average

    Production from the solar panels (the area under the curve) was 5.46 GWh, or 5.46/840 = 0.65% of 840 GWh usage of the day.

    The times of peak electricity demand are the early morning and late-afternoon/early-evening.
    At those times the UK’s solar panels produced absolutely nothing.
    In fact, they produced absolutely nothing from 4 pm to 8 am the next day; for 16 hours!!

    So, how is the UK (or anyplace else) ever going to obtain a meaningful amount of its electricity in winter from solar panels?

    Well, considering just today, the UK could have built 154 times as many solar panels as the UK currently has.
    With that, the UK could have obtained the exact amount of electricity the UK consumed today, 840 GWh.

    However, almost all of that solar electricity would be at midday, when it was not needed
    There would be near-zero solar electricity during the morning peak, 6-8 AM, and during the evening peak, 5-8 PM.

    To cover those peak periods, the UK would need a lot of energy storage.
    Hundreds of GWh of storage would be needed just for this one day.
    One GWh = one million kWh
    The noon-time solar would be stored, and partially released during the evening peak, with the rest released during the morning peak of the next day.

    Or, you could save the electricity from the summer time, when there is more sun.
    But for that, to cover the whole winter, tens of thousands of GWh of storage would be required, just for the UK.
    Solar electricity would be stored for about 5 or 6 months, and released during the winter months, as needed by demand.

    All-in, Turnkey Capital Cost of 1000 GWh of Battery Systems

    Instead of tens of thousands of GWh, we will determine the battery cost of 1000 GWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage

    Batteries should not be discharged to less than 20% full and not be charged to more than 80% full, to achieve 15-y useful service life.
    Battery system rated capacity would be
    1000 GWh/0.6, available capacity factor = 1666 million kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage
    All-in, turnkey, capital cost of battery systems would be
    1666 million kWh x $400/kWh/$1000000000 = $666 billion; most of it would need to be replaced every 15 years. See Note

    NOTE: The rated capacity of the Moss Landing, California, battery system, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is 300 MW/1200 MWh.
    The all-in, turnkey, capital cost was $370 million, or $370 million/1200000 kWh =  $308/kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage; 2018 pricing
    The 2018 pricing has increased at least 30% to $400/kWh in 2022

    Li-ion battery systems have a loss of about 18%, when new, and about 20%, when older, on an A-to-Z basis
    We will look at a 1 GWh battery system

    Delivered by battery system is 1 GWh, as AC to high voltage grid
    Charge in battery system is 1 GWh/0.9 = 1.111 GWh, as DC
    Electricity to battery system is 1.111/0.9 = 1.235 GWh, as AC from high voltage grid
    The 0.235 GWh loss has to be produced by additional solar panels, of other generators!!

    NOTE: Remember, all of this solar fantasy to “save the planet” is highly subsidized with ratepayer and taxpayer money, to provide tax shelters to line the pockets of the world’s, well-connected, high rollers, who often have private planes, and private yachts, and mega mansions, and God knows what else.

  2. There is only one form of government that tells its citizens what kind of car they MUST drive, and punishes them with loss of personal property rights and freedom of movement if they do not comply. A Communist government. Will people PLEASE stop dancing around this issue and call this scenario what it is? It is Communism, pure and simple. The so-called “Green Agenda” is nothing more than bringing on a disguised Communist form of government to control people, using the environment as the excuse. The common people will bear the brunt of this globalist lust for power while the elites will not suffer in the least. After all, the climate elites just flew in 400 airplanes to their most recent Climate Conference, leaving carbon footprints all over the atmosphere, and ate steak, while lecturing us on getting rid of our much smaller family cars and learning to eat insects. This whole globalist agenda leaves God out of the picture entirely, and is profoundly anti Judeo-Christian. It will make slaves of the world’s human population, subject to the dictatorial will of the globalist elites. And these elites, who we have plenty of in the Vermont Legislature, care not a whit because there are no consequences to them personally for being wrong and tyrannical. What the heck happened to freedom, Vermonters? What happened to the Constitution? Why are you voting yourselves into serfdom?

  3. Thanks VT voters for giving us leaders who can’t think for themselves so will gladly follow commiefornia over the cliff of financial ruin in the name of climate hoax. This only proves the state has very few Independent minded souls left, just a bunch of sheep or better yet lemmings who will gladly jump off the cliff for nothing. On a side note for the lemmings all that effort to save 0.003% of the co2 will be hugely offset by China’s new coal fired plants..

  4. Representative Higley leaves so much unanswered. Perhaps by design. The change and costs that must be borne by Vermont are monumental. His concern regarding Vermont’s fuel tax receipts
    seems almost disingenuous compared to the billions of dollars that must be spent on infrastructure to
    assuage the need for increased electrical energy to support this fictional hatred of carbon.
    As taxpayers, ratepayers and consumers we are in for an economic assault. This biennium of legislative socialists intends to solve all of the imagined problems in Vermont with copious amounts of our cash. Without any interference. Rep. Higley knows what’s right and just for Vermont, but unless he zips his mouth and sits on his hands, he will be given the cold shoulder, ignored and maligned, particularly by House “leadership”- much like what Rep. Pat Brennan was subjected to last session.
    Mr. Eshelman’s warning of Praemonitus praemunitius is not a platitude- We need to pay heed to his words. And when we tally up the score, physics will remain undefeated- we still need CO2 in our atmosphere.

  5. Readers must understand this. The man with the gold makes the rules.


    Its acronym is ESG. Environmental, Social, and Governance ratings. We’re being observed, censored, indoctrinated, manipulated, and coerced.

    Yes, I can hear the clamor now… ‘over my dead body’.

    Well, unless you’re better prepared than I think you are, able to raise your ‘personal global credit score’ and still maintain your personal liberty, that assessment of the end game is probably correct.

    Praemonitus praemunitus – forewarned is forearmed.

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