Taking a page out of the European playbook, Vermont's renewable energy businesses are calling for Vermont to meet 20% of its total energy consumption with renewable energy, conservation and efficiency by 2020.
Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) says a ’20 by 2020′ plan is critical to address climate change, strengthen the local economy and meet the state's clean energy goal of 90% renewable generation by 2050.
The European Renewable Energy Council, a group of cleantech businesses and organizations, has called on the European Commission to go further than its current 20% clean energy and conservation targets for 2020 with legally binding 30% by 2030 targets.
‘To create a bright economic future and give our environment a fighting chance, Vermont must electrify our economy with renewable energy," says Martha Staskus, chairperson of the REV board and vice president of development for Cornerstone Renewables.
Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for the state to get 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050 across all sectors, including its transportation and thermal heating and cooling needs. According to REV, Vermont currently consumes approximately 11% of its total energy from renewables, equating to a renewables capacity of 550 MW.
By 2020, REV estimates that the state will need to conserve, supply or contract for 450 MW of new energy through investments in renewables, conservation and efficiency. The group is recommending 158 MW of solar capacity to help achieve that goal.
‘Vermont has set an ambitious goal, and we can't simply wait to take steps toward meeting it," says REV Executive Director Gabrielle Stebbins." States all around us, New York and Massachusetts among them, have similarly ambitious goals. By setting the near-term goal of 20 percent by 2020, we can begin the path to a more renewable and energy-secure Vermont."
REV has outlined specific policy recommendations for achieving the 20% by 2020 goal, including the following:
- Expanding Vermont's Standard Offer Program that will deliver an expansion of community-scale solar and wind up to 5 MW;
- Strengthening Vermont's net energy metering program;
- Establishing a carbon tax on fossil fuel emissions; and
- Implementing a renewable portfolio standard on par with other states in the region.