On February 17, 2021

Super Bowl ads, climate failure, and Vermont regulators

By Bill Bender, president of Solaflect Energy

It is time for the Scott administration and Vermont electric utility regulators — the Public Service Department (PSD), the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR)) to watch the Super Bowl, or more specifically, the ads. The world is changing, but Vermont’s regulators and Governor Scott are stuck in the 20th Century.

If you missed it, G.M. came out with three Will Ferrell teaser ads and a Super Bowl ad preview before the big game, in which they claimed that G.M. and the U.S. are coming after Norway and its EV dominance. They do not want Norway to win with the highest EV penetration in the world. In 2020, only 1/4 of the cars sold in Norway were traditional gasoline or diesel-powered cars. Fully 54.3% of light vehicles bought were 100% electric (EVs), and the remainder were hybrids. G.M. has committed that the vast majority of its vehicles that it sells in 2035 will be fully electric, and is using the Super Bowl to stake its claim to the EV world.

In an impressive display of quick marketing response, Audi almost immediately produced tongue-in-cheek response ads with “Game of Thrones” star Kristofer Hivju, with the theme “Don’t Hate. Imitate.” Audi concludes with “Audi e-tron: Norway’s Best Selling Car in 2020.” Not to be outdone, Ford jumps into the fray with Twitter videos, pointing out that they sell EVs in Norway while G.M. doesn’t.

In the meantime, Vermont regulator’s (PSD) projections of the future show climate failure. Their spreadsheet model has EVs reaching full adoption in Vermont only by 2079. At the same time, the PUC is strangling the solar industry (or more correctly, forcing thousands of good jobs to leave the state) with a 34% tax on self-consumed solar electricity. This is in the same range as the tax on cigarettes.

The ANR is presenting data to the Vermont Climate Council and the Legislature showing that carbon emissions from Vermont’s electric sector were reduced by 620,000 metric tons between 2016 and 2018. This would require the equivalent of removing one-third of all vehicles from Vermont roads (is there a secret graveyard in Lake Champlain?) or building 1.26 Gigawatts of solar (many times what has ever been built in Vermont), which is clearly nonsense.

This crazy data is a direct result of greenwashing by the utilities, which amazingly is encouraged by the Scott administration.

Nearly 95% of Vermont’s electricity is produced on 20th century facilities, while the utilities and regulators are falsely convincing Vermonters that our grid is green. Producing electricity on 20-to-120-year-old facilities, even if technically “carbon free” (nuclear) or “renewable” (dams), does nothing to mitigate climate change. Over 43% of New England’s electricity is produced from fossil fuels, and Vermont needs a massive construction of solar and/or wind facilities to make our contribution to preventing climate change.

Why isn’t Vermont the Norway of the U.S.? Let’s put the “Green” back into the Green Mountain State.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Harrison announces candidacy forre-election

May 29, 2024
Jim Harrison of Chittenden announced his candidacy for a new term as state representative for the Rutland-11 district (Chittenden, Killington, Mendon, and Pittsfield). He was first appointed to the legislature in 2017 by Governor Phil Scott and has been re-elected to new terms since then. Harrison is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the…

Why Act 127 is vital for Vermont’s rural education

May 29, 2024
Dear Editor, In Vermont’s quest for equitable education funding, Act 127 represents a beacon of hope, especially for our rural communities. This legislation, informed by thorough research from Rutgers and the University of Vermont, revises the state’s school funding formulas to reflect the actual costs of educating students in diverse socio-economic settings, with a significant focus…

Act 127 balance ed resources; aims for equity

May 29, 2024
Dear Editor, The debate over educational equity in Vermont, particularly around the implementation of Act 127 and the Pupil Weighting Factors Report, touches deeply on the state’s social and economic disparities. This conflict is starkly illustrated by the historical and current attitudes of certain towns towards neighboring communities, especially in the context of educational funding…

Save SNAP

May 29, 2024
Dear Editor, We have an urgent call to action: to protect 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits nationwide for millions of families, including nearly 70,000 people in our state. In early May, the U.S. Congress began to progress on Farm Bill negotiations again. Just a day apart, the chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture committees released their respective Farm…