On Thursday, June 11, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a comprehensive energy bill that is anticipated to create new jobs, save Vermonters on energy costs, and help Vermont achieve one-quarter of its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by 2050. The legislation also creates an innovative new program under which Vermont utilities will help customers reduce fossil fuel use and save money on their energy bills.
The legislation he signed this past Thursday, H.40, does the following:
establishes a new renewable electric requirement for utilities of 55 percent of sales in 2017, rising to 75 percent by 2032
ensures Vermont’s renewable energy programs are in harmony with the rest of the region so the state can continue to participate in renewable energy credit markets that provide ratepayers $50 million a year in rate-reduction benefit.
establishes a requirement for new distributed renewable energy generation of 5 megawatts or less, to provide 1 percent of electricity in 2017 rising to 10 percent by 2032
establishes an Energy Transformation Program under which Vermont utilities will provide leasing or on-bill financing options to help customers complete efficiency improvements to their homes
To highlight the last point, the governor signed the bill at the Montpelier home of Dan Groberg, a Green Mountain Power customer who is utilizing a unique program offered by the utility, which H.40 will help expand statewide. Under the program, GMP and other partners such as Efficiency Vermont help customers make energy efficiency and clean heating upgrades, which are financed on a traditional utility bill and paid for with resulting energy savings. Through the program, energy upgrades to Mr. Groberg’s home will result in an estimated savings of $1,400 per year while reducing oil consumption to almost zero.
“With the signing of H.40 Vermonters will now have one-stop access for services and financing to weatherize their homes and businesses, add on-site solar power and replace or upgrade their current heating systems with state-of-the-art air source heat pumps,” said Rep. Tony Klein. “And Vermonters will only purchase these services and products if and only if they make economic sense! They will save money, lower their carbon footprint and eventually help lower electric rates going forward.”
“Vermont and the country is in the midst of an energy revolution, as we move from fossil fuels that damage the environment to renewable energy that does not,” said Sen. Chris Bray. “This essential transition will take decades and involve many choices. H.40 provides us with a valuable roadmap to that cleaner energy future.”
“This legislation is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together with all Vermont utilities, lawmakers, stakeholders and more to propel Vermont forward on our path to a clean cost-effective innovative energy future,” said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell.
Based on Public Service Department modeling, it is expected that H.40 will, over its 15 year implementation period, will create a net increase of 1,000 new jobs, save Vermonters $390 million on energy costs, and help Vermont achieve a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction needed to meet the goal of achieving 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.