Vermont adopts Renewable Energy Standard

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This summer Vermont energy regulators issued an order implementing a Renewable Energy Standard.  This standard, or RES, requires Vermont electric utilities to procure an increasing share of electricity from renewable sources. 

Under a 2015 law called Act 56 (formerly called bill H.40), the Vermont Legislature directed the Public Service Board to issue an order implementing the RES to take effect on January 1, 2017.  Act 56 set certain rules for the RES, but left other issues to the Board.  Following working group meetings, workshops, and opportunities for written comment, the Board adopted the RES by order dated June 28, 2016.

The RES sets targets for utility procurement of renewable energy, starting at 55% of the electricity sold to customers from renewable sources in 2017, increasing gradually to 75% in 2032.   Of these amounts, at least 1% must come from new, distributed renewable generators, such as net-metering systems, rising to l0% by 2032.

The RES also establishes a category of "energy transformation projects," to encourage utility investment in projects that directly reduce customers' fossil-fuel consumption.  Energy transformation projects might include measures like weatherization, biomass heating, cold-climate heat pumps, demand management, or clean vehicle technologies.  To satisfy this requirement, utilities must demonstrate fossil-fuel savings equivalent to 2% of their annual retail sales (increasing to 12% by 2032) or procure an equal amount of additional renewable generation.  The Board has described the energy transformation project program as the first of its kind in the U.S.

Most states have adopted binding renewable portfolio standards for electricity supply.  Before the enactment of Act 56 and the Board's adoption of the RES, Vermont had renewable goals under its Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development or SPEED program, but no mandatory renewable portfolio standard.

Under the act, the Vermont Public Service Board order adopting the RES will take effect on January 1, 2017.

No comments:

Post a Comment