On Thursday, February 17th, the PUC denied GlobalFoundries request for a Certificate for Public Good to become a “self managed utility”. In their request, Global Foundries explicitly stated their desire to be exempt from Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standards (RES) which mandate every utility purchase at least 10% of its energy from in-state renewable sources by 2032. Given that Global Foundries consumes roughly 8% of Vermont’s electricity, more electricity than the entire City of Burlington, this exemption would have had a serious impact on the deployment of in-state renewables in Vermont.
REV filed as intervenors in this case alongside the Conservation Law Foundation and AllEarth Renewables because of the precedent this exemption from the RES would set for other large consumers of electricity and Vermont’s utilities, the implications to growing in-state renewable energy generation, and because it would be a significant step backward in Vermont’s fight against climate change.
In addition, REV led the organizing of a well-attended student rally at the entrance to the Global Foundries Essex campus last October to raise public awareness of this issue. According to REV Executive Director Peter Sterling, “The PUC made the right decision- allowing Global Foundries to purchase more power generated by burning fossil fuels at the same time we are working on so many, many fronts in Vermont to reduce our climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions makes no sense at all. Vermont needs more energy from renewable sources like solar, wind, and in-state hydro, not less.”
In its ruling, the PUC stated, “In this Order, we decide that the Commission does not have the statutory authority to grant a fundamental component of GlobalFoundries’ request to operate as an SMU—that is, that the SMU would be exempt from the Renewable Energy Standard (“RES”). Read the PUCs complete ruling here.
You can read additional coverage of this story on VPR, WCAX-TV and VT Digger.