Gov. Shumlin signs renewable energy bill into law
May 25, 2011 - As part of a celebratory commissioning of a major solar project in South Burlington, Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed into law a bill designed to expand renewable energy and efficiency projects in Vermont.
“There is a fiscal and environmental urgency for Vermont to move off fossil fuels and toward sustainable sources of power,” the Governor said at the bill signing ceremony, which was held at the Farm at South Village. The Village is a “new urbanist” sustainable community with a 150 kW net metered solar array to power an organic farming operation, wholesale production and refrigerated storage and distribution.
Also participating in the bill signing were representatives for Encore Redevelopment, which developed the Village project, Renewable Energy Vermont, Gardner’s Supply, Alteris Renewables and others. In addition, the secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce, as well as the Commissioner of Public Service, attended the event.
Among other measures, the new law will:
- Strengthen the Clean Energy Development Fund. This solar project benefited from both a grant and a low interest loan from the fund.
- Improve the net metering program. The bill makes it easier for Vermonters to group together to capture the benefits of clean energy with net metering and doubling the cap and size of allowed net meter systems.
- Requires Efficiency Vermont and the Department of Public Service to create an incentive for biomass heating systems.
- Expands efficiency measures by, for example, requiring each electric utility to put in a rate schedule for efficient street lighting for communities.
- Strengthen and update the PACE program - Vermont's Property Assessed Clean Energy districts (PACE) Program, which allows homeowners to finance clean energy and efficiency over time – so that the upfront costs are less daunting and the payoff better realized.
- Move the CEDF under the purview of the Department of Public Service; provide bridge funding for CEDF programs though an innovative grant in-lieu of tax credit program that should cause almost $3million dollars to be invested into growing jobs in our green energy sector this year, and more.
Gov. Shumlin noted that the Department is coordinating a broad energy plan for the state that is due Oct. 15. That plan, he said, will likely spark more aggressive legislation for the coming session to move Vermont off fossil fuels.
“I very much hope and expect that we’ll have another signing ceremony next May for a bold and forward-looking piece of legislation moving Vermont to a clean, sustainable and secure energy future in a way that keeps us regionally competitive,” he said.