RELEASE: Welch fights for extension of renewable energy tax credit
April 26, 2012
Source: Congressman Peter Welch
WASHINGTON D.C. – With an important tax credit integral to the growth of Vermont’s renewable energy industry set to expire at the end of the year, Rep. Peter Welch is fighting to extend it.
At a Ways and Means Committee hearing this morning, Welch made the case for extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) through 2016. The PTC provides tax incentives to companies that generate wind, geothermal and other types of renewable energy and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012.
“Every day that Congress allows the extension of the PTC to hang in limbo costs the U.S. investments in renewable energy, our place in the competitive global market and the creation of new green jobs,” Welch said.
Nationwide, the PTC has spurred domestic manufacturing, creating 75,000 jobs in the wind industry alone. Due in part to the PTC, Vermont was the second fastest growing state for wind installations in 2011 – growing at over 650%.
In his testimony, Welch highlighted the work of Hinesburg-based NRG Systems, which provides wind developers, utilities and turbine manufacturers with tools to measure wind. Because of the uncertainty facing the PTC, NRG has reported a 50 percent drop in U.S. orders.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Vermont is helping to lead the nation in transforming our energy system
April 18, 2012
Source: Huffington Post
We come from Vermont. We know our small state cannot reverse global warming on our own, but we can provide a model for America which helps lead our nation and the world to a more sustainable and secure energy future.
We see three major imperatives.
First, we must act to reverse global warming. The scientific consensus is clear that global warming is real, that it is caused by human activities and that it will only get worse if we do not take bold efforts now. At a time when many members of Congress do not even acknowledge that global warming is happening, in Vermont we are taking action. Vermont has more than 100 grassroots citizen-led town energy committees that are working with state agencies to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and such clean sources of sustainable energy as solar, geothermal, biomass and wind.
Second, at a time when our nation is trying to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, we must seize the opportunity of creating millions of new jobs by making our homes, buildings and appliances more energy efficient. We must also invest heavily in public transportation and rebuilding our rail system. Further, there are enormous economic opportunities not only in the installation of wind and solar projects, but in building these products here in the United States, not China.
We are proud that according to a recent U.S. Labor Department estimate, Vermont leads the nation in green jobs per capita. That’s one reason Vermont’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation. From the well drillers who now see the installation of geothermal heat pumps as a new opportunity to expand their businesses, to loggers in the woods who are helping to keep our schools and homes warm, to our innovative solar and wind companies that compete nationally and even internationally, our small state is home to a burgeoning network of new green businesses. This did not happen by accident. We have put in place policies that support clean-technology businesses in Vermont.
Finally, we must grasp opportunities to lower energy and fuel bills by moving away from foreign oil toward energy independence. We know this from first-hand experience. We live in a state where roughly half our homes are heated with oil. We live in a region of the country where electricity prices exceed the national average. Of the $1 billion spent every year to heat our homes and buildings in Vermont, 80 percent of that money goes out of state and in some cases to other nations that may not have our best interests in mind. By comparison, 80 percent of what we invest in energy efficiency stays in Vermont to purchase local goods and services and create jobs.
The challenge is to turn these principles into practice. Click to continue reading…
REV Celebrates Vermont Wind Energy Month with Wind Open House Day
March 22, 2012
Montpelier – REV’ month-long celebration of Vermont Wind Energy will be capped off this Saturday, March 24th with Vermont Wind Energy Open House Day. Vermonters are invited to learn about wind turbine installations across the state at a variety of participating wind turbine sites. To find a nearby site, go to REV’s newly launched wind energy initiative and website, Wind Works Vermont.
This March has already proven to be a busy month with informative events in Vermont highlighting the benefits of wind energy:
- First Wind’s Sheffield Snowmobile Ride-In
- VEEP’s Wind Works Education Day at Braintree Elementary School
- Congressman Peter Welch’s call for extending renewable energy tax incentives and Section 1603 grant funding programs at NRG Systems
- Vermont Energy Independence Day
To complement these exciting events, REV’s Vermont Wind Energy Open House Day will take place on Saturday, March 24th from 10am to 2pm. Local farms, businesses and colleges have graciously agreed to open their doors and showcase their wind energy installations to show what wind power is truly all about – up close and in person.
Wind Works Vermont provides factual information and first-hand experience demonstrating that wind power is a clean, local, and responsible energy choice that benefits both Vermont and Vermonters. To get the information to Vermonters, REV has placed ads on VTdigger.org and launched a new ad campaign on local stations such as WCAX, WPTZ and Fox44.
“Wind technology is being used by utility companies, farmers, business owners, and school districts all over Vermont to produce clean electric power,” said REV Board Chair Martha Staskus. “The statewide open house and Wind Works Vermont initiative are all about seeing that in action.”
Local Renewable Industry Poised to Make Vermont ‘Energy Strong’
February 9, 2012
Montpelier- Vermont’s local renewable energy industry– made up of diverse manufacturers, construction contractors, installers, developers, and suppliers– announced today the industry is equipped to help make “Vermont energy strong” in the 21st Century.
The industry, which ranges from local fabricators assembling electrical boards and contractors that specialize in hot water, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass heating installations to regional and international manufacturers of innovative renewable energy technologies, held a press conference on pending policy issues in Montpelier.
“The benefits of a strong renewable industry flow throughout the state by creating local jobs, producing energy locally, and providing energy security,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont (REV), the state trade association representing more than 300 renewables and efficiency businesses in the state. “Growing our own renewable energy in-state is in keeping with Vermonters’ desire for self-reliance, a clean energy future that leaves a better legacy for our children, and keeping our dollars local.”
“The industry is ready,willing, and able to both kick-start Vermont’s economy and make ‘Vermont energy strong’ in the 21st century,” said REV Chair, Martha Staskus. “We are extremely grateful for the Governer’s strong support for assuring Vermont doesn’t miss out on the ‘energy revolution’ and for his committment to expand Vermont’s innovative Standard Offer program in his recent State of the State address. The many diverse businesses and workers of our industry stand with him and we’re ready to get to work.” Read more here…
January 8, 2012
Burlington Free Press: Governor Peter Shumlin and the Legislature have put renewable energy very, very high on their agendas. How is Vermont doing at encouraging and implementing renewable electrical energy sources?
Gabrielle Stebbins: Vermont is one of the national leaders in transforming how we use energy. Renewable sources already supply fifty percent of our electricity, so we’re on a great path, but of course we have much more to do.
Free Press: But much of the energy we use isn’t electrical energy, it is fuel to heat our homes and power our cars…
Stebbins: Certainly that’s true. Electricity is only one-third of our energy demand. The other two-thirds are for heating our buildings and travel purposes. Both of these sectors require multiple steps to address. We need to keep up the great work that our efficiency utilities and weatherization agencies provide, which can save considerably and helps us meet the remaining heating needs with Vermont’s wood resources. We are ready to lead in this direction. One study recently estimated that if only one-fifth of Vermont buildings transferred from traditional fuel to biomass fuels used in modern, efficient boilers, it could create about 7,000 stable local energy jobs. Read More Here…
May 25, 2011 - At the commissioning of a 150kW solar array in S. Burlington today Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law a bill promoting renewable energy development and clean energy jobs in Vermont.
H.56, The Vermont Energy Act of 2011 continues Vermont’s efforts to promote a green economy and energy independence. It expands and improves Vermont’s successful net metering program which allows Vermont ratepayers to generate their own energy with renewable systems and run their meter backwards when producing excess power. Recognizing the peak power savings of net metered solar, the new bill creates a financial incentive to catalyze more net metered solar by requiring utilities to offer a 20¢ credit to solar net metering customers for the energy they produce.
Governor, Peter Shumlin signed the bill under sunny skies today at the commissioning of a 150kW solar array at the Farm at South Village in S. Burlington, a project developed by Burlington-based Encore Redevelopment and installed by Alteris Renewables. The array will provide carbon-free electricity for 100% of the Farm at South Village and South Village Community’s energy consumption needs. The array will also provide clean energy to the City of South Burlington for the City’s traffic lights. Read more…
New Tools Intended to Help Communities Plan for Powerful Clean Energy Action
Vermont’s energy reality is bleak: We Vermonters are dependent on fossil fuels to meet 99 percent of our transportation needs and well over 80 percent to meet our space heating needs, and these energy sources are becoming increasingly costly.
That means we face some very difficult energy choices. Fortunately, people have been getting active. Over 100 community energy committees, for example, are leading Vermont’s transition to a new kind of energy future. They are undertaking initiatives to reduce energy consumption, save money and develop renewables by weatherizing municipal buildings, tightening up neighbors’ homes, installing solar panels on community schools and much more.
Many communities are also beginning to take a more broad-based approach to developing energy solutions. They are harnessing the power of planning by turning to their municipal plans to lay the foundation for meeting energy needs as locally and sustainably as possible.
Communities are realizing that planning is imperative to making smart, systemic choices. The planning process outlines the energy realities we face and then begins to address those realities by putting in place a plan — which will set the framework for policies and programs — to move as swiftly and strategically as communities desire. So many Vermont communities are yearning for clean and bold energy action.
Now, those communities also have some new tools. Read more…
REV Remembers Founding Board Member Jim Grundy
May 17, 2011 – It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that our dear friend and colleague, Jim Grundy died unexpectedly yesterday. The staff and Board of Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) together express our deepest condolences to Jim’s family.
A founding Board member of REV, Jim’s passing is an enormous loss to the REV community. Together with his wife Nancy, Jim grew Elemental Energy, a solar installation business located at their home in East Montpelier. For REV, Elemental Energy represents the underpinning of what we represent as an organization; a small, smart, Vermont company that has has successfully installed hundreds of renewable energy systems throughout the state and moreover inspired all walks to invest and work toward a sustainable future.
Jim did this all without hype and publicity, a business built on quality and enormously kind heart. Jim’s dedication and his compassion have been and will continue to be an inspiration to all who had the great fortune of knowing him.
He will be missed dearly here at REV.
Vermont Wind: Harvesting Renewable Power in the Green Mountains
Wind continues as the most rapidly growing electric generation resource of our time. Many people want to learn more about wind-generated electricity. The full “Vermont Wind: Harvesting Renewable Power in the Green Mountains” video is now up on our Wind Technology page, and answers many questions like:
Why do we need wind?
Does Wind work?
Does wind affect wildlife?
Is sound and issue?
Do turbines affect human health?
Does wind affect property values?
What about lighting?
What do local people think about wind?
Watch the 18-minute video to hear from people who live near turbines, town officials in communities where turbines are located and experts both is and out of the industry. Learn about the science, data and real experiences so you can be informed about the role wind may play in your community.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund presents the Vermont Renewable Energy Atlas
Guest blogger Scott Sawyer of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund talks about the Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont.
When we flip on a light switch, turn an ignition, or eat a hamburger, we engage complex energy extraction systems that largely rely on non-renewable energy to power our lives. Energy is too often taken for granted, hidden from view, and misunderstood — despite its role as the fundamental source of life support. That’s starting to change as town energy committees in the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, policy-makers, REV businesses, and many other Vermonters plan for a post-peak oil, post-Vermont Yankee world, powered with renewable energy. But how can we assess the renewable energy and efficiency possibilities in our communities? How much local renewable energy generation is possible?
We made the Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont to show how renewable energy flows through Vermont. We think the Atlas is a cool, new way of depicting a ton of information- and we’ve received inquiries from across the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Australia from organizations that want to duplicate our effort. We worked with the Vermont Center for Geographic Information and Fountains Spatial, Inc. to make the Atlas, and drew on the expertise of several REV members during our development process.
The Atlas shows existing and potential sites for biodiesel, geothermal, hydro, landfill methane, methane digesters, perennial grasses, solar PV and thermal, wind, and woody biomass (electric and thermal applications), as well as some energy efficiency projects for every town and county in Vermont. The Atlas provides Statewide Summaries for electricity consumption and savings, as well as total PV, solar thermal, hydro, and wind sites and capacities. For example, as of February 2011, Addison County residents lead the state in electricity consumption, with an annual average of 7,883 kWh in 2008. Chittenden County leads the state in the number of installed solar (350) and wind (30) sites.
To conduct an analysis, you select an Area (e.g., town, county, find your address), select an Energy option, and then click on Map It. The map will show icons for existing sites and estimates of resource potential (e.g., acres of wind by class), as well as icons for REV members. The map and analysis results can be saved as a unique URL or exported as a pdf. Our hope is that the Atlas will assist town energy committees, educators, policy-makers, planners, and others in making informed decisions about renewable energy options in their communities. Check it out and feel free to contact me with comments, additions, or questions.
Scott Sawyer is the Research, Evaluation & Communications Coordinator for Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF). VSJF was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1995 to accelerate the development of Vermont’s green economy. VSJF provides early stage grant funding and technical assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses, farmers, networks and others interested in developing jobs and markets in the green economy.Tweet