Vermont Business Magazine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter today laid out a Vermont Energy and Climate Plan. Her plan, laid out in a statement from her campaign, is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector, supporting strong continued job growth in clean energy, and cutting energy costs for Vermonters. Minter also called on all candidates to stand up for Vermont clean energy solutions and jobs, and to oppose moratoriums and bans on clean energy technologies.
"I am the candidate who is concerned about climate change, and who wants to make more progress on energy efficiency and local renewable energy," Minter said. "It is unbelievable to me that we have candidates running for Governor in the year 2016 who want to ban renewable energy when we now have over 17,000 Vermonters proudly working in the clean energy sector."
Minter’s Vermont Energy and Climate Plan would organize state energy policy around two major new goals:
· Reduce peak electric demand by 10 percent over 5 years. Through energy efficiency, solar power, and new energy storage technologies, we will cut peak demand and continue to create good-paying jobs in clean energy in Vermont and save ratepayers money. Vermont ratepayers pay more for transmission and energy costs based on our peak demand. When power demand peaks, the New England grid operator is typically calling on the dirtiest and most expensive generators like oil-fired plants to come online. By taking measures to cut peak demand, we reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuel and save all ratepayers money. The Minter administration will set a strategic focus on reducing peak demand in order to continue transforming our energy future to the benefit of all Vermonters.
· Cut carbon pollution in the transportation sector.
The Minter Administration will pursue a regional strategy for carbon reduction by expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to include transportation fuels.Transportation represents the largest share of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions at approximately 45 percent. We must expand our energy transformation from a focus on electricity to the most significant contributors. The RGGI program, begun under the Jim Douglas administration, has proven that through regional cooperation we can reduce carbon emissions and lower rates.
RGGI has reduced electric power sector emissions in the region by 24 percent compared to projections, and that has happened while Vermont electric rates have come down and are now second-lowest in New England. Proceeds from the new program will be invested in public transit, rail service, and building more plug-in vehicle infrastructure here in Vermont. This program will be the implementation of an initiative Minter worked on as Transportation Secretary.
As part of achieving these two major goals, Minter will also:
· Create More Community-Scale Renewable Energy and a Resilient Grid by supporting incentives for well-sited projects such as on brownfields and rooftops, and for deploying energy storage.
· Accelerate Weatherization and Efficiency to make homes and businesses more efficient and cut fossil fuel consumption by supporting funding and financing through a variety of providers including energy contractors, utilities and fuel dealers.
· Support Innovation and New Technologies by ensuring that Vermont utilities have the flexibility to continue to innovative and provide their customers with products and services that reduce energy costs and lower carbon emissions, including working with utilities and Efficiency Vermont to foster greater adoption of efficient cold-climate heat pumps.
"As a leader at a clean energy business that has been a part of the creation of over 17,000 clean energy jobs here in Vermont, I can say that Sue's plan is the right one to move Vermont forward on job creation and addressing climate change," said Dan Kinney, Partner at Catamount Solar. "Her policy proposals will tackle the tough issues like reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. Most critically, Sue's plan will help more Vermonters be able to go solar or get a cold-climate heat pump, and that will reduce pollution and save families and businesses money on energy bills."
Rep. Mary Sullivan also stated her support, saying "we have worked hard over the past several years to put in place policies to support renewable energy and give communities the tools to plan to meet our state climate and energy goals. Sue's proposal will build on that effort by using efficiency and local renewables and energy storage to help reduce peak demand, avoid costly new transmission projects, and save money for ratepayers in our state. Sue also understands that to meet our goals we must make progress on reducing emissions from transportation, and her plan will do that in a smart way by working with other states in the region on a common strategy."
Source: Sue Minter campaign 6.22.2016