An Ambitious 90x'50 Renewable Energy Goal for Vermont

The following guest blog was authored by Jeffrey Frost, a veteran of 20 years of energy, economic and greenhouse gas emissions analysis and advocacy. Frost ,who is now focused on building investment streams supporting 100-percent renewable energy pathways, says that while this piece was written for Vermont’s Total Energy System (TES) planning (a state Public Service Department effort to identify the most promising policy and technology pathways to employ in order to reach Vermont’s energy and greenhouse gas goals), the major points and policy ideas apply across the United States and in many cases globally.

Vermont has the desire to forge a 90-percent renewable energy future by 2050. Given enough political will and vision, the available Vermont renewable energy resources will support this goal. The economic, lifestyle and energy consequences of the implementation of this advanced energy vision are almost incalculably superior to any alternative Vermont energy future, bringing with them GHG emission reductions that will be a welcome byproduct of the shift from fossil to renewable energy sources.

It is therefore imperative that we comprehend the daunting challenges we will face on this path:

· There is a mind-numbing complexity to comprehending all of all the ways in which our entire future (as a state and as a region and as a nation and as a global community) will be fundamentally driven by a post fossil fuels energy economy.

· There is well-funded resistance to the absolute necessity – driven by both climate change and the limited store of economically viable fossil fuels – of moving beyond fossil fuels and realistically facing into the associated disruptions which will prove a bargain price over time-frames beyond quarterly earnings statements and slightly longer election cycles.

· The fossil fuel age has been a singular interlude fueled by the depletable fossil fuel resource which had previously accumulated across great spans of geologic time.

Here in Vermont, we are fortunate to have a renewable energy geophysical character which can be leveraged to create an energy future supporting an enviable and sustainable way of life. We are fortunate to have visible and achievable sustainable energy pathways. Many of us are already working to develop shared understandings about this vision for Vermonters. This vision does not include natural gas and it does not include allowing the foreign pipeline giant Enbridge, through its subsidiaries Vermont Gas and Green Mountain Power, to dictate the terms which will define our energy path, a key driver of the core nature of life within the Vermont community for generations to come.

As we develop a shared energy vision and as we move toward attainment, we will be heavily battered on multiple fronts by the enduring fossil fuel energy status quo. The future starting now is Vermont energy production, which is locally owned, produced, controlled and distributed renewable energy. This is not an “all of the above” solution and not a natural gas solution.

The currently achievable renewable energy visions created by an ethical and brilliant global community must be implemented. The community dedicated to this renewable energy future strengthens and grows, with a tenor forged in fires of special interest resistance.

To read and download a brief outline of selected issues specific to Vermont developed to contribute to the “Total Energy Study” (TES) conversation, click HERE.

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