At first glance, Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) sounds impressive: within a decade Vermont’s utilities will be required to get 75% of the electricity they purchase from renewable sources. But when you dig a little deeper, Vermont’s RES doesn’t match up with what other New England states are doing and it fails to do much to promote new renewable development.
The idiosyncrasies in Vermont’s RES were a major focus of the panel Changing Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standards to Achieve a Fossil Free Future moderated by Danielle Laberge (Grassroots Solar) and featuring Jason Gifford (Sustainable Energy Advantage), James Moore (SunCommon), Nils Behn (Aegis Renewable Energy), and Thomas Hand (MHG Solar). This slide from Jason Gifford captured just how anomalous, the Vermont RES is:
While there is a lot going on here, the bottom line is pretty straightforward: Vermont’s overall renewable energy target is not particularly ambitious and our target for renewable energy from new renewable projects – the very energy we need to actually reduce fossil fuel generation — is the worst in the region.
When you consider that the purpose of a renewable energy standard is typically to increase renewable energy production, it’s easy to see why Vermont’s RES is ripe for change.