2023 Policy Priorities
Our current law, the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) says that just 75% of our electricity needs to come from renewables like wind, solar and hydro power by 2032. And just 10% of that power needs to come from in-state sources meaning the vast majority of the impacts of generating the electricity we rely on are inflicted on communities outside Vermont.
When the RES was passed in 2015, these goals seemed like the limits of what might be both economically achievable and sustainable for Vermont’s power grid. However, three factors have made increasing these requirements both necessary and practical:
- A better understanding of the impacts of the accelerating climate crisis on Vermont
- Increased savings to consumers going solar from the passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act
- Advances in renewable energy technology leading to a drop in the cost of deploying and integrating wind and solar power
REV’s priority for 2023 is to have the Vermont Legislature pass an updated version of the RES so that 100% of Vermont’s electricity truly comes from renewable resources by no later than 2030. Importantly, we need to also at least double the amount of renewable energy we generate in state by 2030.
But I Keep Hearing Vermont Has Really “Green” Electricity?
We do not. Most of the physical energy delivered to Vermont in the winter, at night and at peak periods is predominantly natural gas and nuclear power.
But Isn’t it Expensive to Use Renewable Energy?
As natural gas prices continue to rise, building new renewables like solar power continue to be the sensible and more affordable alternative. The chart below compares the historic, current and future prices of natural gas versus the price of solar power purchased by Vermont utilities from the Standard Offer Program
Won’t it Take Alot of Vermont Land to “Go Solar”?
No. One model created by REV using the DPS electricity load growth forecast shows that to double Vermont’s in state renewable energy purchasing requirement to achieve 20% by 2030 requires about 2,300 acres of new solar beyond the estimated acreage to comply with existing law.
REV finds that meeting the RES’ existing in state renewable energy requirement of 8.8% for 2030 will require approximately 700 acres. Increasing this requirement to 20% would require about 2,300 additional acres for solar. As context, Vermont is losing on the order of 1,500 acres of forest a year mostly because of “suburban and rural residential sprawl” per a 2017 UVM study.
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