McClaughry: Crunch time for the Global Warming Solutions Act

By John McClaughry

The pending Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688) has become the must-pass Holy Grail of Vermont’s climate activists.

During his six year tenure (2011-2016), Gov. Peter Shumlin enthusiastically signed numerous bills, mostly aimed at forcing electric utilities to rely more on renewable electricity, less on fossil fueled grid power, and none from Vermont’s nuclear plant.

Beginning in Shumlin’s last term the climate lobby focused on getting the Legislature to impose a hefty carbon tax on heating oil, natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel and propane. Two carbon tax bills were introduced in that biennium, five more in the next, and three more in the current one. All were sponsored by Democrats. Despite two-to-one Democratic majorities in both House and Senate, none of these bills even came to a vote.

John McClaughry

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

In 2018, getting nowhere with that year’s carbon tax plan, the climate lobby switched its focus to “reducing CO2 emissions” and got the Legislature to spend $120,000 on a consultant’s study of the prospects for “decarbonization.” The report appeared in February 2019. Its findings were based on the doubtful assumption that Vermonters would agree to let largely imaginary “climate benefits” projected to accrue elsewhere on the planet compensate for their diminished economic welfare here.

Nonetheless, the report found that there was no amount of carbon tax burden that would drive people out of using fossil fuels, at least unless many “non-pricing policy approaches” (i.e., regulation, mandates, prohibitions and subsidies) were added on top of the tax.

Enter the new Holy Grail — the Global Warming Solutions Act (H.688). Now the focus is on curtailing emissions. As passed by House and Senate, the GWSA makes mandatory an enormous reduction in CO2 emissions from businesses, transportation and home heating sufficient to reduce Vermont’s present 9 MMTCO2 annual emissions by 80% in 2050.

Bypassing the governor, the bill would create a Climate Council to instruct the Governor’s cabinet officers on how to achieve this enormous reduction. The climate lobby has decided that although Gov. Scott talks a respectable game about the menace of climate change, in practice he won’t place significant new burdens on the state’s enfeebled economy, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

Under GWSA, if the state agencies fall behind in adopting rules to drive down emissions, “any person” can bring a lawsuit to force them to go further. If the plaintiff “substantially prevails,” the taxpayers get the bill for its legal costs.

From the standpoint of its legislative sponsors, here’s the beauty of the GWSA: No matter how costly, no matter how burdensome, no matter or invasive these rules will need to be to drive emissions down by 80% over 30 years, no legislator will ever have to vote on them! So much for our constitutional requirement that “all officers of the government, whether legislative or executive, are the people’s trustees and servants and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.”

Three times, most recently in mid-August, Gov. Scott has tried to meet the Legislature partway on the bill’s provisions. He asked that the climate council report to the governor, that the “any person” lawsuit be scrapped, and that the legislators make themselves accountable for approving the many regulatory schemes the climate council will think up. The Democratic leadership rejected all of those proposals.

This week the House will accept the minor Senate amendments and vote to send the bill to the governor. He can sign it, let it become law without his signature, or veto it. The House will put $586,000 into the General Fund appropriations bill to get GWSA started, then add another $386,000 later.

Gov. Scott has powerful grounds for a veto. Whether two-thirds of House and Senate would vote to override his well-founded veto eight weeks before election day is a touchy political question. It will be seriously touchy if the governor forcefully vetoes this far-reaching but wrong-headed bill, the grave defects of which he has already pointed out, and which was passed by Democratic majorities in the midst of an economy-crippling pandemic and a $170 million General Fund deficit.

This final legislative action will put on record, six weeks before the election, the legislators who think they can hide in the shadows while an unaccountable bureaucracy, given broad instructions to achieve a probably impossible goal and goaded on by taxpayer-financed lawsuits, regulates and mandates 80% of Vermont’s CO2 emissions out of existence. Or so they think.

Meanwhile, China announced last November that it will construct 148 thousand megawatts of new coal-fired power plants. One 1,600 MW Chinese coal plant running 80% of the time will emit more fossil-fuel carbon dioxide in a year than the entire state of Vermont. The Chinese program is building the equivalent of 92 such plants.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Images courtesy of Public domain and John McClaughry

23 thoughts on “McClaughry: Crunch time for the Global Warming Solutions Act

  1. The cost of heating oil and gas will cause people to give up their homes because of the cost, especially older people who are retired and on fixed income.

  2. “California has found itself strapped for electricity this summer during heat waves in the later hours of the day. In seeking to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, the state has almost eliminated coal-fired generation and reduced its reliance on natural-gas power in favor of renewable energy.”

    California closed 15 of its 19 shore-line, gas-fired plants, efficiency about 55 to 60 percent, that were using the enormous Pacific Ocean for cooling water!!
    That shut-down process had been on auto-pilot

    All the various RE idiots were praising each other how well they were doing.
    Hi fives all around
    California, a roll model for Vermont and Maine, etc.

    All RE dreamers lost sight of the BIG PICTURE.
    No one considered: 1) outages, 2) a southwest heat wave, 3) no wind, and 4) no sun DURING PEAK HOURS

    The incompetent dreamers of the Cal Environmental Board said: “The Pacific Ocean was heating up.”!
    Wow, you just cannot be make this up.

  3. 1) GWSA would be in effect for DECADES, and far worse for the future of Vermonters.
    Vermonters would have NO RECOURSE, because the SUPREME COUNCIL, staffed with RE fanatics, is not subject to any oversight by the governor’s administration.
    This looks like major DISENFRANCHISEMENT of Vermonters rights, i.e., GWSA likely would be unconstitutional.

    So far, not a word from the VT judicial system.


    Go to the voting booth and vote the culprits out en masse.
    Clean house big time, before it is too lateNatural gas is CRUSHING wind and solar.

    2) Calizuela, Vermont’s RE role-model, has shut-down 15 of its 19 shoreline gas power plants, because they were warming the vast PACIFIC OCEAN.

    This is beyond absurd, but, hey, this Calizuela.
    That Andreas Fault should widen to about 100 miles, so it could declare itself an independent nation.

    The shut-downs greatly contributed to having not enough power plants to avoid rolling blackouts, DURING A MULTI-DAY, HEAT WAVE WITH 110+ temps!!!!


    Vermont would do the same, if Vermont would have gas power plants.
    Never mind McNeal and Ryegate wood burners being far worse regarding CO2 than any gas plant, much worse even than coal.
    Vermont already hounded VY out-of-business, for purely POLITICAL REASONS.

  4. The Global Warming Solutions Act is a classic example of what trash bins were created for. Time to wake up and get real. TRASH IT!!!!

  5. Treasonous at best, totally irresponsible at the worst, please vote out these social justice, virtue signaling, brain dead minions so that we can get back to having government help not hurt the people that they are supposed to help!!!!

  6. This commentary by John McClaughry has also been posted on the VTDigger. Posted along with his commentary on the VTD are two other commentaries defending GWSA written by Vermont House Democrat Reps. Laura Sililia and Mike Mrowicki.

    Given the repeatedly stated critical nature of climate change, the defenses of the GWSA provided by Sililia and Mrowicki are remarkably devoid of substance. Their defenses were shallow, off target and amounted to worn out platitudes. You can read what they said at:

    These two commentaries defending GWSA make no mention of the substantive issues related to the bill: Cost and what do Vermonters get? They fail to address:

    1. Cost to build the renewable energy infrastructure needed to power Vermont (Billions?)
    2. Cost of these sources of electricity for Vermont citizens and business as opposed to alternatives?
    3. Reliability problems of solar and wind ( Recent California blackouts)
    4. Impact on the operation of the Grid?
    5. Where is the new infrastructure going to be built and what are the standards for development?
    6 What measurable benefits will inure to Vermonters?
    7. What measurable levels of greenhouse gases must Vermont achieve in 2025 and after to justify continuing the GWSA?

    None of these and other fundamental questions about GWSA are answered or even addressed by Reps. Sililia and Mrowicki. Perhaps, no one on the Vermont Legislature can answer these and similar questions. If so there is no way that GWSA should proceed.

  7. The way to defeat this nonsense is not a frontal assault on stupidity, when you argue with someone that thinks they know everything and don’t you’ll be defeated everytime, they are narcissists and fools.

    No the best way is to show the world and the entire state how little they truly believe their own rhetoric, by exposing them.

    Nancy Pelosi gave us an excellent example with getting her hair done in a state that didn’t allow salon owners to be open for business, and didn’t even wear a mask.

    This is how our President wins, just allow them to expose themselves, don’t get onto the mud with them. You end up,getting covered with mud and the pig loves it.

    • Name and shame?
      They had the votes in January, but after that all hell broke loose.
      They do not have the votes in September or in October.
      It should be a NO-BRAINER TO VETO THAT “LAW”
      Any one voting for GWSA likely will be TOAST, i.e., ousted by the voters, especially those who have strong GOP opponents.

      Dem/Progs, with Media, jumped on the virus, in overdrive, to damage Trump.
      We got him now!!!
      No matter what Trump could have done, it would have been a “day late and a dollar short”.

      The COVID tests are very sensitive
      Detect the slightest amount of virus; THAT BECOMES A CASE.
      No wonder the US has so many cases!

      But regarding DEATHS/100,000 people, the US is 5th or 6th, which is not bad for a FREEDOM-LOVING country.
      We must be doing something right, compared to the others.

      There is no way Vermont can come up with a global warming SOLUTION.
      It is completely nuts/bizarre to even think that way.

      Vermont Energy Independent?

      Some time ago, some RE nutcases wanted Vermont to be ENERGY INDEPENDENT.
      It turned out, they had not a clue what that meant.

      Vermont being energy independent is pure nonsense. Proponents likely do not know what that implies, or are engaged in a PR “feel good” that aims to bamboozle lay Vermonters, and boost their businesses with subsidies, such as a carbon tax, and increase prices for already-struggling households and businesses in the anemic, near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy.

      For Vermont to be truly “energy independent”, it would have to:

      – Disconnect from the NE electric grid, i.e., not use it as a crutch.

      – Produce all of its primary energy, which includes the energy for generating electricity, for transportation, and for heating and cooling, from in-state energy sources; energy for generating electricity is only about 35% of all primary energy.

      – Have enough thermal and electrical energy storage capacity, GWh, of various types, to cover wind and solar lulls, especially in winter, and to cover the seasonal variation of wind and solar generation, to ensure adequate electricity and other energy supply, including Vermont-sourced synthetic fuels, to the Vermont economy, 24/7/365, year after year.

      – The capital cost of just the energy storage systems would be many billions of dollars.

      – The operating and maintenance cost of such renewable energy systems would be several multiples of the existing Vermont energy system.

      – Such an endeavor would be far beyond rational and would permanently cripple the anemic near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy. See URL.

      NOTE: In the 1600s, Vermont, 9609 square mile land area, had about 10,000 natives, about 1.0 native per square mile. They were financially independent and energy independent. In 2017, Vermont population about 620,000, about 65 people per square mile, each of whom uses a lot more energy and a lot more stuff, almost all of it imported into Vermont from all over the world. That stuff has embedded energy. Would energy independence mean no more imported embedded energy as well? We would make our own cars and computers, with homegrown materials, etc.?

      NOTE: Vermont’s 250-year-old practice of cutting trees, splitting them into firewood, etc., is a form of seasonal energy shifting, as it takes energy harvested during summer for use during the winter.

      What if Vermont Were Generating Its Electricity from Wood Burning

      Let us assume, as part of being “energy independent”, Vermont would generate its entire electricity supply by using wood burning power plants.

      The electricity supply to Vermont’s utilities is about 6 billion kWh/y.
      If that were generated by wood at 25% efficiency, a la McNeil and Ryegate, wood required would be about 6 billion kWh/y/0.25 x 3412 Btu/kWh x 125 lb wood (dry)/1 million Btu x 1 short ton/2000 lbs = 5.12 million short ton (dry)/y, or about 10 million short ton (wet)/y; “as harvested” wood contains about 50% moisture.

      In 2016, Vermont’s wood used for electricity, from in-state and out-of-state, was about 720,000 short ton (wet)

      Wood used for electricity would have to increase 10/0.72 = 13.9 times, for Vermont to be energy independent ONLY FOR ELECTRICITY, which uses only 35% of all primary energy.

      THE SAME CAREER BUREAUCRATS AND LEGISLATORS HAVE CONCOCTED GWSA, which would be disastrous for the future well-being of Vermonters.

      • The don’t even have to pass the bill to win.

        That’s what people are missing. They only want to control the narrative, money and media, and despite us posting sane arguments, they will never reach the populace of Vermont .

        The populace of Vermont is being fed, from VPR, media matters, move, rights and democracy, now this and democratic socialists, BLM, Antifa etc. It is amazing good propaganda sent to every IPhone several times per day.

        They are in many ways better off if it doesn’t pass, because they can BLAME it on the GOP….and still control all the money and power, which is their true goal. And if it doesn’t pass they don’t have to suffer the consequences.

        Make now mistake they want socialism, they want the United Nations New World Order….they could care less about the environment or your health, they are only using these to have total control and subvert our constitutional republic.

        Yeah doing direct interview with legislators would be awesome, you’d quickly see, the public would quickly see who has a grasp of what is going on and who is clueless.

        You would be awesome to interview….they’d have no answers for your questions.

  8. My suggestion to every Vermont resident who intends to vote on November 3rd. for his/her State Senator or her/his member of the State House of Representatives:

    Before casting your vote, first check to see if any of them who desire to represent you in the Vermont General Assembly have supported this abominable bill. If they have, for heaven’s sake, vote for someone else! If this bill should pass in the legislature sometime in the next week or so, you, your children and your grandchildren will be paying through the nose for it for years and years to come.
    This one’s a doozy.

    Show the numb-noses and knuckleheads in Montpelier that you’ve had enough of their nonsense.
    It’s about time that they stopped following the demands of their far-left oriented leaders and voted
    for legislation that will support what you want for a change.

  9. Subsidized Solar Profiteers Aided and Abetted by Legislators

    SunCommon, politically well-connected, wants to build-out solar for solar’s sake, because it makes good money installing solar systems. He does not care about:

    1) Net-Metered solar and Standard-Offer solar being charged to the utility rate base at up to 21.7 c/kWh, whereas such solar is worth to a utility about 8.5 c/kWh; N-M and S-O are the most expensive energy sources in the GMP electricity supply mix. See Appendix
    2) The capital cost of expensive grid extension/augmentation to physically connect solar systems and expensive battery storage to subsequently deal with their output variations. See Solar Coddling Services.
    3) Ratepayers, taxpayers, etc., paying through the nose, while they are being told various fables/fantasies about Vermont fighting climate change. See explanation of cost-shifting in Table 4.
    4) His subsidy-fueled solar job creation causing increased costs, decreased job creation, and anemic growth in other sectors.

    Free Solar Coddling Services: SunCommon does not care about midday, grid-disturbing, DUCK-curves, and grid-disturbing downward output spikes due to variable cloudy weather.

    Owners of other generators, mostly gas turbine plants, are required to rapidly decrease their outputs to let his unruly, unreliable, expensive, solar onto the grid, starting around mid-morning, and then they are required to rapidly increase their outputs to fill the void, as solar nods off to go to sleep, starting late-afternoon/early-evening (a period with peak demands, mind you), until about mid-morning the next day.

    A rational person likely would think it is a true miracle, that solar, being such an expensive, troublesome, mostly absent “worker”, is getting all these subsidies, plus free coddling services.

    Table 3 shows the prices of solar, before and after subsidies, and before and after cost shifting, in sun-starved New England.

    Table 3/Vermont & NE sources Total Grid support* Subsidies Paid to GMP Added to
    cost cost to owner owner adder rate base
    c/kWh c/kWh c/kWh c/kWh c/kWh c/kWh
    Solar, residential rooftop, net-metered, new 24.7 2.1 5.2 17.4 3.4 20.8
    Solar, residential rooftop, net-metered, legacy 25.5 2.1 5.4 18.0 3.7 21.7
    Solar, com’l/ind’l, standard offer, new* 22.7 2.1 9.6 11.0 ? 11.0
    Solar, com’l/ind’l, standard offer, legacy 34.3 2.1 10.5 21.7 ? 21.7
    Wind, ridge line, new* 18.8 2.4 7.4 9.0 ? 9.0

    * Grid support includes FORTRESS VERMONT grid extension/augmentation, storage to deal with DUCK-curves, curtailment payments to solar system owners, traditional generators (mostly gas turbines) counteracting solar output variations, etc.
    * Competitive bidding reduced prices paid to owner from 24 – 30 c/kWh to about 11.0 c/kWh


    Is not it amazing, after EAN, VEIC and VELCO advocated solar build-outs that are totally unrealistic, the VT House comes out with a Bill to increase solar build-outs?

    This section has information from this Seven-Days article, which contained some interesting information.

    The Bill mandates utilities buy 20% of their electricity supply, about 1.2 BILLION kWh/y, from in-state RE sources which effectively means solar, because the other RE sources are barely growing.


    – Is, by far, the most expensive electricity in the portfolio of VT utilities, such as 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 lay people, and some legislators eager to please Vermont solar businesses, but is far from it, according to energy systems analysts at VT-DPS and GMP, who oppose the solar expansion for various reasons.

    – Vermont had installed 364.24 MW ac, or 438.84 MW dc, at end 2019, per ISO-NE/VT-DPS, which had a legacy capital cost of about $2 billion.
    – In 2019, solar electricity generation was about 475,248 MWh, or 475.25/6000 = 7.9% of supply to utilities, or 475.25/5600 = 8.5% of consumption via wall sockets.
    – Vermont installed solar would need to increase to about 20/8.5 x 438.84 = 1033 MW dc, at end 2032, per House Bill. See Note.
    – The additional capital cost would be about (1032 – 438.84) x $3 million/MW = $1.781 billion, or $137 million/y for 13 years, excluding:

    1) Grid extension/augmentation to connect solar systems and deal with solar variability
    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 a lot less eager to have solar.

    NOTE: Legislators, and pro RE-entities, usually offer the “easy-talk/hand-waving” option of “we do this and that, by that date, and Vermonters will save lots of money, and save the climate”.
    However, the experts at VT-DPS and GMP 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.….

    Wind/Solar Lulls

    Some Bill proponents likely do not realize, Vermont (and New England, and Germany and Denmark, etc.) often has wind/solar lulls (extended overcast periods, with rain or snow, and little or no wind) of up to 5 to 7 days, 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. Sometimes, a second lull follows the first one a few days later.
    Where would the shortfall come from?
    Traditional generators in nearby states?

  11. EAN, VEIC, and VELCO Goals of 1000 MW of Solar by 2025 are Self-Serving and Unrealistic

    Their goals appear to be extremely dubious with:

    1) The Federal EV tax credit having been cancelled
    2) The solar Investment Tax Credit expiring in 2022
    3) The multi-year recession and high unemployment due to the virus economy.
    4) ASHPs Marginally Effective for Reducing CO2 in Average Vermont Houses. See ASHP URL
    5) EVs Minimally Reducing CO2 Compared with Efficient Gasoline Vehicles. See EV URL
    6) The recent FERC PURPA update to ensure proper competition, i.e., no sweetheart deals.

    Major increases of taxes, fees and surcharges on ratepayers, taxpayers, and adding to government debt to pay for their self-serving, dubious claims, likely would not be a palatable option. See table 2

    Table 2/ Federal ITC 2019 2020 2021 2022, etc.
    % % % %
    Residential 30 26 22 0
    Commercial 30 26 22 10


    This article shows ASHPs are ineffective in average Vermont houses.
    Owners lose money each year, and the CO2 percent reduction/ASHP is minor.
    EAN/VT-DPS concocted an artificial value of 34 g CO2/kWh to “evaluate” ASHPs, about 9 times less than NE grid CO2/kWh, to make ASHPs look extra good!!! See Appendix and URL


    This article shows owners would have cost savings/mile, even if compared against a higher-mileage gasoline vehicle
    The CO2 percent reduction/EV is minor, if compared to a higher-mileage gasoline vehicle, on a lifetime basis.
    EAN/VT-DPS concocted an artificial value of 34 g CO2/kWh to “evaluate” EVs, about 8 times less than NE grid CO2/kWh, to make EVs look extra good!!! See Appendix and URL



    – The membership of EAN includes ten prominent members of Vermont Department of Public Service, VT-DPS: June Tierney, Riley Allen, Ed McNamara, TJ Poore, Anne Margolis, Andrew Perchlik, Maria Fischer, Phillip Picotte, Ed Delhagen, Kelly Launder.
    – June Tierney is the Commissioner.
    – Andrew Perchlik is on loan to the Legislature to shepherd the GWSA and $1.2 billion “Fortress Vermont” bills to ensure they contain all the bennies for EAN members.
    – Perchlik manages the Clean Energy Development Fund that donates taxpayer money to renewable energy programs.
    – No wonder VT-DPS resorts to artificial/political CO2 calculations regarding Vermont’s electrical sector, and EV and ASHP programs.


    All three entities want to build out solar from 438.84 MW dc, to at least 1000 MW dc, by 2025 (seven years sooner than required by the CEP), even though solar:

    – Is, by far, the most expensive electricity in the portfolio of Vermont utilities. Table 3 shows some of solar costs shifted onto ratepayers, taxpayers and added to government debts. See Appendix.
    – Imposes the greatest threat to the stability of the grid, due to ever-larger DUCK-curves, as has happened in southern Germany and southern California. The more solar, the larger the DUCK-curves.
    – Would make the use of EVs and heat pumps much more costly.

    NOTE: The CEP goal is 1000 MW dc, by 2032

    1) Self-Serving, Impossible CO2 Reduction Dreams of EAN

    “Meeting Paris”: In 2019, EAN made estimates of what it would take to “meet Paris”, i.e., reduce CO2 from 9.76 million metric ton, at end 2016, to 7.46 MMt, at end 2025, or 2.281 MMt. See URL

    EAN proposed several measures to reduce CO2, including deploying, by end 2025:

    Table 1/Item Quantity/5y Quantity/y CO2 CO2
    Reduction Reduction
    MMt Mt/EV/y
    EV 90000 18000 0.405 4.500
    ASHP 90000 18000 0.370 4.111

    Increase solar from 438.84 dc, at end 2019 to at least 1000 MW dc, at end 2025
    See Note and pages 3, 4 and 5 of URL

    Vermont had deployed, at end 2019:

    3541 plug-in hybrids and pure EVs, increasing at about 750 per year
    17,717 ASHPs, increasing at about 2850 per year

    The totally unrealistic EAN goals, (increasing plug-ins from 750 to 18000 per year, increasing heat pumps from 2850 to 18000 per year) are beyond rational, even if the 50% of the cost of EVs and heat pumps were donated by ratepayers, taxpayers, and added to government debt. This means “Meeting Paris” is beyond rational.

    The above EAN CO2 reductions per EV, and per ASHP, are grossly overstated, because of flawed/deceptive analyses.
    As a result, many more EVS and ASHPs would be required to achieve the EAN CO2 reductions.
    See URL and below ASHP and EV articles

    NOTE: All of Europe (550 million people, excl. Russia) is not “meeting Paris”, and neither are China (1.4 billion people), India (1.4 billion people), etc.
    If the heavy hitters are absent, why should ultra-light-featherweight Vermont “meet Paris”?

    2) Self-Serving, Impossible CO2 Reduction Dreams of VEIC

    In 2016, VEIC published a 4-volume, Solar Pathways report, at a cost of about $740,365, paid for by the US Department of Energy

    In 2020, VEIC published an update of the Solar Pathways report, at a cost of about $50,000, courtesy of private donors.
    Currently, only Volume One is available.

    VEIC claims Vermont could reach 20% of electricity consumption from solar by 2025, if solar capacity would increase by about 19%/y, from 438.84 dc, at end 2019, to at least 1000 MW dc, at end 2025, 6 years. VEIC did not provide a capital cost of increasing solar.

    3) VELCO Claims Solar Requires Storage to Deal with DUCK-Curves

    Vermont Electric Power Company, VELCO, proposed a $1.2 billion Fortress Vermont program, to be implemented by 2025, if solar were built-out from 438.84 dc, at end 2019 to at least 1000 MW dc, at end 2025, as proposed by EAN and VEIC

    The DUCK-curves in future years would be a lot larger than in 2018.

    The $1.2 billion would be just a down-payment to end 2025, with more required in future years.

    About $900 million would be for battery and other storage systems
    About $300 million would be for curtailment payments to solar system owners for electricity they could have produced, but did not.

    Capital Cost of Storage: Current capital costs for engineered, turnkey, 4-h duration, battery storage systems in New England are at least $500/kWh, HV ac to HV ac basis. These are systems with a life of about 15 years, i.e., most of the capital cost would repeat every 15 years.

    There are hopes capital costs of engineered, turnkey systems may decrease to, say $300/kWh in New England, but those prices likely would not happen anytime soon.

    Connecting to Nearby Grids: The VELCO proposal is an “isolationist/Vermont is an island” approach, to be avoided like the plague.

    European countries deal with wind/solar variations by interconnecting their grids with HVDC and HVAC lines.
    Expensive battery storage, as proposed by VELCO, et al., is not required. See URL.


    The Vermont House passed the Global Warming “Solutions” Act bill, GWSA, and sent it to the Vermont Senate, which also passed it. The bill, if enacted, would convert the aspirational goals of the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, into mandated goals, with penalties. GWSA has been called “must pass this Session”.

    Capital Costs to Implement the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan

    In 2015, Energy Action Network, EAN, an umbrella organization for RE businesses, etc., had estimated it would take at least $1.0 BILLION per year for 35 years to implement the CEP by 2050, not counting many $billions for financing costs and replacement costs of short-live systems (wind, solar, batteries, EVs, heat pumps) during these 35 years.

    GWSA to Subsidize Job Creation in RE Sectors

    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 would create an expensively subsidized, industrial development policy that would:

    1) Require major increases in the current levels of various subsidies to all sorts of RE businesses for decades.
    2) Produce expensive, mostly variable/intermittent, unreliable, wind/solar electricity.
    3) Very expensively “create jobs” that would not exist without the subsidies.

    The GWSA “industrial development policy” would be an expensive 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/enlarge/perpetuate vote-getting pet projects, instead of creating the proper conditions for a vibrant private sector that produces hi-tech products, employs highly-skilled, tax-paying workers, in steady jobs, with good benefits.

    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 at least $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 entity, such as the Conservation Law Foundation, 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:

    1) A growing bureaucracy embroiled in one litigious brouhaha after another
    2) Vermonters becoming more and more oppressed and impoverished in the pursuit of impossible climate goals
    3) Vermont becoming less and less attractive as a place to do business, to visit, and to live.
    4) GWSA inflicting decades of torture of Vermonters to achieve nothing regarding the climate, other than “feel-good/virtue-signaling”.

  14. H.688 is the poster child for the old adage: “You can’t make this stuff up.”

    But the Vermont legislature is working overtime to prove the old adage wrong and have in fact have “Made this stuff up” and are about to deliver it to the Governor’s desk.

    John McClaughry, Rob Roper and others have repeatedly laid out strong cases against H.688. Their arguments have then been repeatedly reenforced with reams of technical and economic data from expert commenters showing the faults and futility of H.688.

    Yet the Vermont Legislature continues to motor on to prove that “You can make this stuff up” despite the overwhelming evidence that H.688, while costing Vermonters dearly, will make no measurable impact on climate change.

    Will we see history repeat itself with H.688 becoming the successor of Gov. Shumlin’s “single payer health care system” boondoggle that cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars while producing nothing for Vermont? A boondoggle that Shumlin and the legislature had repeatedly been told wouldn’t work.

    The similarities of dire warnings between H.688 and “single payer” are striking and clearly stated.

    So will the legislature hear and heed the warnings or continue on with the “You can’t make this stuff up” boondoggle known as H.688?

  15. Thanks Mr. McClaughry for this clear analysis of perhaps the worst bill I have seen in Vermont that has a chance of becoming law. It is, as you so well describe, an attempt to get around the legislative process and accountability. It is also a step up to put Phil Scott in a corner and appeal to voters who base their votes on fear and emotion rather than intellect. Hopefully those in the legislature who value principle will vote to sustain a veto on this deeply flawed legislation.

  16. The major problem with the antiglobal warnmers is they’re delusional. They’re totally detached from reality. As I’ve stated audnasium, if Vermont went 100% green tomorrow, it would do absolutely NOTHING to change anything. It’s only benefit would be to make a bunch of star gazers feel better while the folks suffer.

  17. “…none from Vermont’s nuclear plant.” – So Vermont Yankee can sell cheap power to other states – but not sell it to Vermont customers who will be compelled to rely on other more costly (less reliable – see California) mandated sources or buy power from other states? How does nuclear power NOT reduce carbon emissions? Just wondering – Will Vermont’s electric utilities be buying costly renewable source energy from other states that will be buying cheap energy from Vermont Yankee – and how can anyone tell the difference between renewable source electricity, fossil sourced electricity and nuclear sourced electricity? Can that be done?

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