Daily Chronicle: Governor says time to wean Vermont solar power industry off of price supports

By Guy Page

Gov. Phil Scott supports cutting price supports for solar power, he said at a press conference today.

Vermont has the fifth-highest residential electricity rates in the U.S., due in part to an increasing market-share of solar power, which by state law utilities must buy at a fixed price, usually between 14-18 cents per kilowatt-hour. The “market rate” for electricity in New England is about 3-5 cents/kilowatt-hour.

Guy Page

“There comes a time you have to wean yourself off. When you’re paying out more than you are receiving. It’s not a good market approach,” Gov. Scott said. “It was a great incentive to jumpstart the renewable sector.”

Emphasis on was. A Nov. 1 proposal by his administration’s Department of Public Service would in effect reduce consumer cost of net-metered price-supported solar power, which the report says now:

Benefits the wealthy: “A household in a high earning town is more likely to have a solar system than a household in a low earning town.”  Price supports “shift” about 9.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of solar power production to non-solar power producers. The Nov. 1 plan would return that money to non-producers through credits to monthly power bills over the next 10 years.

Hurts the economy: Net-metering provides jobs [est. 6,000] “but does so in a way that results in economic distortion … there is less disposable income and therefore less economic activity across Vermont.”

Offers less value to consumers than cheaper (3-6 cent) unsubsidized power (hydro, nuclear, gas) because consumer demand for solar is low when its output is high: “Over the last five years, the energy value of the solar output was worth approximately 8% less than the average wholesale energy price.”

It remains to be seen if the Legislature, which gave birth to net-metering in 2011, believes the industry is ready to be weaned.

In other energy news:

  • VT Digger reported yesterday that “the Climate Solutions Caucus [of the Vermont Legislature] will introduce a bill next session to require utilities to procure 100% of their electricity from renewable sources, with a greater share coming from in-state generation.” The caucus wants to boost in-state renewable electricity generation (wind, solar) over purchases of out-of-state renewable energy credits, Quebec hydro-power, and New England off-shore wind, nuclear, and fossil-fuel power.
  • Burlington residents will pay six percent less for energy efficiency in 2020, as a result of a Nov. 11 Vermont Public Utilities Commission ruling. Like other utilities, Burlington Electric Department pays for its energy efficiency program through a charge in its monthly power bills. The charge for non-residential customers (including businesses) will increase slightly.
  • The Vermont Public Interest Group wants Vermont snowmobilers to ‘go electric.’ In a Nov. 12 tweet, VPIRG said “Gas-powered snowmobiles are a blast, but they’re up to 50x more polluting than an average car. Taiga Motors’ flagship electric model reaches speeds of 60mph in under 3 seconds while significantly reducing the noise associated with conventional snowmobiles.” The cheapest Taiga snow machines cost $15,000 (presumably in Canadian dollars), the website for the Montreal-based company says. By comparison, Minnesota-built Polaris gas-powered sleds start at $5400, with the top-of-line at about $15,000.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain
Spread the love

7 thoughts on “Daily Chronicle: Governor says time to wean Vermont solar power industry off of price supports

  1. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/19/radiative-heat-transfer-by-co2-or-whats-the-quality-of-your-radiation/

    Radiative Heat Transfer by CO2 or “what’s the quality of your radiation?”
    Anthony Watts / November 19, 2017
    Note: This is a contentious subject, and I have often shied away from it because it often erupts in food fights. However, Mr. Gill is making a good-faith effort here, and asks some relevant questions that I consider worth discussing. His original essay was sans graphics, and I’ve added two relevant graphics to aid in the discussion. – Anthony

    Probably you get the incorrect impression that CO2 is rising when it is produced by combustion of any hydrocarbon fuel (of bio or fossil origin). It is the principal component of the flue gases (apart from water) produced in such combustion. The whole flue gases are hot and therefore have much lower density than air. We always see smoke from anything burning going straight up. The hot air balloons go up due to the same reason. Thanks to buoyancy of hot gases for these phenomena. But as these heavy gases cool, they do come down due to the higher force of gravity acting on these. However, thermal inter-diffusion of gases results in quick dispersion of all constituents of air to form a homogenous mixture, showing very little stratification with altitude.

    The Molecular weight and therefore the density (at the same temperature and pressure) of CO2 is only marginally higher than the average density of air. The CO2 concentration at msl in atmosphere is now double (near 400 ppm) as compared to the pre-industrial era (<200 ppm). The percentage of heavy components of air does reduce as we go up.

  2. The hoax of CO2 impact on the weather should be understood before any sub-sequence discussions of renewable energy necessity or lack thereof. It is the root cause for the climate hoax since 1988…

    Ashok Gupta, works at Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
    Answered Aug 17, 2018 · Author has 112 answers and 257.1k answer views
    The short answer is that CO2 DOES NOT RISE IN AIR, if it is at the same temperature and pressure.

    Probably you get the incorrect impression that CO2 is rising when it is produced by combustion of any hydrocarbon fuel (of bio or fossil origin). It is the principal component of the flue gases (apart from water) produced in such combustion. The whole flue gases are hot and therefore have much lower density than air. We always see smoke from anything burning going straight up. The hot air balloons go up due to the same reason. Thanks to buoyancy of hot gases for these phenomena. But as these heavy gases cool, they do come down due to the higher force of gravity acting on these. However, thermal inter-diffusion of gases results in quick dispersion of all constituents of air to form a homogenous mixture, showing very little stratification with altitude.

    The Molecular weight and therefore the density (at the same temperature and pressure) of CO2 is only marginally higher than the average density of air. The CO2 concentration at msl in atmosphere is now double (near 400 ppm) as compared to the pre-industrial era (<200 ppm). The percentage of heavy components of air does reduce as we go up.

  3. ISO-NE states VT had 382.5 MW dc, or 306 MW ac installed at end 2018, before and after the meter.
    Non-net metered (large systems) installed was 170 MW dc, or 136 ac
    Net metered installed (smaller systems) was 212.5 MW DC, or 170 MW ac

    “GMP estimated the 263,515 MWh of net metering generation installed in its customer territory will lead to $33 million in cost shifting, from solar system owner rate payers to non-owner ratepayers, in 2020 — equivalent to 5% of its total annual cost of serving customers.”
    The non-net metered MWh shifts about $30 million to millionaire owners of large systems from Vermont tax payers and rate payers.

    NOTE: The ANNUAL AVERAGE capacity factor of Vermont solar is about 0.15
    Net metered generation = 212.5 MW dc x 8766 h/y x 0.15 = 279,416 MWh ac, at end 2018.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

  4. “There comes a time you have to wean yourself off. When you’re paying out more than you are receiving. It’s not a good market approach,” Gov. Scott said. “It was a great incentive to jumpstart the renewable sector.”
    So it was a good market approach to begin with? What are you trying to say governor?

  5. I’ve always believed in the market. If there is a genuine need or desire for a product, it will move off the shelf with no phony dollar incentive. It’s about time the well meaning folks wake up to the fundamental economic principle. No more subsidies!!!!

  6. Looks like Scott hears Klar’s footsteps. If Scott were to win again, he’d jump right back in bed with the evil ones. Milquetoast is Milquetoast.

Comments are closed.