Vermont’s Total Energy Study
Total Energy Study Results:
Vermont’s Ambitious Energy and Climate Goals are Affordable and Achievable
Vermont’s statutory goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 75 percent by 2050 and its Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) goal of meeting 90 percent of the state’s energy needs with renewable energy by 2050 are ambitious and imperative. The Public Service Department’s Total Energy Study (TES) examined how Vermont can achieve these goals.
Independent, expert energy consultants undertook a rigorous analysis of the costs, benefits and implications of various energy policy and technology pathways.
The conclusion? Meeting Vermont’s energy and climate goals is affordable and achievable, but will require real change in both policy and technology.
The TES found three primary pillars are needed for this transformation:
- Aggressive and deep efficiency
- Fuel and mode switching
- Increased renewable energy supply
The study also found that Vermont could take these steps independently – even though it would be less costly if other states and the nation took equally aggressive action. The report finds that Vermont can achieve these goals in a way that strengthens our economy; in part by creating a platform for Vermont companies to develop in-state expertise then export it elsewhere.
Some big questions remain that will inform ongoing dialogue, planning and action, such as:
- What is the role and availability of biofuels? If low-carbon biofuels are widely available, the energy transition is easier and more affordable requiring far fewer infrastructure changes. (People likely wouldn’t need to swap out their heating systems or necessarily buy a new car; they could just use biofuels in their existing systems instead.) Should we count on using these fuels?
- Should the state’s primary goal be meeting its greenhouse gas reduction target or its renewable energy goal? The best approaches Vermont can take vary depending on the answer to this question. Which goal should guide the state’s actions?
- What is the role of regional energy acquisition? How much energy will Vermont be able to – or want to – source regionally or nationally? How much energy can we or do we want to generate in-state (with associated economic benefits and land use impacts)?
The TES is the foundation upon which Vermont will build its next Comprehensive Energy Plan this year. The Public Service Department will be seeking legislative and public input on how best to answer these and other questions, based on the results of this robust analysis and more. Stay tuned for all the details on that public process but plan to participate. Help ensure Vermont crafts a forward-looking, strategic and ambitious blueprint for needed action. Look for all the details here. A copy of the report can be found in the publications section .