For All of Our Members, a Proven Commitment to Clean, Cost-Effective Electricity
VEC is committed to a clean energy future. As of Jan. 1, VEC’s annual power supply is 100 percent carbon free. And by 2030, we have pledged to be 100 percent renewable. VEC joins other Vermont utilities to make Vermont’s electricity supply one of the cleanest in the country. In 2018, only two percent of Vermont’s total carbon emissions came from electricity and as we move to a 100 percent carbon-free annual power supply that percentage is expected to drop each year. As you think about your own personal strategies for carbon reduction, you can be confident that VEC’s electricity flowing to your home, business, electric vehicle - even into the battery that powers your electric chainsaw or weed whacker - is carbon-free.
Cost-Effective Power Supply
Our members also care very much about affordability and they consistently choose “low cost energy” as the top priority in VEC member surveys. We know that in order to achieve a reliable clean grid in the long term we will need to develop more local and regional carbon-free sources and that these new renewables will need to be cost effective. VEC’s expert team continues to be focused on ensuring we acquire least-cost clean power supply resources and will continue to advocate for state policies that facilitate our ability to procure competitively priced power so we can keep costs down.
VEC has long been concerned about being required to pay above market rates for larger scale net metered solar. Paying more than we need to increases the financial energy burden on other VEC members and diverts financial resources away from other programs that could reduce carbon emissions.
• In 2021, existing net metered systems cost VEC approximately $2.6 million over market value.
• A new 500-kW project would get a rate that is 25 percent more expensive than other, larger, competitively-bid solar projects.
While we support members who have made decisions to implement small scale net-metering, we believe the state policy that requires above market payments for larger net metering needs to be updated. At one time, above market incentives were useful to jumpstart the renewable industry. Those generous incentives are no longer needed and many states, such as California, are moving towards more market-based compensation for net metering.
VEC currently has five active competitively priced community scale solar projects operating in our service territory. We welcome, and pursue our own, cost effective, well-sited, and appropriately sized local renewable energy resources. At the same time, we will continue to advocate for the elimination of above-market incentives.
Regional power = reliability
A cost-effective, reliable, carbon-free grid makes the most of our region’s benefits. This grid includes resources not available in Vermont such as planned large offshore wind sources and large hydro. On a snowy winter day, our local renewable resources are dramatically insufficient. And in spring and fall, sometimes we have more renewable energy than we can use locally. Grid reliability works best by combining a diverse set of resources, using the strengths of the region, and managing load at peak use times. While we sometimes hear of Vermont’s “energy independence” as a desired goal, the reality is our electricity grid is regional.
VEC is concerned about, and continues to challenge, requirements to procure certain types of resources from particular geographic locations if it could negatively impact affordability or reliability. It is not technically feasible to power our system with intermittent renewables unless they are well balanced and complementary. Proposals that limit hydro resources (which, for example, produce energy on a cold winter night), or that require significantly more in-state resources could be detrimental to system reliability.
Reliable, Affordable, Clean – Our Commitment to You
Our members, whether they are residential members, small businesses, or large regional employers, count on VEC to ensure the lights stay on safely and affordably. Proposals that would result in us having to pay more than necessary for renewable energy or that require us to buy, or not buy, renewable energy from particular sources – as is the case with potential legislative changes to the state’s Renewable Energy Standard – do cause us concern. Why? Because such requirements may add financial burden to our members without demonstrable carbon reduction benefits, and may hamper our ability to innovate and continue our overall progress toward a cleaner system. Moving our energy system, including heating our buildings and powering our vehicles, away from fossil fuels toward electricity is key to meeting our climate goals. Raising the costs of electricity only restricts that effort. VEC supports cost-effective programs and policies that advance carbon emissions reductions and support rural and lower income Vermonters. We are on the job for you, delivering reliable power that is now 100 percent carbon free. We have been serving members since 1938 and will continue to be a trusted and reliable partner. We promise to keep your best interests in mind.