Lawmakers hear about enforcement and energy curtailment for Global Warming Solutions Act

Michael Bielawski/TNR

PUSHING GREEN ENERGY: From left to right are David Cash, dean of the Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies for the University of Massachusetts, and Ken Colburn, co-chair of the Energy Working Group of the Maine Climate Council.

MONTPELIER — Two policy experts from out-of-state in New England visited the House Energy and Technology Committee last week to talk about the do’s and don’ts of implementing Vermont’s latest green energy mandate bill, the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Some ideas lawmakers heard during the hearing include the importance of pursuing policy changes even when “democratic consensus” might be absent, and how the state could use advanced communications technologies to turn off appliances in people’s homes.

Ken Colburn, co-chair of the Energy Working Group of the Maine Climate Council, and David Cash, dean of the Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies for the University of Massachusetts, shared testimony. Both men expressed support for H.688, the Global Warming Solutions Act.

As Colburn and Cash reviewed latest trends in green-house gas emissions and target reductions, they discussed strategies to hit those targets, such as overhauling the energy and transportation sectors.

Colburn said that green energy goals should have teeth for enforcement.

“What is not in the bill, and I think it’s good, is no requirements with respect to how decisions are made,” he said. “One would hope and think that democratic consensus is the default, but at the end of the day, you all know far better than I how easy it is to say no to things and how hard it is to get a yes to things.”

Rep. Timothy Briglin, D-Thetford, pointed out that in the Vermont bill, lawmakers would have a say before the new policies get implemented.

“The council may make recommendations to the legislature,” he said.

He also told the committee that modern technology creates the potential for entities to control the energy usage of households.

“What is magical now is, technology is allowing us — and this bears on broadband penetration as well — to manage demand for the first time,” he said. We can tell a million refrigerators to shut down for five minutes to save us this peak. And if that won’t get us through the whole peak, we can tell a million water heaters to shut down.”

He also said his associates are predicting dire climate trends in the future, such as a rise in sea level for Maine.

Cash suggested that climate change mitigation efforts can be an economic benefit, and said Massachusetts now has more than 110,000 green energy jobs, up from 60,000 in 2010.

On the issue of promoting electric vehicles for reducing transportation emissions, Rep. Mark Higley, R-Lowell, noted that Massachusetts residents are not buying EVs.

“Out of 4.7 million vehicles registered in 2018, there’s only a little over 15,000 EVs, and the goal was maybe over 300,000 by 2025,” Higley said.

Cash told the committee that the solution is to get more public money to subsidize more purchases, and he cited the Transportation and Climate Initiative as a potential source of revenue.

After the meeting, Cash told True North that he is disappointed that the TCI hasn’t gotten more traction yet among New England states.

“The TCI would use, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, market-based mechanisms to both provide the right market signals and the right revenue to move to a future that encourages electric vehicles, encourages public transit, and again that will all ultimately have savings for consumers and businesses,” he said.

Colburn told the committee that the prices of wind and solar power are coming down. After the meeting, he told True North that achieving lower prices depends on where the energy is developed.

“Most of those very lowest prices are coming out of utility-scale installations — offshore would be a good example, large installations in the upper-midwest, large solar installations,” he said.

His advice to Vermont lawmakers working on the Global Warming Solutions Act is to monitor economic trends.

“Be attentive to the fact that the markets are rapidly changing at this point, particularly in the electric energy sector,” he said. “That dovetails heavily with the transportation sector via EVs, and the home sector via heat pumps for heating and also other appliances.”

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

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

20 thoughts on “Lawmakers hear about enforcement and energy curtailment for Global Warming Solutions Act

  1. The coming to fruition of the Big Brother ideology implanted into the American culture in the late 1960’s; “the importance of pursuing policy changes even when “democratic consensus” might be absent.” This is a threat to each citizens’ rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. You can label such logic as communistic. It’s lords and serfs all over again. Might as well forget the Constitution.
    If such regressive ideas are found acceptable for the sake of saving VT from it’s so called “ignorant masses”, regarding climate change, what will prevent further erosion of rights when the masses don’t respond to the ruling regressives on other matters? This is a slippery slope that will lead to a downhill slide to economic and social ruin.
    What makes this a stench unimaginable, is the abandonment of the the Democratic process that even the regressives swore to upholding, when voted into their offices.

  2. What will happen when Atlas shrugs? Will all the Marxists go away and leave anyone left to rebuild. Will anyone left, know how to rebuild, given what children are learning in school now

  3. Here we go again with The Sky Is Falling, The Sky is Falling !!

    Why is that every time we have these Climate masterminds telling us ” Vermonter’s”
    what we should be doing, they are from states that have CO2 and Climate issues, and
    they’re telling us ????

    Maybe they should look at how our state is doing and follow our process.

    Liberals, facts just don’t matter, it’s all about an agenda !!

    • It’s all about the money. If there was no profit involved in climate change, the carpetbaggers and puppet politicians would find something else to shove down Vermonters throats.

  4. All this time spent spinning wheels on the Global Warming Act is a classic example of just how broken the system is in Montpelier. There are far more pressing issues demanding attention, but unfortunately, these “feel good” clowns continue to pursue pie in the sky schemes which are totally useless.



    BOTH in favor of TCI which has NO TRACTION in New Hampshire and Vermont and Maine, all mostly RURAL states.

    They likely would be on the board of the TCI entity.

    “TCI will distribute a FRACTION of the allowances revenues to states?”

    After paying exorbitant salaries and expenses to the TCI organization and wise bureaucrats thinking up and administering this cumbersome TCI scheme, what happens to the fraction, after exorbitant expenses, that is NOT distributed to states?

    This looks to me like another costly boondoggle about to go viral.

    New England needs it like another hole in the head!

    The TCI scheme is wide open to fraud, waste and abuse, as there will be minimal, to no, meaningful oversight, other than by pre-selected insiders who agree with the TCI agenda, i.e., the fox guarding the hen house!!!

    TCI will become a proxy CARBON TAX collector for states, AT A FAT FEE. Vermont needs that like another hole in the head!
    Legislators in each state do not have to vote for much-hated CARBON TAXES, which would be increasing each year, until we all croak.

    They would be “off the hook”. They would say with sad faces: “I know you pay more taxes, but it is not my fault, and re-elect me anyway. Bull manure!

    November is near. Vote the bums out. Term limits.

    Legislators of each state should be ashamed to allow a large amount of hard-earned CARBON TAX money being mis-appropriated by a TCI “super-state” entity over which they likely would have minimal, or no, control.

    Another autonomous/out-of-control Big Brother Entity.

    Analysis shows the new CARBON taxes would add up to about $56 BILLION, due to fuel dealers buying allowances over 10 years, to reduce CO2 by an additional 1% to 6%, above what would be reduced by EXISTING policies. That sounds really cost effective!!

    Vermont has a Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP. The capital cost for implementing the CEP would be in excess of $1.0 BILLION PER YEAR FOR AT LEAST 33 YEARS, according to the Energy Action Network annual report.

    The CEP projects plug-ins and EVs as shown in table 1.
    The CEP-projected sales rate is 2,500 vehicles for 2020, but the actual sales rate appears to be about 700/y.

    the CEP should be revised based on reality

    The CEP is:

    Table 1/Electric Vehicles in Vermont; Plug-in hybrids; EVs; Total
    CEP projected annual sales for 2020; 1,750; 750; 2,500
    As of Oct, 2017;.;.; 2,100
    As of Oct, 2018;.;.; 2,800
    As of Jul, 2019; 2032; 1,256; 3,288
    As of Oct, 2019; estimate;.;.; 3,450

    • Maybe for winter time commuting, EV manufacturers can come up with a battery booster pack built into a small tow behind trailer to offset the vehicle’s loss of battery capacity due to cold temperatures, cabin heat and defrost, and battery heat. Obviously, I’m being sarcastic. Such an idea would create a list of issues such as parking spaces not long enough, too many people who can’t back a trailer, lack of storage space for in warm months. Oh yeah, one other consideration is, the extra power consumed to charge the vehicle’s and their booster packs.

  6. Vermont’s impact on climate change isn’t even measurable. These wackos are willing to harm working Vermonters and the elderly, so they can line their pockets and feel smart and morally superior.

      • The crux of this issue is, politicos are voted into office to represent their constituents. They do the voting for them as they see fit. Only if the public could vote on individual key issues would the public actually have a voice, and the power. As it is now, the carpetbaggers and puppet politicians are the only forces directing VT.

  7. Electric companies with their installed “smart meters” can now shut appliances off or on when they want to control the electrical grid capacity in high use periods, on an individual’s homes.

    Yup, “Colburn said that green energy goals should have teeth for enforcement.”.

    So nice to see “learned professors” pushing their agenda on the populace. Generally professors can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Yet the Socialists in Montpelier will gobble up the rhetoric, another “feel good” legislation coming.

    • I give three guesses as to whose houses wouldn’t get shut down during extreme peak periods, and the first two don’t count.

  8. Here is a better solution you marxist Liberty grabbers. Vermont buys everyone a Powerwall Home Battery from Tesla to relieve pressure on a failing, inefficient, overpriced grid system. Continue to invest in decentralized, low carbon footprint home energy solutions and get the hell out of my house, my garage and my wallet. This is about control, not good environmental or economic policy that adheres to our Constitution and our way of life. We must do all we can to fight these marxist and reject the draconian measures they are crafting to rule over our personal lives. They must be reminded that entire communist nations are running amuck with attacks against our global environment while blaming the west. Bring your marxist/leninist tactics of authoritarian control back to the dustbin of human history. Get these “experts” out of our Statehouse.

  9. Politics attracts pathological control freaks like playgrounds attract pederasts. Dammit. They’re fanatic about it, cost and consequences be damned. Recent exhaustive research places responsibility for variations in the planet’s temperature with solar output and cloud cover – which we knew before the research was even done. When electric vehicles compete practically and economically with gas/Diesel vehicles they’ll take over the market like steam ships replaced wind power and Diesel electric locomotives supplanted wood burners. Technology is now advancing so rapidly that by the time anything’s installed and operating it’s obsolete already while our current energy generation facilities have well over a century of development and refinement. Massive investment in technologies still in the development stage is lunacy when a practical, working system is already in place. Give technology time – Someday, maybe even soon, we’ll even have flashlights you don’t have to bang on something to get them to light.

  10. Jeez, will my grandchildren be able to toast marshmallows? Over an open fire? Will the flatlanders be able toast chestnuts? Or will that activity bring the green police?

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