Friday, October 7, 2011

Comments on the Vermont Energy Plan

Some people have sent me copies of their comments to the Vermont Department of Public Service about the Comprehensive Energy Plan. They also gave permission for me to print the comments. The comment period for the plan ends Monday, so get your own comments in as soon as possible. Here's the link for the comment form and email address.

I can publish more comments in the future. Send to mjangwin at

An Engineer's Comments: There is No Plan

Charles Kelly wrote:

Vermonters by nature are not wasters. They don't throw away equipment with usable life remaining. Witness all the old farm equipment and trucks still in service in our heartland. In reading the Department of Public Service (DPS) Comprehensive Energy Plan I don't see anywhere where the perfectly usable Vermont Yankee Plant will continue in service until it can be logically phased out within the extended life period certified by the NRC. The DPS energy plan admits to a gap (page 13) in electric supply before renewables and natural gas can be brought on-line. That is at least 18 years (2030) according to Daniel Yergin, Chairman of HIS Cambridge Energy Research Association in his recent book, The Quest.

The other part of the DPS plan is a natural gas pipeline installation which will service only metropolitan areas, and is also years in the making. What do we do in the next decade? The Energy Plan is weak on numbers and timelines. It is more of a statement of wishful thinking, driven by an anti-Vermont Yankee sentiment which permeates the Governor's office. In reading this Energy Plan I don't get the impression that the DPS is proud of it. I do not think they even believe in it. Tell me how my electric rates will stay affordable in the foreseeable future.

A Nurse's Comments: We Don't Plan to Shoot People Anymore

Mary Daly wrote:

I cannot believe that the State of Vermont is planning to close down Vermont Yankee and submit its citizens to high cost renewable replacement energy instead. I have been to both an NRC open house in Brattleboro and a tour of the plant in Vernon and have no concerns about the plant. This hysteria about nuclear energy reminds me of the days in the 60’s when I was going to nursing school and there was talk of arming the Emergency Room staff with guns so that in the event of a nuclear accident, the staff could kill people who had been exposed rather than letting them contaminate others. To my knowledge, there has never been a nuclear accident in the US that would have required that action. Yes, they were worried about bombs at that time.

The hysteria about the tritium leak is just that. I carry tritium with me all the time on my watch.

My request is that we support Vermont Yankee and work to build another plant in the State. That would increase jobs, keep the lights burning and not damage the environment. I bet it would also be less expensive that what you are planning too. You are also ignoring the fact that many Vermonters support wind power but NOT in their back yards. The NIMBY factor.

A Former Vermont Senator's Comments: Energy Independence at the Price of Economic Growth?

John McClaughry, founder of the Ethan Allen Institute, former Vermont State Senator wrote:

The guiding principle of the Plan’s "vision" is “to set Vermont on a path to attain 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.”

The document also advocates for
  • Moving toward "energy independence” by requiring Vermonters to reduce their consumption of imported fossil fuels that now comprise two thirds of the state’s total energy consumption.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2012, and 50% below by 2050, to “lower the state’s contribution to global warming.” (Act 168 of 2006)
  • Strengthening and extending the various mechanisms for effecting these goals: mandates, subsidies, controls, and directives.

A more desirable and realistic plan would be , in our view, “to set Vermont on a path to assure safe, reliable and competitively priced energy that will make possible a strong, competitive and growing economic base , both for creation of new wealth and income for the people of the state, and for expanded tax revenues to enable the state to meet its fiscal obligations.”
The most startling omission in this voluminous plan is the complete absence, in section 3.1, of any chart or graph showing the sources of Vermont’s electrical energy now, and the sources we can expect to enjoy in future decades if the Plans recommendations are acted upon.

(This is an excerpt, read the complete comment here)

Full disclosure: John McClaughry is the founder of the Ethan Allen Institute, and I am director of the Energy Education Project, which is part of that Institute.

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