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Renewable Energy Standard Update Leaps Key Legislative Hurdle

by | Feb 7, 2024

Yesterday marked a big win in the fight for a 100% renewable future.

The Renewable Energy Standard Reform bill championed by REV and our environmental allies passed out of the House Committee on Environment and Energy by a vote of 9-1-1. This clears the way for a vote by the full House as early as next week. Passage of the bill would mark a tectonic shift in Vermont’s renewable energy trajectory that will nearly quadruple the share of our electricity coming from new renewables by 2035. This is hugely important since our current Standard doesn’t measure up to what other New England states are doing to reduce climate emissions.

What it does:

  • Moves utilities’ overall renewable energy requirement from 75% to 100% (year varies by utility)
  • Moves utilities’ in-state renewable energy requirement from 10% to 20% (year varies by utility)
  • Requires utilities to purchase new in-region renewables like offshore wind (quantity and year vary by utility)
  • Commits Vermont utilities that are already 100% renewable to procuring an increasing amount of their new load from new renewables
  • Changes the accounting of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to capture the ∼6% line loss from energy purchases for a more accurate accounting of greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector
  • Effectively bans new biomass electricity and excludes large hydro from qualifying as a source of new renewable power

Why it matters: In round numbers, quadrupling the new renewable energy requirement will result in Vermont utilities purchasing an additional 2.4 million MWh of new renewable power in 2035. Getting this power from new renewables rather than the current New England generating mix will reduce regional carbon pollution by between 700,000 and 1,000,000 tons – the equivalent of taking 160,000 to 240,000 cars off the road.

What’s Next: Assuming quick passage by House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees, the Renewable Energy Standard reform bill could come before the full House next week. Given the strong support the bill garnered in the Environment and Energy Committee yesterday and House Speaker Jill Krowinski’s leadership on the issue – we believe the bill has an excellent chance at passage. From there it is on to the Senate and a greener future for Vermont.

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