Vermont faces massive increase in renewable investments to meet climate goals

Last week, Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore met with the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee to discuss the investments needed in heating and transportation technologies to meet Vermont’s ambitious emissions reduction goals.

Transportation

The reduction requirements are spelled out in the Global Warming Solutions Act, which mandates a reduction in transportation-related carbon emissions of 11% by 2025, 30% by 2031, and 88% by 2050.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

ENERGY OVERHAUL: The state of Vermont is now required to reduce its carbon emissions in heating, transportation, and electricity production — but the cost could be enormous.

“The way we are going to achieve those reductions is primarily by expanding the number of electric vehicles,” Moore said.

To put those targets in perspective, there are currently about 7,500 electric vehicles (EVs) registered in Vermont, or only about 1.7% of the total market.

Moore says that number will have to change in a big way — officials want to have 126,000 EVs registered in Vermont to meet a 2030 target date, and the state will focus on fuel dealers to apply the new costs.

“We’re going to take a different type of approach and limit the types of vehicles that are available to Vermonters — that would be, I think, the direction that we need,” she said. “… The manufacturers are the ones that are required to comply, not Vermonters.”

Other methods to reduce emissions in transportation include increasing the fuel economy of vehicles, the use of biofuels, and simply encouraging Vermonters to drive fewer miles.

Heating

There also are calls for dramatic investments in building and thermal spaces, including increases in the weatherization of homes, the use of electric heat pumps, the use of advanced wood heat, and the use of biofuels. Moore shared some of the ambitious targets.

“So giving a sense of the magnitude of the work that needs to occur and a little bit of perspective, by 2025 we need to weatherize about 69,000 homes to achieve these reductions, and 120,000 homes by 2030,” she said. “We also need to dramatically increase the number of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters that have been installed throughout the state.”

Other key targets include, by 2030, 177,107 heat pumps, 136,558 heat pump water heaters, 14,992 units of advanced wood heat, and 21,806 homes heated with biofuels.

Julie Moore, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Moore explained that Vermont has achieved little momentum toward meeting these targets, and said green efforts must accelerate greatly.

“For perspective, for the last five years for which data is available, which is a period from 2015 to 2020, Vermonters installed about 30,000 heat pumps and 13,000 heat pump water heaters. So getting to 96,000 and 63,000, respectively, over the next five years is a significant increase in the magnitude of what needs to be accomplished,” she said.

Agriculture

Vermont farmers are mandated to reduce emissions as well — 8% by 2025, 16% by 2030 and 32% by 2050. Lawmakers want the goals achieved through alternative feed practices, manure management and soil sequestration.

Agriculture is estimated to be comprise 15% of the state’s carbon emissions, compared to about 40% for transportation and around 30% for heating.

A quarter billion already committed, long-term costs uncertain

Vermont has has already committed about $250 million in one-time money for climate initiatives including, among other things, more EVs and charging stations.

While Moore explained that the state can anticipate long-term savings from new green technologies, little hard data was provided.

Looking to use lots of federal money

In addition to state funds, federal funds from the Inflation Reduction Act — which invests $370 billion in federal carbon-reducing goals — will play a role in helping Vermont cut emissions.

“It is an enormous package of programs; it includes tax incentives, direct appropriation of states, as well as competitive grant opportunities,” Moore said.

Critics say it’s still a carbon tax

As some critics of these initiatives have pointed out, funds for climate initiatives will be raised in part by charging fossil fuel dealers for the continued sale of their products. For example, such businesses may need to purchase clean heat credits, and that cost will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Moore’s presentation to the committee can be viewed online here.

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 Michael Bielawski/TNR
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19 thoughts on “Vermont faces massive increase in renewable investments to meet climate goals

  1. HEAT PUMPS ARE MONEY LOSERS IN MY VERMONT HOUSE, AS THEY ARE IN ALMOST ALL NEW ENGLAND HOUSES
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-are-money-losers-in-my-vermont-house-as-they-are-in

    Cost Reduction Due to HPs is Minimal

    – HP electricity consumption was from my electric bills
    – Vermont electricity prices, including taxes, fees and surcharges, are about 20 c/kWh.
    – My HPs provide space heat to 2,300 sq ft, about the same area as an average Vermont house
    – Two small propane heaters provide space heat to my 1,300 sq ft basement
    – I operate my HPs at temperatures of 15F to 20F, or greater; less $/h than propane
    – I operate my wall-hung propane heater at temperatures of 15F to 20F, or less; less $/h than HP

    – My average HP coefficient of performance, COP, was 2.64
    – My HPs required 2,489 kWh to displace 35% of my fuel.
    – My HPs would require 8,997 kWh, to replace 100% of my fuel.

    – The average Vermont house COP is about 3.34, because the HPs typically operate at about 28F to 35F and above
    – The average Vermont house requires 2,085 kWh to displace 27.6% of its fuel, per VT-DPS/CADMUS survey. See URL

    https://afdc.energy.gov/files/u/publication/fuel_comparison_chart.pdf
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41597-019-0199-y
    https://acrpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/HeatPumps-ACRPC-5_20.pdf

    Before HPs: I used 100 gal for domestic hot water + 250 gal for 2 stoves in basement + 850 gal for Viessmann furnace, for a total propane of 1,200 gal/y

    After HPs: I used 100 gal for DHW + 250 gal for 2 stoves in basement + 550 gal for Viessmann furnace + 2,489 kWh of electricity.

    My propane cost reduction for space heating was 850 – 550 = 300 gallon/y, at a cost of 2.339/gal = $702/y
    My displaced fuel was 100 x (1 – 550/850) = 35%, which is better than the Vermont average of 27.6%
    My purchased electricity cost increase was 2,489 kWh x 20 c/kWh = $498/y
    If I were to use my HPs to replace all propane, my savings are about $189/y. See table 1

    My energy cost savings due to the HPs were 702 – 498 = $204/y, on an investment of $24,000!!

    Amortizing Heat Pumps

    Amortizing the $24,000 turnkey capital cost at 3.5%/y for 15 years costs about $2,059/y.
    This is in addition to the amortizing of my existing propane system. I am losing money.
    https://www.myamortizationchart.com

    Other Annual Costs

    There likely would be service calls and parts for the HP system, as the years go by.
    This is in addition to the annual service calls and parts for my existing propane system. I am losing more money.

  2. These people have no clue what they are attempting to achieve! Weatherizing 69,000 homes in the next two years is not possible. There are not enough contractors to execute such a feat!
    There is not sufficient fuel now to support growing demand in New England. Where do these people think the energy will come from?
    Julie Moore states “We’re going to take a different type of approach and limit the types of vehicles that are available to Vermonters….”. So now the nanny State will determine what “types” of trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles Vermonters can purchase??
    All of this for nothing….
    “What historians will definitely wonder about in future centuries is how deeply flawed logic, obscured by shrewd and unrelenting propaganda, actually enabled a coalition of powerful special interests to convince nearly everyone in the world that CO2 from human industry was a dangerous, planet- destroying toxin. It will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world- that CO2, the life of plants, was considered for a time to be a deadly poison.” (Richard Lindzen)

    The idiots are running the asylum as the saying goes!

  3. I’m so happy that Vermont will stop global warming.
    Gotta hand it to ’em: those folks have some awful power, to be able to stop [non-existent] CO2 catastrophe dead. I’m told that China and India are abandoning all climate initiatives because Vermont will solve the whole problem.

    Genius is as genius does. Vermont is chock-full of geniuses.

    Jim1

  4. To meet climate goals you assume that global warming equals drought. Mother Nature has long cycles….but Libs ignore. So if Global Warming caused the Calif drought….how do they explain this headline today:

    “Los Angeles County collects 33 billion
    gallons of rainwater in recent storms.”

    Reservoirs in Calif are filling fast and tons water more will come & fill them when the huge amount of SNOW melts off the Sierra’s (snowpack is at 250% of normal, and that is only by the first week in JAN!)…… but how can there be SNOW – if there is global warming ? The Pacific ocean did it. Mother Nature. Exxon or fossil fuels are meaningless – to what the Pacific ocean conjurs up.

  5. The face plant coming upon them will be epic. Doubling down on the lies and deception, pretending the economic implosion is not happening, believing they can herd, through fear and threats, the entire populace into total compliance – who are the stupid ones? Boomerang incoming.

    • They have one last (at least) neat trick up their sleeves: collapse the economy and then issue central bank digital currency (CBDC) which will allow them to monitor our spending. Then yes, they will be able to herd us into compliance. Did you use the wrong gender pronoun? That’s an automatic fine deducted from your account. Are you spreading “misinformation”? How about a frozen account? That’ll teach ya.

      We won’t be able to do a darn thing about it unless we get in front of it first.

  6. Great news for NH car dealers, follow the other Red states that are only going to sell internal combustion cars and you will have a gold mine thanks to the stupid that was elected by leftist lemming sheep. Like little children who’s eyes are bigger than their stomach the loonie legislature set goal that unattainable in a war that accomplishes nothing.. Climate hoax is for stupid folks…

  7. Fools & money shall always part. You saw the massive rains in Calif? In one week San Francisco got 19 inches rain (from global WARMING???)? The Sierra mountains by early January had 250% of a normal snowpack. So what is it? Man Made Climate Change or Global warming? Climate Change causes drought? So what about 19 inches or rain? Massive SNOW – is global WARM??? Snow=Warm? if not Climate Change, blame rains on Global warming? But warming = DROUGHT? IT’s MOTHER NATURE, idiots. Look at the PACIFIC OCEAN from USA to China, down to Australia and over to So. America…in that Pacific Ocean part you can put in 8-10 times the TOTAL land mass of the whole USA….8-10 USA’s fit in that ocean. And if you looked on the RADAR these Calif rains that came FROM the Pacific, covered on radar MUCH of the pacific ocean. They call it an “ATMOSPHERIC RIVER” of water! For all enviro-morons to believe that an ocean area the size of EIGHT UNITED STATES…is covered in rain..and is CAUSED by CO2 or EXXXON or Fossil Fuels???? IT’s MOTHER NATURE….ocean, wind, solar, sun, tides, moon, sub sea volcanic activity.. etc…. You could spend 50 trillion dollars on so called “remediation”, all feel good (worthless) stuff and never, ever change what goes on in the OCEANS and oceans cover 72% of the earth’s surface…and just ONE OCEAN DRENCHED Calif! Wake up dopey VT legislators…You’ve been scammed….you are pissing in the wind to spend massive $$$… to change Mother Nature’s weather by an infintessimal amount…. but you feel better and get votes?

  8. The legislators have no idea why they want this, as they never justified the GWSA and the Climate Council is an unelected body. We have officially entered the age of Ecofascism where legislators are the puppets of an industry. Last winter my husband and I attended a zoom meeting with our reps Diane Lanpher and Matt Birong (Addison 3). We asked how they could justify the Clean Heat Standard. Lanpher answered, “Well, first we had the Global Warming Solutions act, and that was that, and then we had the Climate Council and that was that, and its all for the greater good!” Then when we asked Matt Birong about a future where wind turbines line Vermont’s ridges, he said well, “wind power has been with us for thousand of years”. That is the level of energy comprehension expressed by my representatives.

    • These bird/bat killers on ridge lines are 500 ft tall
      They have been with us for thousands of years?
      What has that guy been smoking?
      A totally deranged answer
      How does he get elected, fake out-of-state, dead people ballot insertion and counting, counting?

      It is time to run the registered voter list against some USPS, SSSystem, IRS data bases, to identify the many thousands of BS names, that are used to tip elections

    • I do not, for the life of me, understand how the state supreme court has not ruled against these legislators giving away their obligation to make laws. I do not believe that our constitution allows this to happen. If the court ruled in favor of that then they were bought lock stock and barrel.

  9. To be sure, many if not most climate evangelists see nothing but promise in these word spoken by Moore…
    “We’re going to take a different type of approach and limit the types of vehicles that are available to Vermonters — that would be, I think, the direction that we need,” she said. “… The manufacturers are the ones that are required to comply, not Vermonters.”
    To the rest of us, this is a direct threat of totalitarian intent by the nomenklatura.
    As the bureaucracy sees their vaunted goals as unobtainable, further restrictions become inevitable-
    a state run lottery system to allocate whom may even own a car, EV or not? Sounds far fetched, but as government crackdowns continue to assail Vermont, it’s not beyond reality.
    A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not be trusted by anybody.- Thos. Paine

    • Rest assured that no one in the Mount Stupid legislature cares about what a few dissidents on these boards say. They are above us and think we can’t do anything about their ability to rule not represent. The time is past for we the people to tell them to stop telling us what we must do! They are totally out of control and the Supreme court could care less. Where is the ACLU to represent violations of our constitution? Are we Americans or are we sheep, this is a free country and we are adults. We don’t need nannies telling us what we can drive, heat our homes with, eat or where we go or how we can defend ourselves and our loved ones. They are after your children to turn on their parents and they are creating chaos not solving anything. Where do we turn when there’s no one to represent us, the people?

  10. These committees meet with each other TO DISCUSS VERMONTERS HEATING NEEDS.

    However, these Vermonters and the dealers that deliver fuels are not invited

    All they do is talk about goals and money, by such and such date

    In the meantime, China and India, etc., are building hundreds of new coal power plants during the next 5 years

    The only thing that makes any sense in Vermont is the have tens of thousands of highly sealed/insulated houses, that are arranged for passive solar gain, that use a minimum of energy for heating, cooling, and electricity to begin with.

    With a big hot water storage tank, generator, solar panels, such houses can be off the grid.

    Any heat pumps should be ground source type.

    That means there will be less load on the electric grids, and less electricity will need to be generated

    Just put the horse BEFORE the wagon, instead of behind.

    It is not rocket science

    • Willem,

      While I believe you are correct in advocating for increased efficiency, I really doubt the State of Vermont could even begin to afford the required home energy efficiency upgrades.

      Why do the Greens place the burden of energy use on the backs of the poor?
      Why not just stick with the known in place energy we are all using now when there is absolutely no evidence of human caused catastrophic human climate change?

      As always, the real question is WHY?

      • In northern European countries you are not allowed to build a free-standing house, without is being highly sealed and insulated
        All heat pumps have to be ground source
        All appliances, lighting, etc., have to be high efficiency

        Your design is reviewed by building inspectors, before you get a constructive permit
        It you cut corners, the inspectors make you tear it down and make you do it right.
        I used to live in Norway, so I know how the process works

  11. Some people seem to think that electricity comes from the outlet on the wall ?!?!
    You can just plug everything you want, and “electricity” will take care of it.

    Unlike gasoline,or fuel heating oil or coal, or wood, Electricty just ‘happens’
    It is always there, everybody can take any amount They want any time, as long as they want.

  12. Well, there go a number of farms out of business and the every day Vermonter will get taxed to the hilt, creating more dependency on government to get through the year. Thank a Democrat. They voted for this absolute devastation of your personal economy. Thank Leahy, ( and Sanders and Welch , too.) The old, fat Communist …. oh yeah, the beloved native son….has let Vermont down. On purpose. On the Democrat’s way to the destruction of America.

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