Roper: $200 million worth of climate ‘spaghetti’

By Rob Roper

In a recent interview with VPR, Rep. Tim Briglin, D-Norwich, who chairs the House Energy and Technology Committee, admitted that the state has no strategy for reducing carbon emissions. “Right now, we are kind of throwing spaghetti against the wall: A little energy efficiency measure here, some electric vehicle incentives here.” But, those “little” bits of non-strategic pasta add up to as much as $200 million in taxpayer spending. Every year.

For a little state with about 320,000 taxpayers, that is a ton of money.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

This is twice as much as we spend annually repairing our roads (about $100 million). It’s four times as much we spend protecting and cleaning our waterways (about $50 million). It’s eight times as much as we spend to support our state colleges (about $25 million). It’s roughly equal to our annual public pension liability, which is considered to be in crisis.

It’s more money than we generate through the entire rooms & meals tax ($175 million), and about half of all we generate through the sales & use tax (around $400 million).

In an update to his constituents, Sen. Corey Parent, R-Franklin, broke down the numbers follows: “We spend about $79 million in efficiency investments, most of which are directed to electrical efficiency from Efficiency Vermont and other Efficiency Utilities. We spend about $74 million in what I would categories as energy transformation and $4 million on electric vehicle and electric vehicle infrastructure incentives.”

Parent cites another $80 million for “public transit and commuter-friendly infrastructure in the Agency of Transportation.”

And for this $200 million spent annually on trying to prevent climate change, we haven’t achieved much in terms of results. Our statewide CO2 output is about the same as it was in 2007, and our impact on global climate trends is and always will be nil.

So here is a question for Vermonters: do we want to continue throwing this vast amount of public resources (and potentially a lot more if things like the Transportation Climate Initiative, the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Green New Deal for Vermont, and Act 250 reforms currently under discussion become law) on an entirely symbolic gesture of virtue signaling that achieves zero measurable results? Or would those dollars better be used somewhere where they could actually make a difference in improving our citizens’ lives?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

3 thoughts on “Roper: $200 million worth of climate ‘spaghetti’

  1. Rob,
    All legislators and career bureaucrats know the CEP, with its picked-out-of-hat goals, would require at least one BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR 33 YEARS to implement, and that does not count any financing costs, according to the Energy Action Network, 2015 annual report.

    The overhyped, subsidized EV program is a total flop.

    Go to any Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, etc., parking lot and you see at least 60% four-wheel-drive, and all-wheel-drive SUVs/crossovers/pick-up trucks, large, medium and small.

    People own these vehicles for many reasons, especially to drive on snowy, icy, hilly, pothole, muddy, rutted roads during cold winters.
    Pure EVs would lose up to 40% of their already-limited range.
    A full-battery, 200-mile range, would become a laughable 120 miles.

    A hybrid would be much better, provided it has all-wheel-drive.

    At current rates, it would take at least 5 more years before a variety of EV SUVs, small, medium and large, would be marketed to suit the requirements of NE drivers.

    Tesla will start delivery of its all-wheel-drive Model Y, a small SUV, with the same chassis as the all-wheel-drive Model 3.
    The long-range version, 322 miles, required in Vermont, etc., would cost $48,990, plus destination & docs $1200, sales tax $3000, wall mounted charger $2,500, a total of about $56,000. If you order right now, you will get your Tesla Model Y in about 1 to 1.5 years.

    The cost is totally out of reach for about 90% of households in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, etc.

    Why do career-legislators/career-bureaucrats not understand this?
    Why do they keep pestering us with their fantasy goals?

    The people who voted them into office do not have the money to meet those fantasy goals, grabbed out of a hat by cabals of self-seeking career-legislators/career-bureaucrats, who:

    – Usually have near-zero technical education and experience in energy systems design and analysis.
    – Hype EVs to the voters, despite their known performance shortcomings and high costs.
    – Advocate giving more state subsidies to mostly higher-income households to get them to buy EVs.
    – Continuously harangue/fear-monger voters to buy EVs, to “save the world/fight climate change”.

    NOTE: Here is an example of a “save the world program” to subsidize and hype air source heat pumps, ASHPs, in energy-hog houses being a total flop that causes owners to have a net annual loss, on an overall cost basis. According to the CADMUS SURVEY of 77 ASHPs, at 65 sites, only 28% of existing fuel energy was displaced by electricity, but the CEP goal is to have 100% of fuel energy displaced. The CEP goal is a fantasy, unless about 125,000 free-standing houses have major retrofits, at about $30,000 each, plus $20,000 for 100% space heating with ASHPS. An up-scale household, in a 2000 sq ft house, would have to make periodic investments to be “somewhat green”, on a long-term basis. See table 1.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-source-heat-pumps-are-negative-in-vermont

    Table 1/ “Save the World” investments; Cost, $ Life, y
    EV, Tesla Model 3, 4-wd; range 322 miles; 56,000 10
    Energy upgrade, insulation, sealing, windows, doors, etc.; 30,000 100
    ASHP capacity for 100% space heat at -10F; 20,000 10 to 15
    Solar panels, 6 kW, production 7500 kWh/y; 20,000 25
    Batteries for outages; 8,000 10
    Total per household; 134,000
    Total all households, excludes financing costs and subsidies; 16.75 billion

  2. Hey, Tim, I’ve got a suggestion for you, it’s cheap and will save the tax payers a ton of spaghetti. GET OFF THIS CLIMATE CHANGE KICK AND GET DOWN TO DOING WHAT YOU WERE ELECTED TO DO. Are there any of your fellow Dem/Lib/Progs interested in tackeling the real solvable problems??? For the umpteenth time, how about the pension problem, the anti business climate, the aging population with no younger folks moving in, the rising cost of education with a dwindling population causing rising real estate taxes????? When you’re done with that, I’ve got several isues more on my “to do” list.

  3. Rob,
    All legislators and career bureaucrats know the CEP, with its picked-out-of-hat goals, would require at least one BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR 33 YEARS to implement, and that does not count any financing costs, according to the Energy Action Network, 2015 annual report.

    The air source heat pump program is a total flop.

    According to the CADMUS SURVEY of 77 ASHPs at 65 sites, only 28% of existing fuel was displaced by electricity, but the CEP goal is to have 100% to be displaced.

    Well, it turns out, that is not possible, unless about 125,000 free-standing houses have major retrofits, at about $30,000 each, excluding $20,000 for ASHPS.

    Who in hades could afford that, plus a $40,000 for an EV, plus about $20,000 for solar panels, plus about $8000 for batteries?

    It this nutsville, or not?

    And now those Montpelier incompetent folks, who got us into this mess, want more money to get us out of the mess they created?

    These are the same incompetent folks asking for more money, so they can have a second go at it?

    This is off the wall pathetic.
    Vote them out.
    Term limits.
    No career bureaucrats.

    If this was a private company they would all be fired, and the company would be out of business.

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