Vermont Electric Cooperative is asking the Legislature to approve a moratorium on creating renewable power mandates.
VEC CEO Dave Hallquist says the utility is concerned about finding balance between rising electric rates and the adoption of a greener power portfolio.
"I don't think we've really thought this out entirely. We're kind of looking at this through different perspectives. Our perspective as the boots on the ground utility that has to carry it out says we don't know how it can work even from a physics standpoint," Hallquist said.
Hallquist questions the electric grid's technological ability to accommodate renewable generation projects in excess of 20 percent because of the intermittent nature of power like wind and solar. He also says cost-effective energy storage remains a concern.
"Carbon is only 4 percent of the electricity carbon footprint of the state, so we've got all this emotional energy. We've got our communities being split and yet were focusing on really the crumbs of carbon. The real issue of carbon is in transportation and heating and cooling and it seems like if we're going to put our energy in and we really want to reduce carbon we would put it on where the biggest contributors are," Hallquist said.
The VEC vote comes as some lawmakers have vowed to resurrect a wind moratorium proposal that failed last session. But that will run into sharp opposition from both Gov. Peter Shumlin and House leadership.
"I think it's about the most anti-business statement the Legislature could make," said Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier.
"I don't think we can move fast enough to move to renewables and I am bound and determined to continue to make the progress we are making in building renewables in Vermont," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.
New Department of Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia says while he understands VEC's concerns, renewables like hydro and biomass are proven base load resources and that ISO, the New England transmission organization, has said there is more room for reliable renewable capacity.
Shumlin this fall created an energy sighting commission to analyze how electricity generating projects are permitted, but they aren't slated to finish their work until the end of the legislative session. VEC says the issue is even larger than siting when it comes to relying on the technology behind an ever increasing renewable portfolio.
VEC says until there are ways to overcome the hurdles surrounding renewables, natural gas is a good source of low carbon, base load power.
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:40 AM EST2014-03-08 13:40:47 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:36 AM EST2014-03-08 13:36:58 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>
Friday, March 7 2014 7:28 PM EST2014-03-08 00:28:44 GMT
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there. More >>
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 7:26 PM EST2014-03-08 00:26:37 GMT
A threat canceled all after-school activities in the Colchester School District Friday. The superintendent sent out an alert to parents saying even with enhanced security measures, the district considersMore >>
A threat canceled all after-school activities in the Colchester School District Friday.More >>
Friday, March 7 2014 10:42 AM EST2014-03-07 15:42:34 GMT
The state of Vermont released new evidence in hopes of keeping a Manchester woman behind bars. Fifty-year-old Patricia Kane was arrested on charges of interfering with the custody of a minor in January.More >>
The state of Vermont released new evidence in hopes of keeping a Manchester woman behind bars.More >>