The effects of global warming are already being felt in Vermont, and scientists predict these impacts will worsen over time. We have a responsibility to ourselves and future generations to do our part to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We also have an economic opportunity. The transition to a low-carbon economy has and can continue to spur the fastest-growing job sector in Vermont. Vermont can reduce the threat – and the significant costs – of increasingly destructive weather events like Tropical Storm Irene and other negative impacts of climate change by increasing our commitment to climate action. Simultaneously, this commitment can continue to grow good-paying jobs, putting Vermonters to work weatherizing homes, installing heat pumps and solar and pellet boilers, building bike, pedestrian, and electric vehicle facilities, and more.
The State of Vermont has taken positive steps, including enacting an innovative Renewable Energy Standard (Act 56) in 2015, and establishing strong goals to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and increase the amount of energy generated from renewable sources. A 2014 Department of Public Service analysis, the Total Energy Study, shows these goals are not only feasible but can be done in a manner that maintains or helps our state’s economy. However, that study also shows that our efforts to date still fall far short of what is needed to meet our climate and clean energy goals.
We will continue working to ensure the deployment of renewable energy and efficiency measures are undertaken in smart, affordable, and equitable ways. To that end, the Act 174 renewable energy siting planning process is rolling out statewide so we can improve how and where energy projects are deployed. We support the thoughtful siting of renewable energy, but we do not support policies that undermine recent efforts to balance planning and local input to energy siting, or that will create roadblocks to achieving our renewable energy goals.
The state will also need to explore additional policies like carbon pricing to help Vermonters invest in solutions and transition away from fossil fuels. The legislative proposals we support will give our state a healthier economy by helping Vermonters save energy, reduce their energy bills, and curb our dependence on fossil fuels.
2017 Legislative Priorities:
- Commit to Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.
- Maintain progress on renewable energy development in a thoughtful way that is accessible to all Vermonters, and oppose road blocks to well-sited renewable energy development or rollbacks to investments in our successful energy efficiency programs.
- Continue exploring climate solutions for all sectors, including carbon pollution pricing paired with tax cuts to spur job creation, keep more energy dollars local, and foster greater energy independence.
* Click here to see energy polling results from summer 2016. The poll shows Vermonters’ strong support for clean energy and climate action.