The fight against climate change has received a major boost as utilities, business owners, and energy experts rally behind an achievable goal – a 100% renewable energy future for Vermont. This ambitious vision includes measures such as energy storage and conservation, weatherizing homes, and transitioning away from fossil fuels to hydro, solar, and wind power for all electricity needs.
To pave the way for this renewable energy future, political leadership must enact changes to existing laws. It is crucial to update the 2015 Renewable Energy Standard, ensuring that utilities commit to reaching 100% renewables by 2030. Surprisingly, Vermont, once a regional leader in transitioning away from fossil fuels, is now the only state in its vicinity that has not revised its renewable requirements in the last eight years. Recognizing the economic, environmental, and social costs of the climate crisis, it is essential for the state to match the urgency of the situation.
One of the main challenges in achieving a renewable energy future has always been the issue of reliability. How do we ensure affordable, reliable energy for millions of people when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining? Thanks to a recent decision by the Biden Administration to support the Twin States Clean Energy Link, this question has finally been answered.
The Twin States project is a proposed renewable energy transmission initiative connecting Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec. This project will establish bi-directional capacity with Quebec, allowing for the transport of existing, affordable, and dependable clean energy to New England. Instead of merely moving energy from point A to point B, the focus is on using or storing renewable energy when available and accessing other clean power sources when needed.
The significance of this bi-directional capacity cannot be overstated. New England has ample solar and wind resources, while Quebec possesses vast hydropower reserves. By sending excess wind and solar power north to Canada, we can preserve their hydropower reserves, which New England can then tap into during periods when renewables are needed most – such as calm summer days or nights when the sun is not shining.
Additionally, the partnership with Quebec through the Twin States project will incentivize the deployment of new wind and solar projects. This, in turn, will drive down the price of power while addressing one of the prevailing environmental injustices of our time – the concentration of 81 natural gas plants primarily in lower-income areas of New England (excluding Vermont).
While we acknowledge the long road ahead in combating climate change, a two-way energy connection to Canada offers a viable path to a 100% renewable energy future for Vermont and all of New England. By fostering collaboration and tapping into our collective strengths, we can make this sustainable vision a reality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the 2015 Renewable Energy Standard?
The 2015 Renewable Energy Standard is a legislation in Vermont that outlines the requirements for utilities to transition to renewable energy sources. It sets targets and timelines for achieving specific percentages of renewable energy in the state’s electricity generation.
How does the Twin States Clean Energy Link work?
The Twin States Clean Energy Link is a proposed renewable energy transmission project connecting Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec. It enables the transfer of renewable energy from New England to Quebec when there is an excess of solar and wind power. Conversely, it allows New England to access Quebec’s hydropower reserves during periods of low renewable energy availability.
What are the benefits of a two-way energy connection to Canada?
A two-way energy connection with Canada offers several benefits. It facilitates the exchange of renewable energy resources, ensuring a more reliable and diversified energy supply. It also encourages the development of additional wind and solar projects, driving down the cost of power while addressing environmental inequities associated with natural gas plants in lower-income areas.
How does Vermont’s renewable energy future contribute to combating climate change?
Vermont’s transition to a 100% renewable energy future is a significant step in combating climate change. By eliminating reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the use of clean energy sources like hydro, solar, and wind power, the state can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This transition aligns with global climate change goals and demonstrates Vermont’s commitment to sustainability.