A Message from The Village General Manager, Brian Evans-Mongeon
In the coming weeks, you will hear that the Vermont State Legislature will be considering updating the Vermont Renewable Energy Standard or “RES”. The basis of the legislative revision is to advance the requirements for bringing onboard higher percentages of renewables into the power portfolio of every utility in the State of Vermont. Currently, Vermont has three (3) tiers of requirements for accounting of renewable energy. Today, Hyde Park meets and exceeds those requirements.
Under the draft legislation recently proposed in a study committee (made up of utility representatives including myself, Legislators, environmental groups, and other trade associations), the requirements could be escalated to five (5) tiers, with some tiers having higher thresholds than today. The deadlines for meeting some of these proposed thresholds would be sooner than what was established with the current legislative requirements. If these changes are implemented as currently drafted, Hyde Park would not meet those requirements, and I believe, will drive costs higher on HPE customers.
In the study committee discussions, I have shared my thoughts, based upon my working experience, on how the legislation could be structured to not be harmful to the Hyde Park ratepayers. Those provisions were considered but not accepted. Thus, I voted against the adoption of the legislative report and the draft legislation as presented.
I would like to express my support for changes to encourage greater percentage of renewable and clean generation to help address the social, environmental, and health challenges we are facing. I am not opposed to seeing changes to encourage higher requirements. With that, I do not believe that the current technology and utility infrastructure enables us to practically implement a 100% renewable system. In today’s circumstances, or even in 10 years from now, a balanced and diversified mix of generation resources including solar, wind, water, wood, waste, nuclear, and some natural gas will provide for a resilient and financially stabilized based system that our customers can rely upon for reliability and rate structure.
Some aspects of the proposed legislation would invalidate some of the prior actions HPE took on purchases for our system. This should not occur, and it should permit continuation of prior decision-making, which were conducted in good faith based upon the earlier legislative policies. The impact means that we would have keep those purchases going, but then we’d have to make new and additional purchases to meet the new requirements, thus likely escalating our costs. In my evaluation of the situation, I could not support that direction.
I appreciate that folks may not agree with my position or analysis. But I wanted to be clear to everyone why I voted the way I did. If you’d like to discuss the matter, please let me know and I will be happy to set up a time for a conversation.
To learn about some of the ways The Village of Hyde Park is exceeding our renewable energy requirements, please visit our Resiliency and Waterhouse Solar Pages to to the below.