Lawmakers hear clean heat standard to create ‘winners’ and ‘losers’

Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Facebook page

NO MORE OIL HEAT?: Vermont is attempting to shift resources away from oil and gas heating systems and into electric heating systems.

Lawmakers in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday continued discussions on the “clean heat standard,” which would create financial incentives for non-carbon emitting forms of home-heating systems — such as cold-climate heat pumps and newer electric-based technologies.

During the committee meeting, Matt Cota, executive director for the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, told lawmakers that the ambitions of this bill are unrealistic.

“The all-electric thermal-energy heating policy is not realistic,” he said. “There is this notion that a Mitsubishi heat pump [system] that goes on your wall is somehow replacing your central heating system — that is not true. … The reality is that most Vermonters cannot live in this cold rural state without combustion.”

Cota also addressed a comment made in the prior day’s hearing about who the “winners and losers” will be if the clean heat standard is implemented.

“Who are the winners and losers here? Well, look to the north and look to the east,” Cota said.

He listed several large power companies including Hydro Quebec, Green Mountain Power, Mitsubishi, and more.

“Anyone that sells an electron, produces an electron, counts an electron, distributes an electron or sells a device that needs electrons, they are winning, big time,” Cota said. “Who are the losers? Don’t look that far. … Anyone that continues to sell heating oil, propane, [or] kerosene in the state of Vermont will have to pay a higher price and so will their consumers.

“Call it a tax, call it a fee, call it a fine, call it a penalty — honestly, genuinely, I don’t care. It’s a semantic argument for two purposes: a political argument, number one, and number two, a legal argument. Because we all know that the Constitution requires the legislature to issue a tax.”

The committee also heard from Hantz Presume, manager of transmission planning for the Vermont Electric Power Company. Presume discussed how increases in the use of electric cars and heating will cause winter-peaking in electric demands over the coming winters, and he said intermittent forms of renewables such as wind and solar may not be much help.

“Because of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other electrification efforts … because of the timing of the peak — after dark — any solar will not provide benefits during the peak hours.”

He said the power company doesn’t see a need to reinforce the transmission systems within the next 10 years, adding that, based on the assumption that utilities will invest in new energy storage capacities — meaning batteries — the current  infrastructure should be sufficient for now.

Darren Springer, general manager for the Burlington Electric Department, called for new climate-mitigating costs to be shifted onto fuel providers.

“If you look at the total burden that we’ve placed on our electric customers in terms of taxes and fees per unit cost, they are much higher on electricity than they are on a number of our heating fuel providers,” he said.

Steve Crowley, chair of the Sierra Club Energy Committee, said he would like the bill to be stricter in regard to allowing bio-heating systems to be included in Vermont’s energy usage.

“When you start ramping them up is when you have the problems, and figuring out where you’ve reached that point is the challenge,” he said. “So we would like to build in systems that can do that effectively. We don’t think that’s there yet in the bill.”

Crowley suggested that using cropland for transportation affects the use of cropland for regular agriculture.

“Right now we’re clear-cutting massive amounts of forest in the southeast United States to send to Europe as woodchips for fuel. Already the use of biofuels in the place of gasoline is creating competition between cropland that’s used for food and cropland that’s been used for energy.”

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

Image courtesy of Vermont Fuel Dealers Association Facebook page
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10 thoughts on “Lawmakers hear clean heat standard to create ‘winners’ and ‘losers’

  1. Batteries will provide, he said. Its poppycock and the Vt. Electric man knows it.

    I once worked a company that powered the world in a group designing and selling battery storage systems. They eventually learned that all battery storage can actually do is provide power to cover the load for a few minutes, until gas turbines come up to speed and power the grid.

    If VT continues on this stupid road, they need a program that buys out the homes of everyone who wants to escape this idiot, wishful, stupid thinking. Its the world of the 1960s dropout hippies gone mad.

  2. The committee heard from Hantz Presume that “Because of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other electrification efforts … because of the timing of the peak — after dark — any solar will not provide benefits during the peak hours.”

    What was the reaction to knowing renewables are ineffective (as well costly both in construction, materials to manufacture and replacement every 15 years? Especially in VT?

    “He said the power company doesn’t see a need to reinforce the transmission systems within the next 10 years, adding that, BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION that utilities will invest in new energy storage capacities — meaning batteries — the current infrastructure should be sufficient FOR NOW.”

    We all know what happens with assumptions…. So, that does not bode well for being ready when the battery investment and capacity isn’t there.

    Divestment in fossil fuels/energy will be the greatest debacle in mankind’s history, if we allow it to be.

    • The Tesla supply, such as their Megapacks, one per trailer truck, of Utility-grade, li-ion battery systems, costs about $550/kWh, 2022 prices, but that is not the total cost of an entire battery system on a site..

      When all other costs are added, the total cost becomes about $650 to $700/kWh

      Plus such systems last at most 15 years, after which they are to be shipped back to Tesla for “processing”, whatever that means. That “service” likely is not for free.

      GMP needs battery systems on all distribution grids with many pv solar systems to absorb the midday solar bulge and deliver the electricity at peak times, an extremely expensive freebie “service” for pv system owners, who are the disturbers.

      Heavily-subsidized midday solar at a cost of at least 20 c/kWh is stored in the battery, about 15 to 20 percent is lost, ac to ac basis, and the reduced quantity is discharged into the grid during peak times when GMP wholesale prices are about 7 to 8 c/kWh THAT IS A MONEY LOOSING ARBITRAGE

      PLUS, GMP makes 9%/y on its battery investment.
      PLUS, there are many other costs related to battery system owning and operation and maintenance

      THE WORD BOONDOGGLE COMES TO MIND TO COVER THE SITUATION

      AT THE VERY LEAST GMP SHOULD PROVIDE US THEIR SPREADSHEETS STATING ALL ASSUMPTIONS

      • Battery Systems Losses due to Absorbing Midday Solar Bulges
        https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital-costs-losses-and-aging

        Those losses are a major battery operating cost almost never mentioned by stakeholders. Those losses certainly are not obvious to lay people

        About 219,000 kWh/y is drawn from the grid to absorb midday solar bulges during the year.
        This solar electricity experiences a 20% loss as it passes through the battery system
        This solar electricity has a heavily subsidized, all-in cost of about 22 c/kWh. See URL
        http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar
        The remaining 182,500 kWh/y is fed to the grid during peak hours of late-afternoon/early-evening, when wholesale prices are about 8 c/kWh

        The resulting electricity loss is about 219000 – 182500 = 36,500 kWh/y
        The resulting dollar loss is about 219000 x 22 c/kWh – 182500 x 8 c/kWh = $48180 – $14600 = $33,580/y, or 33580/182500 = 18.4 c/kWh of annual throughput

        That dollar loss is definitely not charged to solar system Owners (the grid disturbers) or battery system Owners
        A utility likely “takes care of it” by burying it in the next rate increase request to the VT PUC, i.e., that loss is shifted onto ratepayers, taxpayers, and government debts

        General Comments

        All of the above is well known by the engineers of larger utilities, who proudly own multiple grid-scale battery systems.
        Those utilities have the detailed operating and cost data to perform refined analyses.
        They share some of their data with the EIA, on an anonymous basis.
        They do not publish the analyses on their websites, or in their reports, or in press releases, because there would likely be major blowback from a better-informed citizenry.
        Utilities think it is best to keep things fuzzy, cozy, and happy, with lots of smiling employees, always there to serve you.

        Big Bucks are at Stake

        VELCO wants $2.2 BILLION to upgrade its Vermont HV grid to be ready for EVs, HPs and more Solar and Wind, as part of fighting 1) climate change, 2) global warming, 3) COVID, 4) China, 5) Russia, 6) Anything

        GMP, a major Vermont utility, with about 78% of Vermont’s electricity market, owned by Canadian/French investors, likely wants a similar capital infusion for 1) extending/augmenting its distribution grids and 2) building out a state-wide system of EV chargers.
        GMP gets its funding, via the VT PUC, the VT-DPS, and the Legislature

        • EV Battery Systems

          Grid-scale battery systems are entirely different from the mass-produced battery packs in electric cars, which operate about 700 hours per year, are warranted to have a loss of no more than 30% of capacity, at end of year 8, in case of Tesla

          The cost of a 60-kW replacement battery is about $10,000, or $165/kWh, plus about $2000 for labor, etc.
          That replacement cost may eventually become $125/kWh, plus labor, etc., due to more mass production in future years.

          Who, of rational mind, would switch batteries, at a $12,000 total cost, in an 8-y-old car?

          As the price of tungsten recently became $100,000/ metric ton, prices of battery packs are likely to increase, rather than decrease
          The Tesla model 3 ($55,000) and model Y ($60,000), AWD, long range, excluding state sales taxes, had another price increase of $1000, in March 2022.

  3. This is a fantasy headed for failure. I have radiant floor heat powered by nat gas, am I supposed to rip that all out and install forced air or heat pumps on walls? Who is going to pay for all that? And with regard to EV’s, it’s a fantasy that we are going to flip “everyone” to them. Most Vermonters drive used vehicles, how are they going to be able to trade those in and buy an EV for a total cost of $40, 50k? These are the kinds of things that countries force march their populations into compliance on. And for what? So we can all pat ourselves on the back and not be able to see the carbon needle move one inch in the Vermont, the US or the world? If you thought it was expensive to live here before, watch out, it’s about to get VERY expensive.

  4. Do they include chemtrails–er, solar radiation management in those costs?
    It’s the biggest racket of all time.

  5. Trying to solve the industrial pollution at a civilian level is … pretzel logic.
    In Vermont, we actually are so good that we SELL our credits to the states who are doing nothing to change their ways, where the industries are polluting the air.
    We are helping New Yorkers, Pennasylvanians, and others who buy our credits…not us.
    But to the Globalists, we’re captive consumers, and never mind Vermont has never been the problem.
    Yeah… solving and fixing other people’s problems has always been such a successful modus operandi.

    Wood stoves.

    • If every household in Vermont had a wood stove,

      1) not only would Vermont become deforested, because there is not enough NEW GROWTH ON HARVESTABLE ACREAGE, but

      2) also there would be MAJOR PARTICULATE POLLUTION ALL OVER VERMONT, ESPECIALLY IN THE BUILT-UP AREAS.

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