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Renewable energy businesses set Vermont goal of 20% renewables by 2020

Meeting goal will create jobs, keep energy dollars local

South Burlington, VT — Vermont’s renewable energy businesses are calling for Vermont to meet 20% of its total energy consumption with renewable energy, conservation, and efficiency by 2020.

The Board of Directors of Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) laid out the near-term “20 by 2020” goal to its membership at the business group’s annual conference and exposition Tuesday, calling it critical to address climate change, strengthen our local economy and meet the state’s clean energy goal of 90% by 2050 goal.

“To create a bright economic future and give our environment a fighting chance Vermont must electrify our economy with renewable energy.  As part of that, transportation needs will rely on electric sources and Vermonters will increasingly meet their heating needs using efficient technologies like electric air source heat pumps.  The electrification of our energy sectors will keep our energy dollars local, create jobs, and clean up our energy portfolio from dirty fossil sources,” said Martha Staskus, chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont Board and vice president of development for Cornerstone Renewables.

Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for the state to get 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050 across all sectors, including its transportation and thermal heating and cooling needs.  In order to do so, the Plan outlines the need to electrify our economy, enabling more of our local, clean energy sources to power our future economy.

Vermont currently consumes approximately 11% of its total energy from renewables, equaling 550 MW avg renewables.

Across all energy sectors — electrical, transportation, and thermal uses — Vermont consumes 5,000 MWavg of energy.

By 2020, over the next 6 years, the group estimates that VT will need to conserve, supply, or contract for 450MW avg of new energy through investments in renewable, conservation, and efficiency.  Doing so by 2020 will require an estimated:

  • 35% of goal with 158 MW avg of solar
  • 25% of goal with 112 MW avg conservation
  • 15% of goal with 68 MW avg wind
  • 14% of goal with 63 MW avg of efficiency
  • 10% of goal with 45MW avg of bioenergy
  • 1% of requirement with 4MW avg of hydro

“Vermont has set an ambitious goal, and we can’t simply wait to take steps toward meeting it.  States all around us, New York and Massachusetts among them, have similarly ambitious goals. By setting the near-term goal of 20% by 2020, we can begin the path to a more renewable and energy secure Vermont,” said REV Executive Director Gabrielle Stebbins.

The business leaders outlined the types of initiatives and policies that will be required to meet our immediate and long-term energy goals.

See attached plan overview document.

Among them, include:

  • Expanding Vermont’s Standard Offer Program that will deliver an expansion of community-scale solar and wind up to 5MW.
  • Strengthening Vermont’s popular and very successful Net Metering program, which allows homeowners, business, and communities to harness their own renewable energy.
  • Establishing as a Carbon Tax, which puts a price on fossil fuel pollution and distributes the revenues as dividend benefit to Vermonters.
  • Implementing a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), bringing Vermont up to speed with the rest of the region with measurable renewable targets.

“As a state, we spend more than $2.5 billion on out of state energy sources.  Those are dollars that leave the state and never come back.  This initiative will help create good Vermont jobs and keep our hard hard dollars local,” said David Blittersdorf, a board member and President and CEO of AllEarth Renewables. “This is an ambitious, daunting challenge, but we have to start somewhere.”

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