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Governor Scott Vetos Landmark 100% Renewable Energy Bill

by | May 29, 2024

Governor Scott has vetoed H.289, the Renewable Energy Standard Reform bill which requires all Vermont utilities to get to 100% renewable energy by 2035 at the latest. The greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the new renewables that would be brought on line by the requirements of H.289 are the equivalent of taking up to 240,000 cars off the road by 2035.

“This bill was the result of a months-long stakeholder process that brought together for the first time environmental groups, business interests and utilities to craft a common sense compromise to get Vermont away from fossil fuels and onto 100% renewable energy. By vetoing this bi-partisan bill, Governor Scott has once again said to Vermonters he is not interested in tackling the climate crisis we are facing,” said Peter Sterling, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont.

In his veto letter to the Legislature, Governor Scott stated, “I don’t believe there is any debate that H.289 will raise Vermonters’ utility rates, likely by hundreds of millions of dollars. And while that in itself is reason enough to earn a veto, it is even more frustrating when you consider our Department of Public Service proposed to the Legislature a much stronger plan at a fraction of the cost.”

This statement is misleading to Vermonters who are concerned about fighting climate change for many reasons, including:

  • Any cost increase is over 10 years and represents a small fraction of the $14 billion the Public Service Department estimates Vermonters will spend on electricity over that time period.
  • The Department’s modeling which was the basis of this estimate undervalues the savings from using wind and solar power therefore unnecessarily raising the projected cost of H.289
  • The Department’s proposal increases Vermont’s reliance on nuclear power and retroactively decreases the compensation for the 20,000 Vermont homes and businesses who currently use net metered solar
  • The Department’s proposal brings on less new renewables over a longer time frame therefore doing significantly less to fight climate change

H.289 passed the Vermont House 99-39 and passed the Senate 18-8. With two-thirds votes needed in each chamber to override the veto, the bill has a path to enactment during the veto override session scheduled for June 17th.

Click here for some quick facts about H289 and the need to bring the Renewable Energy Standard up to 100% renewables





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