Here is a bit of history many probably do not know. In the 1970’s a property on Popple Dungeon Drive in Charlotte was being considered as a potential site for a nuclear power plant. I do not know the history as to why this site was dropped in favor of Vernon, the current home of Vermont Yankee. I do not know who the decision makers were or what the community response was some 35 years ago. What I can do is picture how different this community would be, how different our relationship to Lake Champlain would be, if Charlotte had been chosen over Vernon. Popple Dungeon Nuclear Power.
So what decisions can we make today that we can look back on, 30 odd years from now and say, I am so glad we did what we did in 2009. Or maybe it could have been called Charlotte Nuclear Power.
My reason for running for the legislature last year was clear. I wanted to be a part of creating the vision and implementing a plan that would keep this state beautiful, clean, safe and abundant in meaningful, not superficial ways. I wanted to be a part of building a vibrant economy that was in concert with our respect for our natural resources and thoughtful way of life. It is my hope, that the Vermont Energy Act of 2009, passing out of the House with a 2:1 vote on Earth Day, will be part of that experience. Here is what H-446 is designed to do:
• Promote the development and deployment of cost-effective, environmentally sustainable electric power and thermal energy primarily with respect to renewable energy resources and the use of combined heat and power technologies.
• Jump-start the development of renewable energy. 89% of Vermonters want more renewable energy as part of their electric mix according to the Department of Public Service.
• Encourage community-scale renewable energy development like solar, methane, wind and hydroelectric generation, by giving developers certainty in the return they’ll receive on their projects so they will invest in small Vermont projects.
• Creates a pilot program that will allow Vermont’s biggest businesses like IBM to invest in their own energy-saving measures
• Stimulate the Creation of 15 – 20 jobs in engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and installation per megawatt of installation every year
• Expedite the delivery of $21 million in stimulus funds for green energy projects through the Clean Energy Development Fund
• Aligns our building codes with federal standards so we can receive stimulus funding for weatherization
• Provides tax credits that may be carried forward for homeowners and businesses who invest in renewable energy
• Requires the Public Service Board to implement a standard, cost-based, long-term contract on behalf of Vermont’s utilities for qualifying types of renewable energy.
• Allows the use of land under the jurisdiction of the Agency of Natural Resources to be considered for renewable energy projects.
This bill received support from IBM, Green Mountain Power and a wide variety of solar and wind business as well as the usual environmental non-profits.
For an exciting follow up on what is happening in the private sector and the 20 electric companies in the state, listen to the podcast of Vermont Edition for Thursday, 4/23. It will take all of us: government, utilities, private sector, and consumers to bring our energy use into something that is abundant, renewable, sustainable, safe and clean.