Comprehensive Review of Vermont’s Renewable & Clean Electricity Policies and Programs
The Department of Public Service is currently reviewing the policies and programs related to renewable electricity to determine what changes are necessary to achieve state energy and climate goals. Input from the public is critical. Thank you to those who have already provided recommendations for the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan and the 2021 Climate Action Plan in addition to the Request for Input issued in July 2022 on this topic. Your recommendations helped the Department develop this process.
Interested in hearing about upcoming engagement opportunities related to this effort?
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The sections below provide information of various aspects of this effort which are currently ongoing:
- Upcoming Engagement Opportunities - highlights ways you can get engaged with this process
- Past Events - covers past events held on the topics of renewable and clean electricity
- Public Engagement Plan - offers information on the Department of Public Service's Plan to engage Vermonter's in this policy review process
- Supporting Information - provides information on renewable and clean electricity in Vermont
Updated November 27 - For Review Until December 20: Draft Summary Report on Reviewing Electricity Policies & Programs
On November 27th, the Department published a draft summary of the process it has taken to review Vermont’s renewable and clean electricity policies and programs. This effort responded to recommendations from the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan and 2021 Climate Action Plan to review those policies in a transparent and open manner.
The report begins to synthesize learnings from across the public engagement efforts and supporting technical analyses conducted between January and November 2023. It distills five initial takeaways related to the future of electricity in Vermont and offers several reflections on the process taken to engage Vermonters in this effort.
We want to hear from you! This document will be open for public comment & review until December 20, 2023. We want to know:
- Did we hear the public correctly? Are our interpretations of the process in line with yours?
- What did we miss?
- If you participated in this process, what worked well? What could we do better in the future?
There are multiple ways to weigh in:
- Fill out the survey: Feedback can be submitted online through this webform
- Send us a note: Feedback can be emailed directly to PSD.REPrograms@vermont.gov with the subject “Public Comment – RES Summary”
- Attend a workshop: We held two virtual workshops on December 5th (10am-12pm & 6pm-8pm). The workshops offered space to:
- Note: If you need any accommodations to attend a workshop or need assistance providing comment, please reach out to PSD.REPrograms@vermont.gov or 800-622-4496 to discuss.
Update November 27, 2023: Between December 2022 and November 2023, the Department, in collaboration with many partners, has been executing its three-phased approach to reviewing Vermont’s clean and renewable electricity policies and programs. It has does so through:
- A three-part educational webinar series (January-March 2023)
- Statewide polling and focus groups (June – July 2023)
- A regional event series (September – October 2023)
- Technical analyses (July – November 2023) and
- Monthly newsletters (June 2023 – present)
Materials related to these individual efforts are available in the sections below. The Department is currently in the process of drafting a report on this effort which will synthesize key learnings from across this suite of activities.
- What were the webinars about? To kick start the process to review Vermont's renewable and clean electricity policies and programs, the Department of Public Service held a three-part webinar series to cover foundational topics on where Vermont’s electricity comes from, what policies and programs support the use of renewable electricity, and provide information about the process to develop future programs and policies that will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Content covered in each of the three webinars are available here:
- Webinar 1: Where Does Vermont’s Electricity Come From?
- Topics: How does the electric system get power to our homes and businesses; what electricity is generated in Vermont; what types of resources do Vermont utilities have to purchase to make sure the lights stay on?
- Presentation slides
- Webinar 2: Current Renewable Electricity Policies
- Topics: Current policies and programs including the Renewable Energy Standard, Net-Metering, and the Standard Offer program and how they have helped support renewable electricity to date.
- Presentation slides
- Webinar 3: Parking Lot Session - Renewable Energy Certificates and their Markets
- Topics: A deeper dive on renewable energy certificates with Jason Gifford from Sustainable Energy Advantage
- Wednesday March 15, 12:00 pm-1:00 pm, [Video recording]
- Presentation slides
- Webinar Questions & Answers - Includes all questions asked by webinar participants and answers for those questions not addressed live during the webinar
- Earlier this year, the Department worked with consulting firm MassINC Polling Group to conduct a statewide survey and focus groups with a random sample of Vermonters to better understand their priorities and preferences for renewable electricity in the state. This effort began in early June with a statewide survey of over 700 Vermonters which was followed with 11 focus groups (6 in-person, 5 virtual) with a subset of people who took that survey to dig deeper on topics of renewable and clean electricity. The report, titled "Vermont Weighs In" was released on October 3rd and offers key takeaways on Vermonter's priorities around and preferred sources of electricity, as well as their awareness of current electricity sources and policies. MassINC Polling Group (MPG) conducted the research on behalf of PSD.
- Read the Full Report
- Review the Summary Presentation
- Read the full press release (issued October 3, 2023)
- November 8th webinar: A lunchtime webinar to discuss this effort and key learnings from this engagement with Vermonters
- Slides (coming soon)
- Q&A follow up (coming soon)
- What did we do: Say Watt?! During September and October 2023, the Department partnered with Vermont’s 11 Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) to offer a series of engagement opportunities for Vermonters to further weigh in on the future of renewable electricity policies and programs. During this period, the RPCs hosted 21 engagement opportunities, including 16 standalone listening sessions and workshops, 5 tabling opportunities at local events and community spaces, and 5 surveys. These efforts aimed to understand what should be prioritized when thinking about where electricity comes from, preferred sources of electricity, and how policies and programs can better achieve these outcomes. The Department co-developed outreach and meeting materials with the RPCs to help ensure consistency between events but allowed the RPCs flexibility to modify event structures or materials as appropriate. Materials created include three one-pager flyers on electricity in Vermont:
- Regional Event Summaries: At the conclusion of the events, the Department asked each RPC to put together a short summary of the events they hosted and their key takeaways:
- Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) Summary
- Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) Summary
- Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCPRC)
- Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (CVRPC) Summary
- Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) Summary
- Mount Ascutney Regional Commission (MARC) Summary
- Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) Summary
- Northwestern Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) Summary
- Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) Summary
- Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) Summary
- Windham Regional Commission (WRC) Summary
- What is the technical analysis? The Department contracted with consultant Sustainable Energy Advantage to conduct a technical analysis that investigated possible impacts of modifying the existing Renewable Energy Standard, aligned with recommendations made in the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan and 2021 Climate Action Plan. To support the technical analysis and ensure consideration of a broad array of perspectives in the selection of scenarios, inputs, and assumptions in the analysis, the Department also convened a Stakeholder Advisory Group (membership information available here). The Stakeholder Advisory Group met with the Department and their technical consultants six times between July and November. Materials from each meeting, including minutes, are provided here for reference:
- Meeting 1: Friday July 21, 10:00am-11:30am
- Meeting 2: Tuesday August 1, 10:30am-12:30pm
- Meeting 3: Thursday August 31, 9:00am-11:00am
- Meeting 4: Monday September 11, 2:00pm-4:00pm
- Meeting 5: Tuesday October 17, 1:00pm-3:00pm
- Meeting 6: Tuesday November 14, 10:00am-12:00pm
- Workshop & Opportunity to Comment on Draft Modeling Results: On October 10th, the Department hosted a virtual workshop to review the draft results of this modeling effort. The workshop included a presentation of the draft results and opportunities for stakeholders to review and ask questions about the draft results. In addition, the Department also accepted written feedback on the draft results until October 25th.
To help everyone stay in the loop on what the Department is doing to review Vermont's clean and renewable electricity programs and policies, we're sending our stakeholder list a monthly update. In case you missed it or aren't yet on our stakeholder list, you can access copies of each month's update here:
12/01/22: Public Service Department Releases Public Engagement Plan to Guide Review of Vermont’s Renewable Electricity Policy and Programs
- The Department's proposed public engagement plan is meant to guide a comprehensive review of Vermont's renewable and clean electricity programs and policies over the next year. The proposed plan incorporates input received earlier this year from the Request for Input and envisions three phases of public engagement to implement a core recommendation of the Comprehensive Energy Plan.
- Feedback? The Department welcomes feedback on the proposed plan. Please submit feedback through via email at PSD-REPrograms@vermont.gov
- How did you develop the Public Engagement Plan? This plan was informed by a Request for Input (RFI), issued in July 2022 to solicit feedback on the process for the comprehensive review and to gather initial input about what is important to Vermonters regarding the State’s supply of electricity. Links to the RFI, the related press release and supporting materials, and the synthesis of information submitted are below:
- August 1, 2022, Press Release - RFI Response Deadline extended to August 15, 2022
- July 5, 2022, Press Release
- Request for Input document
- 10/14/22: Request for Input - Response Synthesis
- 10/14/22: Request for Input - All Responses
- RFI Supporting Materials:
- Request for Input overview: This two-page document provides a high-level description of the Request for Input and general scope of information under consideration. This document serves as an initial primer to the RFI, before diving into the specific questions under consideration.
- Visual Comparison of Potential Timelines: The Department's Request for Input asks a couple questions regarding how Vermonters would like to see the review of renewable and clean electricity programs and policies occur. In particular, the questions reference Appendix A of the Request for Input, which details two illustrative timelines of how this process could occur. To support review of and reflection on those timelines, the Department has developed a high-level visual of these two timelines, highlighting core milestones in each potential process.
- VECAN Webinar and Supporting Slides: In addition to these written materials, staff from the Department participated in a webinar with the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) on July 29, 2022, to discuss the Request for Input and answer participants' questions on the effort. The recording from that webinar, slides, and other materials are available for review via VECAN's website at: https://vecan.net/vecan-vermont-public-service-department-webinar-rfi-f…
11/8/22: The Department has posted the Draft 2023 RES Model on the Renewables page for review.
Comprehensive Energy Plan
The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) sets out a pathway for Vermont to obtain 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. This ambitious goal calls on all citizens to take actions that will collectively transform the way we use and produce energy in our electric, transportation, and heating sectors. Some of the main policies and incentives available to Vermonters that will help effect this transformation are highlighted below. For an in-depth look at the CEP's goals and recommendations, please review the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan.
Renewable Energy Standard
Beginning in 2017 the Vermont Renewable Energy Standard (RES) required utilities to meet certain goals. Specifically, by 2032, to:
- Meet 75% of sales with renewable energy (55% in 2017, 59% in 2020)
- Meet 10% of sales with distributed generation (1% in 2017, 2.2% in 2020)
- Meet 12% of sales with "energy transformation projects" (2% in 2017, 4% in 2020)*
*Municipal electric utilities having not more than 6,000 customers have different targets (2.67% in 2020; 10.67% by 2032)
Vermont and the world are facing the impacts of climate change and it’s time to act. The initial Vermont Climate Action Plan, released on December 1, 2021, outlines steps to cut climate pollution and help Vermonters prepare for extreme weather and other impacts caused by climate change.
The Legislature established the Vermont Climate Council to draft the plan. As they drafted the plan, the Climate Council incorporated ideas and feedback from a wide range of Vermonters.
The initial Vermont Climate Action Plan is a first step in climate action and will be updated at least every four years. The plan includes an implementation section for legislators and other state-level stakeholders to inform decision-making.
The net-metering program, which was established in 1999, is only one of several programs available for developing solar and other types of renewable energy in Vermont. Customers who participate in the net-metering program can offset their electric bills through financial incentives based on the amount of electricity generated by their net-metering systems
The Vermont Public Utilities Commission manages the net-metering program. For complete information on the program visit their net-metering website:
The purpose of CEDF is to increase in Vermont the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources, primarily with respect to renewable energy resources, and the use of combined heat and power technologies. Additional information on CEDF can be found on the CEDF page.
Any electric generation facility must receive a Certificate of Public Good from the Public Utility Commission (PUC) before site preparation or construction can begin on that facility.
Section 248 of Title 30 sets forth the land use, economic, and engineering criteria that the PUC uses to review projects. Depending on the size and type of project, however, the criteria that are reviewed and the process for review can vary considerably.
In 2009 Vermont created one of the first standard price offerings for renewables in the nation, as part of the state's Sustainably Priced Energy for Economic Development (SPEED) program. The first iteration of the program resulted in fixed-price contracts for 50 MW of in-state renewables projects (up to 2.2 MW each). In 2012 the Vermont legislature increased the program by 77.5 MW, up to a total of 127.5 MW through 2022. More information is available on the Standard Offer page.
This webpage provides information and resources regarding renewable energy sources including solar, biomass, wind, and hydropower.