As you remember, I had a busy Tuesday, trying to deal with every aspect of my energy life. I wrote about most of these aspects in earlier posts. Today, I will write about the last two issues: renewables and conservation
- I read a good report about renewables (I was impressed)
- I went to a meeting about conservation (I was discouraged)
Vermont Energy Partnership (VTEP) just issued a good report on the status of renewablesin Vermont. As I have mentioned before, Coalition for Energy Solutions (I am a member) recently did a report on what types of renewables are possible for Vermont, Vermont Electric Power In Transition. These two reports make a good pair. The Coalition report discusses renewable possibilities in Vermont. VTEP describes the status of every good-size renewable project proposed for Vermont.
One nice thing about a small state is that things are understandable. Numbers tend to be in the multi-millions, not the eyes-glaze-over billions. Five wind farms are proposed. Fifty megawatts of renewables qualify for the feed-in tariffs. These are small numbers. A combination of our report and the VTEP report can give a person a good overview of the Vermont situation.
The bottom line is:
Renewables can be built and probably should be built, but they can't take over the load from Vermont Yankee.
It was late afternoon by this time, and time to drive ninety miles south to White River Junction, for my next meeting.
I am on my town's energy committee, and I had to leave the Vermont Tiger meeting a bit early to attend a joint meeting of the energy committees of several towns. My second hotel meeting of the day, with my second set of sandwich-makings for a meal. Ah well, some days are like that.
There were a higher percentage of sandals at the conservation meeting compared to the Vermont Tiger meeting, and the Coolidge Hotel is definitely older, more modest, and funkier than the Burlington Hilton. But everyone who is on an energy committees knows something that a lot of other people seem to have forgotten. Even people who wear suits forget this.
It takes money for conservation!
That's all we talk about, we energy committee types. We talk about money. Mostly grants. Grants to retrofit our Victorian buildings for energy efficiency. Grants for lighting. But other issues also arise. Dealing with the selectmen about payback times for conservation investments. Transportation: what does a rural town do if fuel costs for the plows are its biggest energy costs? And so forth.
In economic analyses, people "fold in conservation" to show that renewables-and-conservation are cheaper than anything else. Really? If conservation is so cheap, why can't our towns afford it?
Conservation, like renewables, is frequently oversold as an answer to energy issues.
It's been a tough week, and I plan to enjoy the weekend.