Vermont Senate committees to meet this week by remote access

By Guy Page

As the old saying goes, the church isn’t the building, it’s the people. Despite this week’s closure of the Vermont State House, most Vermont Senate committees are scheduled to meet this week via remote access. The public is welcome to attend remotely as well.

Last week, Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe said Senate committees would likely meet to take testimony and discuss issues, but would not be taking votes on legislation.

According to the weekly committee agenda page published on the Vermont Legislature website, Issues the Senate will discuss include:

  • S.267, the “Fortress Vermont” 100% instate renewable power bill (Natural Resources)
  • H.580, classification of criminal offenses (Judiciary)
  • S.290 Health Care Reform implementation (Health & Welfare)
  • S.331, reducing student loan debt for rural workers (Economic Development)
  • Appropriations bill, Appropriations Committee
  • COVID-19 response (Senate Finance)
  • Composting regulations (Natural Resources)

None of the Vermont House committees are scheduled to meet remotely.

Here are the Senate committees, meeting times, agenda items, and (where available) call-in information, as published on the Vermont Legislature’s website. For the committees lacking call-in information, check the website for updates or contact the legislative assistant for each committee by email.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports.

Image courtesy of TNR

3 thoughts on “Vermont Senate committees to meet this week by remote access

  1. Regarding the fantasy of the $1.2 billion DOWN PAYMENT for FORTRESS VERMONT

    1) Energy storage systems:
    About $900 million would be required during 2020 – 2025 to:

    – Store solar electricity during midday hours with low demand and lower wholesale prices and discharge electricity during late-afternoon/early-evening hours
    with high demand and higher wholesale prices. The image shows solar output during variable, cloudy weather, typical in NE.

    Gas turbine-generators are commonly used to counteract the disturbing ups and downs of solar, but they have a slower response than li-ion battery systems. This service should be charged to owners of solar systems (the disturbers), but it is not, because that would make solar electricity more costly/kWh. Subsidies and cost shifting are the name of the game. See URL.

    ISO-NE states VT had 382.5 MW dc, or 382.5 x 0.8 = 306.3 MW ac installed at end 2018.
    Solar generation during midday hours, on a very sunny day, would be 306.3 MW x 5 hours = 1531.5 MWh ac, fed to grid.

    If 50% were consumed, net fed to grid would be about 750 MWh
    If all of that were stored, instead of fed to grid, the turnkey capital cost would be about 750,000 kWh x $500/kWh = $375 million. See URLs.

    NOTE: Solar electricity would be minimal during snowy winter days and overcast days.

    – Store electricity (from all sources (except solar, because it is asleep) during night-time hours with low demand and low wholesale prices and discharge electricity during late-afternoon/early-evening hours with high demand and high wholesale prices.

    If a larger quantity, say 1000 MWh, of night-time electricity were drawn from the NE grid and stored, the turnkey capital cost would be about 1,000,000 x 500 = $500 million, for a total of $875 million.

    Vermont daily “fed to grid” is about 6 million MWh/y / 365 = 16,438 MWh, i.e., storage is only 1750/16438 = 10.6% of fed to grid.

    NOTE: There would be a loss of about 20% (output would be 80% of input), on a high-voltage-to-high-voltage basis.

    Future Grid-Scale Storage

    After nuclear and gas plants are closed, and most of NE electricity would be from wind and solar, per wishes of RE proponents:

    About 10 TWh of storage would be required to cover seasonal generation of wind and solar, at a turnkey cost of $1.5 trillion, at a future price of $150/kWh. See Hornsdale URLs.

    By proportion, Vermont’s share of NE storage would be 6 TWh/122 TWh x $1.5 trillion = $74 billion

    Storage for a 7-day VT wind/solar lull would require about $21 billion.
    Wind/solar lulls occur at random throughout the year.

    2) Curtailment Payments:
    About $300 million paid to multi-millionaire owners of larger wind and solar systems for the electricity they could have produced, but did not, due to ISO-NE demanded curtailments.

    Much more money per year would be required after 2025.

  2. Vermont has a Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP. The capital cost for implementing the CEP would be in excess of $1.0 billion/y for at least 33 years, according to the Energy Action Network annual report. See URLs.

    Spending on government energy programs, including Efficiency Vermont, has averaged about $210 million/y from 2000 to 2015, but Vermont CO2 emissions increased 18% from 1990 to 2015.


    Energy Action Network, an umbrella organization supported by RE entities, claims there will be $800 million in savings/y, if its recommendations were implemented by 2025. It appears, the EAN report is a sugar-coated wish list of the RE entities that support EAN.

    Required CO2 Reduction by 2025 for Paris Agreement: A CO2 reduction of 2.281 million metric ton of CO2eq is required by 2025 to meet the Paris Agreement

    It took about 20 years to achieve the existing conditions by spending about $210 million/y, including Efficiency Vermont. The level of annual spending to achieve Paris would be at least 4 times greater.

    EAN members want all these additional, heavily subsidized measures, because it is good for their RE businesses.

    But these measures major burdens on the Vermont people, ratepayers, taxpayers, etc.
    Playing expensive energy games would divert major investments required for rebuilding/upgrading crumbling infrastructures


    Moving from fossil heating to electrical heating would increase the load on the VT grid.
    Moving from fossil driving to electrical driving would increase the load on the VT grid.

    The report does not mention any costs for expanding/augmenting the grid
    The EAN report does not mention the cost for 90,000 EVs; about 90000 x 40000 = $3.6 billion
    The report does not mention any costs for at least 90,000 private and public chargers required for EVs; about 90000 x 1500 = $135 million

    The report does not mention the increased wind (250,000 MWh) and increased solar (700,000 MWh) would require:

    – Additional wind turbines costing about 250000/(8766 x 0.30) x $2.5 million/MW = $95 million
    – Additional solar systems costing about 700000/(8766 x 0.14) x $3.5 million/MW = $570 million
    – Additional expanding/augmenting of the grid costing about $100 million
    – Storage to mitigate 1) daily disturbances of duck curves on distribution grids, 2) mitigate disturbances of larger solar systems directly connected to high voltage grids monitored by ISO-NE, i.e., store unused solar during low-demand, mid-day hours, and discharge that solar during high-demand, late-afternoon/early-evening hours, costing about $600 million, per VERMONT FORTRESS fantasy.

    NOTE: Any electricity in-and-out of storage would have loss of about 20%, on a high-voltage-to-high-voltage basis. That loss was not considered by the EAN report.

    Based on the above, I do not see even a glimmer of lower overall costs for ratepayers and taxpayers.
    The implementation of this wish list would be another major headwind for the near-zero, real-growth, Vermont economy, and would have ZERO impact on the climate.

    • Addition to comment

      The EAN report does not mention about 88% of Vermont’s houses are completely unsuitable to economically heat with ASHPS.

      The EAN report does not mention, about 88,000 of Vermont’s 100,000 free-standing houses would need major energy retrofits, at a cost of about $30,000 per house ($2.64 billion), to reduce their space heat to less than 30,000 Btu/h, at 65F indoor and -10F outdoor, to make them economically suitable for 100% space heat from ASHPs.

      After major retrofit, each house would need ASHP capacity of at least 30,000 Btu/h, at -10F, or about 65,000 Btu/h at 47F, at a cost of about $20,000 ($1.8 billion), for 100% space heat from ASHPs.

      About 59,000 of Vermont’s 66,950 housing units (apartments, condos, etc.) with ASHPs would need the same upgrades; about 59000/88000 x (2.64 + 1.8) = $2.98 billion. See table 1B

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