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Vermont’s latest energy statute: cap removed for locational benefits to the power grid

Groundbreaking law makes Vermont a national leader in recognizing the true value of clean local energy

May 21, 2012

Vermont’s latest energy statute expands its statewide Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Program and removes program cap for projects with locational benefits to the power grid

MONTPELIER—On May 18, Vermont’s Governor Shumlin signed into law the 2012 Energy Bill, which contains a groundbreaking acknowledgement of the locational benefits of distributed generation and more than doubles the amount of clean local energy that will be brought online through the state’s CLEAN Program.

The new law expands Vermont’s statewide CLEAN Program, known locally as the Standard Offer program, from 50 megawatts (MW) to 127.5 MW.  Notably, the capacity of any distributed generation facility that provides “sufficient benefits to the operation and management of the electric grid” as a result of its location or other characteristics will not count towards the overall program cap of 127.5 MW.  Therefore, no limit exists on the amount of clean local energy that can come online from facilities providing sufficient locational benefits.

The recognition of locational benefits by Vermont legislators is a major step towards broader awareness of the true value of distributed generation.  Clean local energy  projects alleviate transmission and distribution (T&D) constraints, while also avoiding the  inefficient and expensive long-distance transmission of energy.

As a leading advocate for the recognition of locational benefits in California, the Clean Coalition provided policy support to Vermont-based clean energy organizations actively engaged in the legislative process.

“The Clean Coalition’s invaluable work, made available to all through their on-line publications, clearly illuminated to state legislators the transmission and distribution benefits and peak load savings provided by distributed generation power stations,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. “The legislative emphasis on T&D and peak load benefits would not have remained in this bill without their help.”

Around the country, an increasing number of cities and states are turning to CLEAN Programs as a proven policy tool to rapidly deploy cost-effective clean local energy and to give community members opportunities for participating in the clean energy economy.  New programs were recently announced by Los Angeles, California, Palo Alto,  California, and Long Island, New York.

“Vermont legislators have listened to the farmers and local business owners who called for expansion of Vermont’s CLEAN program,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition.  “This bill shows a viable pathway for states across the country to procure clean local energy and illuminates the significant locational benefits associated  with generating wholesale energy close to where energy is used.”

Contact:
John Bernhardt
john@clean-coalition.org
(703) 963-8750

About the Clean Coalition
The Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to implement policies and programs that transition the world to cost-effective clean energy now while delivering unparalleled economic benefits.  For further information on the Clean Coalition, please visit www.Clean-Coalition.org.

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