Burlington, Vt. — Today, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington Electric Department (BED), and Vermont environmental and renewable energy organizations voiced support for updates to Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to largely achieve 100% renewable energy statewide by 2030, while maintaining existing renewable resources and aligning BED’s procurement of significant new renewable energy with anticipated growing demand as more Burlingtonians switch to electric vehicles and heat pumps and other electric technologies.
“Burlington achieved 100% renewable energy in 2014, and since 2019 has been working on a path to eliminate community fossil fuel use by electrifying everything. It is time for Vermont to do the same,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Burlington has played a leadership role in creating today’s reforms to the Renewable Energy Standard that align with BED’s commitment to procuring more wind and solar energy, and I appreciate that our legislative leaders are making this a priority this session. This is a climate-resilient strategy that will make it more affordable for Vermonters to heat their homes, fuel their cars, and power their lives – and it will create new good-paying jobs in Vermont’s renewable energy technology industry. We should put this new standard in place this year.”
The statements today build on framework recommendations made by a broad set of utilities and environmental and renewable energy organizations presented as part of the appendix to the Legislative Working Group on RES Reform that concluded its work in December.
Among the items within the framework recommendations presented in the Appendix to the Legislative Working Group report that are important to BED are:
- Continuing to recognize 100 percent renewable utilities for their early action through continuation of existing exemption from certain RES requirements;
- Aligning significant new renewable energy (2010 or later) procurement with increased sales revenues from electrification efforts to ensure affordability;
- Ensuring existing renewable energy resources continue to count towards Vermont’s requirements, including hydropower and wood energy, supporting BED’s strategy to continue to be 100 percent renewable with a diverse mix of reliable resources;
- Providing regulatory support for BED’s efforts to exceed Tier 3 targets and advance innovative projects and programs as part of Burlington’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap strategy to increase electrification and fossil fuel reduction in the thermal and ground transportation sectors.
“BED has led the way with strong customer incentives for electrifying everything we can, and as move towards our Net Zero Energy goals we anticipate a growing demand for electricity,” said BED General Manager Darren Springer. “Within that context BED is supportive of updates to the RES that maintain our existing renewable resources and aligns our future commitments to procure significant new renewable energy from sources such as wind with growing electricity demand from the increased use of EVs and heat pumps and other technologies. The framework outlined is an approach that can advance renewable energy while keeping rates affordable for our customers. We look forward to engaging in the legislative process and appreciate working with partners in the environmental community and renewable energy sector to find common ground on this important policy.”
The House Committee on Environment and Energy is expected to take testimony this week on the RES update proposals, and the broader effort could spur the creation of significant new renewable energy projects in Vermont and in the New England region.
“As we move off of fossil fuels as quickly as possible we need the cleanest electric grid possible. Modernizing the Renewable Energy Standard is critical to that,” said Vermont Natural Resources Council’s Energy and Climate Program Director Johanna Miller. “So is local leadership. Burlington’s efforts to help residents power their lives, heat their homes and get where they need to go without fossil fuels is essential to the significant progress we must make, community-by-community and as a state.”
“Burlington’s commitment to get virtually all the additional electricity it needs as its residents and businesses switch to super-efficient electric heat and electric vehicles from new renewable energy is a big step in the right direction, and we appreciate Burlington Electric’s efforts to support updates to the Renewable Energy Standard to make that possible,” said Ben Walsh, VPIRG Climate and Energy Program Director.
“As we ask Vermonters to ‘electrifying everything’ and have the power for their EV, heating systems and other devices coming from our electric grid, it’s critical we get to 100% renewable electricity and build far more new renewables than we’re on track to today,” said Peter Sterling, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. “The effort to update Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard to increase the amount of electricity generated by wind, solar and local hydro purchased by Vermont utilities is a significant step towards a renewable energy future for Vermont and our region.”
“The IBEW, representing the unionized workforce at Burlington Electric, is supportive of Burlington’s Net Zero Energy vision,” said Jeffrey Wimette, Business Manager, IBEW Local 300. “State policy that helps BED continue to invest in its existing renewable energy facilities, including local hydropower, wood energy wind and solar is important to maintain reliable and affordable electricity for the City. We are supportive of updates to the Renewable Energy Standard that enable BED to maintain its existing resources while adding new renewable energy assets as demand grows.”
Legislative Working Group on Renewable Energy Standard Reform Appendix Framework (pages 28-32) – https://ljfo.vermont.gov/assets/Uploads/5f88e10ecc/RESWG_final_report.pdf