Essay The State of Solar Power Policy And Incentives in Vermont

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The State of Solar Power Policy And Incentives in Vermont

Vermont has become widely known as a progressive, even cutting-edge state in terms of its public policy. With two out of three of its Congressional delegation officially independent, a groundbreaking civil-unions law, and no fast-food franchises in its state capitol, perhaps that reputation is well-deserved. Energy; its generation, transmission, usage, and impacts upon the Earth, has arisen as a tempestuous, geo-political issue in the past few decades. As the petroleum era explodes (or should we say implodes?), the development and utilization of renewable energy sources has become vitally important for the survival of humanity and all the other species on our shared Earth. So
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It explicitly does not “seek to replace Vt.’s current electric generation sources such as Vt. Yankee and Hydro-Quebec.” And it “is not a mandate that Vt. attain certain goals or that Vt. seek some sort of ‘energy independence.’” The initiative does look to “encourage alternatives to relying on large-scale fossil fuel facilities.” And in so doing, “give the state more options for meeting its energy needs in the future.” The document spells out how it would help push these goals forward: through Legislative approval of $750,000 from the Petroleum Violation Escrow Fund for demonstration projects, an extension on sales-tax exemptions to include solar hot-water and off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems, “Green Pricing” programs, and a mandate to the Public Service Board (P.S.B.) to formulate a renewable portfolio standard for utilities. This would mean that power companies would have to disclose, among other things, how their electricity was generated and what the environmental impacts of this were. This was from 2001; in 2002 the Legislature did in fact pass some of the measures. The purchase of off-grid power and hot water systems became exempt from sales tax (32 V.S.A 9741) and Gov. Dean signed S.138 giving the P.S.B. authority to set disclosure standards for utilities.

In stark

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