|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Senator Lyons of Chittenden District and Senator Miller of Chittenden District
Subject: Conservation; public service; climate change
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require that the state agency energy plan for state government include a program for the cost-effective installation of solar energy equipment in state buildings. It proposes to require the coordination of state purchasing decisions to assure the use of biodiesel to heat state buildings that rely on #2 fuel oil, to power that portion of the state fleet that employs diesel engines, and to power diesel backup generators. It proposes to make it a priority of the department of economic development to assist renewable energy companies in expanding and moving to the state. It proposes to provide that qualified energy efficiency and renewable energy goods and services be eligible to use the Vermont brand. It provides that as part of the farm viability enhancement program, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall develop a farm renewable energy program, and shall develop a web-based, methane digester cost and benefit calculator.
The bill proposes to expand the scope of appliance energy efficiency legislation, contingent upon similar action being taken in states in the region, to include automatic commercial ice-makers; ceiling fans and fan light kits; commercial clothes washers; commercial pre-rinse spray valves; commercial refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers; digital television adapters; furnace air handlers; illuminated exit signs; large packaged
air-conditioning equipment; low voltage dry-type distribution transformers; pulldown refrigerators; torchieres; traffic signal modules; and unit heaters. It proposes to require that the commissioner of public service monitor efficiency advances in the development of appliances, and revise the rules so as to assure that the standards continue to reflect the state of the art in affordable conservation technology, and to make the standards at least as aggressive in reducing energy consumption as are the standards in effect in other states, where doing so would be in the interests of electrical energy consumers of the state.
It proposes to amend the Vermont economic development authority chapter to expand the definition of eligible facility to include energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities relating to certain retail sales and relating to housing, and to make it clear that eligible endeavors include: logging; the operation of sawmills and processing of forest products; and renewable energy and energy efficiency businesses.
The bill proposes the establishment of a greenhouse gas emissions registry and a regional reporting system, and requires the secretary of natural resources to develop rules for the reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and to publish a triennial greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the state. It requires the agency of natural resources to develop guidelines that establish information needs and policies in evaluating applications for
small-scale hydropower, micro-hydro facilities, and pico-hydro facilities.
The bill proposes to allow the land use panel of the natural resources board to adopt rules that accord greater presumptive weight, abbreviated review, and higher density siting for homes that meet certain high standards such as the Vermont builds greener program–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) for homes, and similar programs.
The bill proposes to expand the range of possible expenditures from the clean energy development fund, and to require establishment of three programs: a small renewables grant program, a large onsite renewables program, and a farm renewable energy program.
The bill proposes to require the agency of transportation scoping process to include a cost-benefit analysis weighing conservation factors, efficiency opportunities, and congestion mitigation strategies. It proposes to require the agency of transportation to manage development to meet performance standards to reduce vehicular miles traveled and to increase public transit ridership. It requires the agency to support employer and local or regional government-led conservation, efficiency, rideshare, and bicycle programs. It makes it state policy to enhance and expand rail passenger services and freight railroad services, and it allows the agency to develop programs to make rail transport more available for transporting wood fuel resources and other wood products. It requires paving of highway shoulders, unless a particular section is highly cost-prohibitive; a category which can cover no more than one percent of the shoulders on the highways.
The bill requires that the residential building energy standards (RBES) be amended to meet entry level requirements under the energy star rating system, and seeks recommendations with regard to establishing within five years a significantly enhanced construction standard for efficiency. It proposes to require an advisory committee to make recommendations as to how to enhance significantly the commercial building energy standards (CPES).
It proposes to allow municipalities to establish green building incentives for homes and commercial or industrial buildings that meet significantly advanced construction standards.
The bill proposes to establish a state energy office, within the department of public service, and to create an advisory body, named the clean energy coordinating council, with a mandate to: advise the energy office on the state’s overall clean energy program; assist moderate and small systems through the review process; develop targets for development within renewable energy source sectors and report on progress in meeting these targets; develop and evaluate scenarios for tax incentives for the use of less energy; create a plan for farm methane project development; develop a plan for significant biofuel capacity by 2017, including recommendations for funding sources to finance a rebate for retail sales of biodiesel blends; develop stack emissions profiles for a range of wood fuels and develop a best available controls catalogue for wood energy applications; assemble a collaborative educational team to implement a public education campaign to advance conservation; develop school curricula at all levels related to renewable energy together with teacher training; assist colleges in developing renewable energy educational and training and retraining programs; expand research and development efforts regarding renewable energy; collaborate with credentialing bodies to ensure Vermont programs have the highest levels of certification; work with the workforce development council on energy opportunities; and establish educational programs for lenders.
The bill proposes to require development of a state biomass plan, with components that include the following: biomass inventories, evaluation of technologies, establishment of proposed siting criteria for wood-fired electricity generating facilities, consideration of distributed heat and combined heat and power, identification of a developer for a regional wood-fired electric plant, biomass market development measures such as increased rail transport options and biomass use by the state and local governments, strategies to divert biomass from municipal waste streams, and establishment of a wood harvest and ecosystem monitoring program.
The bill requires the public service board to adopt rates that absorb certain power line costs related to obtaining electricity from farms with biomass systems, and to assure the replacement of incandescent light bulbs, with a goal of universal residential deployment. It establishes a public purpose charge upon electricity consumers, to be deposited into the clean energy development fund. It proposes to amend net metering laws by increasing the maximum eligible size to 500 kW capacity, except in a service area where the board has established a lower maximum capacity. It increases a utility’s cumulative obligation from one to five percent of specified peak demand, with an option of the board raising that cap to 10 percent.
It proposes to require the public service board to establish two tools to be used in least-cost planning: first, a mechanism to account for the financial risk associated with greenhouse gas emissions from various power sources; second, a method by which environmental costs shall incorporate a “greenhouse gas adder” which shall be an additional dollar amount per ton of gas generated.
It requires the board to establish a loading order according to which resources shall be called upon to meet the state’s needs, with energy efficiency and demand response activities being the resources of first resort. It proposes to establish a Green Mountain energy incentives program under which a utility and a property owner agree that the utility will fund installation of renewable energy equipment, and the property owner will pay through utility rates. It proposes to amend the section 248 process for reviewing power purchases, investment, or construction by requiring that long-term, baseload power commitments be for resources at least as clean as a natural
gas-fired plant using combined cycle turbine technology. The bill proposes to update the SPEED program by requiring the creation of a standard contract and requiring utilities to enter long-term contracts for renewable energy resources. It proposes to make it a goal for the state to have at least eight percent of the retail load met by small-scale renewable energy projects by 2015.
The bill proposes to authorize the state treasurer, consistent with other investment objectives, to invest in projects that are eligible under the clean energy development fund. It proposes to provide that certain renewable energy and energy efficiency measures shall not increase the appraised value of property. It proposes to establish a residential tax credit for purchase of specified efficient appliances and energy systems. It proposes to require the property transfer form to certify that the seller has disclosed annual energy consumption for the preceding five years or the period of occupancy since construction, or has provided a home energy rating within the preceding two years. It requires the home weatherization program to fund the installation of solar domestic hot water systems on eligible homes, and it increases the income level that establishes eligibility for the program.
The bill proposes to require the secretary of agriculture, food and markets to seek federal funds to evaluate the potential for manure management centers for regional dairy bio-digesters, and it requires the secretary of natural resources to adjust the agency’s regulatory programs that may be preventing the use of food processing wastes, whey, and brewers’ waste from being used in farm-based methane digesters.
It proposes to require the commissioner of public service to fund a pilot community wind demonstration project. It requires the department of public service to convene an advisory committee to develop a Vermont-specific residential “efficiency index” to serve as a common standard to measure effectively home energy efficiency. It proposes to require the secretary of administration to establish a cash bonus program for state employees who commute a specified number of miles per year by bicycle.
AN ACT RELATING TO THE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
* * * State Agency Energy Plan * * *
Sec. 1. DESIGNATION OF ACT
This act shall be referred to as the energy independence and rural economic development act.
Sec. 2. 3 V.S.A. § 2291(c) is amended to read:
(c) The secretary of administration with the cooperation of the commissioners of public service and of buildings and general services shall develop and oversee the implementation of a state agency energy plan for state government. The plan shall be adopted by June 30, 2005, modified as necessary, and readopted by the secretary on or before January 15 of each fifth year subsequent to 2005. The plan shall accomplish the following objectives and requirements:
(1) To conserve resources, save energy, and reduce pollution. The plan shall devise strategies to identify to the greatest extent feasible, all opportunities for conservation of resources through environmentally and economically sound infrastructure development, purchasing, and fleet management, and investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency available to the state which are cost effective on a life cycle cost basis.
(2) To consider state policies and operations that affect energy use.
(3) To devise a strategy to implement or acquire all prudent opportunities and investments in as prompt and efficient a manner as possible.
(4) To include appropriate provisions for monitoring resource and energy use and evaluating the impact of measures undertaken.
(5) To identify education, management, and other relevant policy changes that are a part of the implementation strategy.
(6) To devise a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan shall include steps to encourage more efficient trip planning, to reduce the average fuel consumption of the state fleet, and to encourage alternatives to solo-commuting state employees for commuting and job-related travel.
(7) To develop a comprehensive program for the cost-effective installation of solar energy equipment on state buildings, pursuant to which the department of public service, working in conjunction with the department of buildings and general services, shall ensure that solar energy equipment is installed, no later than January 1, 2009, on all state buildings, state parking facilities, and state-owned swimming pools that are heated with fossil fuels or electricity, where feasible.
(A) The department of buildings and general services shall establish a schedule designating when solar energy equipment will be installed on each building and facility, with priority given to buildings and facilities where installation is most feasible.
(B) Solar energy equipment shall be installed, where feasible, as part of the construction of all state buildings and state parking facilities for which construction commences on or after January 1, 2009.
(C) For purposes of this subdivision, it is feasible to install solar energy equipment if adequate space on or adjacent to a building is available, if the solar energy equipment is cost-effective, and if funding is available from the state or another source.
(D) Any solar energy equipment installed pursuant to this subdivision shall meet applicable standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities.
(E) The department of buildings and general services, in consultation with the department of public service, may adopt rules for the purposes of this subdivision.
(F) For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:
(i) “Cost-effective” means that the present value of the savings generated over the life of the solar energy system, including consideration of the value of the energy produced during peak and off-peak demand periods and the value of a reliable energy supply not subject to price volatility, exceeds the present value cost of the solar energy equipment by not less than 10 percent. The present value cost of the solar energy equipment does not include the cost of unrelated building components. The department, in making the present value assessment, shall obtain interest rates, discount rates, and consumer price index figures from the state treasurer, and shall take into consideration air emission reduction benefits and the value of stable energy costs.
(ii) “Solar energy equipment” means equipment the primary purpose of which is to provide for the collection, conversion, storage, or control of solar energy for the purpose of heat production, electricity production, or simultaneous heat and electricity production.
* * * State Procurement of Biodiesel * * *
Sec. 3. 3 V.S.A. § 2291(g) is added to read:
(g) The commissioner of buildings and general services shall coordinate state purchasing decisions to assure the use of biodiesel:
(1) for use in heating state buildings that rely upon #2 fuel oil, with a goal being to move to a B20 blend as soon as biodiesel supplies are reasonably available at prices that are no greater than 10 percent more than the cost of #2 fuel oil, unless the commissioner determines it appropriate to pay more than 10 percent more in a particular instance;
(2) for use in that portion of the state fleet that employs diesel engines, with the same goal as specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection;
(3) for use in diesel backup generators for electric generators, with the same goal as specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection.
* * * VEDA and Renewable Companies * * *
Sec. 4. 3 V.S.A. § 2471 is amended to read:
§ 2471. DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
(a) The department of economic development is created within the agency of commerce and community development as the successor to and the continuation of the department of development.
(b) It shall be a priority of the department to assist renewable energy companies in expanding and moving to the state.
* * * Vermont Brand * * *
Sec. 5. 3 V.S.A. § 2504(b) is amended to read:
(b) The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the secretary of the agency of commerce and community development shall develop an identification label or labels which may be used to identify Vermont goods, services and experiences as quality Vermont products, which shall include qualified energy efficiency and renewable energy goods and services. Any logo developed pursuant to this section shall be filed with the secretary of state who shall register the logo as a trademark pursuant to 9 V.S.A. chapter 71, subchapter 1. The logo shall remain a registered trademark of the program until it is withdrawn by the secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the secretary of the agency of commerce and community development.
* * * Farm Viability Program * * *
Sec. 6. 6 V.S.A. § 4710(a) is amended to read:
(a) The Vermont farm viability enhancement program is a voluntary program established in the agency of agriculture, food and markets to provide assistance to Vermont farmers to enhance the financial success and long-term viability of Vermont agriculture. In administering the program, the secretary shall:
(1) Collaborate with the Vermont housing and conservation board, state and federal agencies, private entities, and service groups to develop, coordinate, and provide technical and financial assistance to Vermont farmers.
(2) Include teams of experts to assist farmers in areas such as assessing farm resources and potential, diversifying, adopting new technologies, improving product quality, developing value-added products, and lowering costs of production for Vermont's agricultural sector. The teams may include farm business management specialists, University of Vermont extension service professionals, veterinarians, and other experts to deliver the informational and technological services.
(3) Encourage agricultural economic development through investing in improvements to essential infrastructure and the promotion of farm businesses in Vermont.
(4) Enter into agreements with private organizations or individuals or with any agency or instrumentality of the United States or of this state and employ technical experts to carry out the purposes of this section.
(5) Develop a farm renewable energy program, to operate with funding from the clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523, to provide financial and technical assistance to Vermont farmers in support of development of farm-based renewable energy systems and to promote the construction, operation, and evaluation of facilities to convert manure and other substrates to useful energy. As part of this program, the secretary shall:
(A) Establish a strategic plan, performance goals, programs, an annual work plan, and evaluative measures to implement the program.
(B) Dedicate adequate staffing to provide business and technical assistance for research, planning, and project deployment to aid farmers in developing on-farm renewable energy projects.
(C) Provide assistance to farmers in securing matching grant funding through the clean energy development fund and from federal agencies for the installation and operation of renewable energy production using farm waste.
(6) Develop and make available to the public a web-based, methane digester cost and benefit calculator that farmers can use to determine the economic and environmental costs and benefits of using farm waste to generate renewable energy. The calculator shall take into account the avoided costs and environmental benefits that may be derived from using byproduct solids as bedding material.
* * * Appliance Efficiency Standards * * *
Sec. 7. 9 V.S.A. § 2793 is amended to read:
§ 2793. DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
* * *
(15) “Automatic commercial ice-maker” means a factory-made assembly that is shipped in one or more packages that consists of a condensing unit and ice-making section operating as an integrated unit that makes and harvests ice cubes and that may store or dispense ice. This term includes machines with capacities between and including 50 and 2,500 pounds per 24 hours.
(16) “Ceiling fan” means a nonportable device that is suspended from a ceiling for circulating air via the rotation of fan blades.
(17) “Ceiling fan light kit” means equipment designed to provide light from a ceiling fan which can be:
(A) integral, such that the equipment is hardwired to the ceiling fan; or
(B) attachable, such that at the time of sale, the equipment is not physically attached to the ceiling fan, but may be included inside the ceiling fan package at the time of sale or sold separately for subsequent attachment to the fan.
(18) “Commercial clothes washer” means a soft mount horizontal- or vertical-axis clothes washer that:
(A) has a clothes container compartment no greater than 3.5 cubic feet in the case of a horizontal-axis product or no greater than 4.0 cubic feet in the case of a vertical-axis product; and
(B) is designed for use by more than one household, such as in multifamily housing, apartments, or coin laundries.
(19) “Commercial pre-rinse spray valve” means a hand-held device designed and marketed for use with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment and which sprays water on dishes, flatware, and other food service items for the purpose of removing food residue prior to their cleaning.
(20)(A) “Commercial refrigerator, freezer, and refrigerator-freezer” means self-contained refrigeration equipment that:
(i) is not a consumer product as regulated pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 6291 et seq.;
(ii) operates at a chilled, frozen, combination chilled and frozen, or variable temperature for the purpose of storing or merchandising, or storing and merchandising any combination of food, beverages, and ice;
(iii) may have transparent or solid hinged doors, or both, or a combination of hinged and sliding doors; and
(iv) incorporates in a single cabinet most components involved in the vapor compression cycle and the refrigerated compartment.
(B) This term does not include:
(i) products with 85 cubic feet or more of internal volume;
(ii) walk-in refrigerators or freezers; or
(iii) consumer products that are federally regulated pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 6291 et seq.
(21) “Digital television adapter” means an electronic product for which the sole purpose is the conversion of digital video terrestrial broadcast signals to analog National Television System Committee (NTSC) video signals for use by an analog device such as a television. This term does not include cable or satellite television set-top boxes.
(22) “Furnace air handler” means the section of the furnace that includes the fan, blower, and housing, usually accompanied by a filter, all of which are located generally upstream of the burners and heat exchanger. In many residential applications, the air handler includes a cooling coil.
(23) “Illuminated exit sign” means an internally illuminated sign that is designed to be permanently fixed in place to identify an exit; consists of an electrically powered integral light source that illuminates the legend “EXIT” and any directional indicators; and provides contrast between the legend, any directional indicators, and the background.
(24) “Large packaged air-conditioning equipment” means packaged air‑conditioning equipment that has 240,000 Btu/hour or more of cooling capacity and that is built as a package and shipped as a whole to end-user sites.
(25)(A) “Low voltage dry-type distribution transformer” means a distribution transformer that:
(i) has an input voltage of 600 volts or less;
(ii) is air-cooled;
(iii) does not use oil as a coolant; and
(iv) is rated for operation at a frequency of 60 Hertz.
(B) “Low voltage dry-type distribution transformer” does not include:
(i) transformers with multiple voltage taps, with the highest voltage tap equaling at least 20 percent more than the lowest voltage tap; or
(ii) transformers, such as those commonly known as drive transformers, rectifier transformers, auto-transformers, uninterruptible power system transformers, impedance transformers, harmonic transformers, regulating transformers, sealed and nonventilating transformers, machine tool transformers, welding transformers, grounding transformers, or testing transformers, that are designed to be used in a special purpose application and are unlikely to be used in general purpose applications.
(26) “Pulldown refrigerator” means a commercial refrigerator specifically designed to rapidly reduce all integrated product temperatures from 90 degrees F to 38 degrees F over a 12-hour period (i.e., reduction of 4.3 degrees F per hour) when fully loaded with beverage containers.
(27) “Torchiere” means a portable electric lamp with a reflective bowl that directs light upward onto a ceiling so as to produce indirect illumination on the surfaces below.
(28) “Traffic signal module” means a standard eight‑inch (200 mm) or
12‑inch (300 mm) traffic signal indicator, consisting of a light source, a lens, and all other parts necessary for operation.
(29) “Unit heater” means a self-contained, vented fan-type commercial space heater that uses natural gas, propane, or fuel oil and that is designed to be installed without ducts within a heated space; except that “unit heater” does not include direct vent, sealed combustion burner, forced flue heaters, or any products covered by federal standards pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 6291 et seq.
or any product that is a direct vent, forced flue heater with a sealed combustion burner.
Sec. 8. 9 V.S.A. § 2794(a) is amended to read:
(a) The provisions of this chapter apply to the following types of new products sold, offered for sale, or installed in the state:
* * *
(6) Automatic commercial ice makers.
(7) Ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits.
(8) Commercial clothes washers.
(9) Commercial pre-rinse spray valves.
(10) Commercial refrigerators and freezers.
(11) Digital television adapters.
(12) Furnace air handlers.
(13) Illuminated exit signs.
(14) Large packaged air-conditioning equipment.
(15) Low voltage dry-type distribution transformers.
(17) Traffic signal modules.
(18) Unit heaters.
(19) Any other product that may be designated by the commissioner in accordance with section 2797 of this title.
Sec. 9. 9 V.S.A. § 2795 is amended to read:
§ 2795. EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
(a) Not later than June 1, 2009, the commissioner shall adopt rules in accordance with the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 establishing minimum efficiency standards for the types of new products set forth in section 2794 of this title. The rules shall provide for the following minimum efficiency standards:
* * *
(b) Not later than June 1, 2009, the commissioner shall adopt rules in accordance with the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 establishing minimum efficiency standards for the types of new products set forth in subdivisions 2794(a)(6)–(18) of this title. The rules shall provide for the following minimum efficiency standards:
(1) Automatic commercial ice-makers shall meet the energy efficiency requirements of section 1605.3 of the California Code of Regulations, Title 20: Division 2, Chapter 4, Article 4: Appliance Efficiency Regulations.
(2) Ceiling fans shall have:
(A) lighting controls separate from fan speed controls;
(B) adjustable speed controls (either more than one speed or variable speeds); and
(C) the capability of reversible fan action, except fans designed for applications where safety standards would be violated by use of the reversible mode.
(3) Ceiling fan light kits shall:
(A) meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program for Residential Light Fixtures (Version 3.1) and be packaged with lamps to fill all sockets;
(B) be packaged with screw-based compact fluorescent lamps to fill all sockets, with such lamps meeting the Energy Star Program Requirements for Compact Fluorescent Lamps (Version 3.0); or
(C) be used and be packaged with light sources, other than compact fluorescent lamps, that meet the minimum efficacy requirements (as measured in lumens per watt) of the Energy Star Program Requirements for Compact Fluorescent Lamps (Version 3.0).
(4) Commercial clothes washers shall meet the requirements shown in Table P-3 of section 1605.3 of the California Code of Regulations, Title 20: Division 2, Chapter 4, Article 4 (Appliance Efficiency Regulations that took effect on November 27, 2002).
(5) Commercial pre-rinse spray valves shall have a flow rate equal to or less than 1.6 gallons per minute.
(6) Commercial refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers shall meet the minimum efficiency requirements shown in Table A-6 of section 1605.3 of the California Code of Regulations, Title 20: Division 2, Chapter 4, Article 4: Appliance Efficiency Regulations as adopted on December 15, 2004 except that pulldown refrigerators with transparent doors shall meet a requirement five percent less stringent than shown in the California regulations.
(7) Digital television adapters shall not use more than one watt in standby-passive mode and shall not use more than eight watts in “on” mode.
(8) Furnace air handlers shall have an Efficiency Rating (ER) of 2.0 or less except air handlers for oil-fired furnaces with a capacity of less than 94,000 Btu hour shall have an ER of 2.3 or less.
(9) Illuminated exit signs shall meet the Version 2.0 Energy Star Program performance requirements for illuminated exit signs prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
(10) Large packaged air-conditioning equipment shall meet the Tier 2 efficiency levels of the “Minimum Equipment Efficiencies for Unitary Commercial Air Conditioners” or “Minimum Equipment Efficiencies for Heat Pumps,” as appropriate, developed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Boston, MA, as in effect on January 1, 2002.
(11) Low voltage dry-type distribution transformers shall meet the Class 1 efficiency levels for distribution transformers specified in Table 4-2 of the “Guide for Determining Energy Efficiency for Distribution Transformers” published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA Standard TP-1-2002).
(12) Torchieres shall consume not more than 190 watts and shall not be capable of operating with lamps that total more than 190 watts.
(13) Red and green traffic signal modules shall meet the product specification of the “Energy Star Program Requirements for Traffic Signals” developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that took effect in February 2001 and shall be installed with compatible, electrically connected signal control interface devices and conflict monitoring systems. The commissioner, in consultation with the secretary of transportation, may exempt specific traffic signals from this requirement upon a determination that
Energy‑ Star‑compliant traffic signal modules would compromise safe signal operation.
(14) Unit heaters shall be equipped with an intermittent ignition device and shall have either power venting or an automatic flue damper.
Sec. 10. 9 V.S.A. § 2796 is amended to read:
§ 2796. IMPLEMENTATION
(a) No new medium voltage dry-type distribution transformer,
state-regulated incandescent reflector lamp, or single-voltage external AC to DC power supply manufactured on or after January 1, 2008 may be sold or offered for sale in the state unless the efficiency of the new product meets or exceeds the efficiency standards set forth in the rules adopted pursuant to section 2795 of this title.
(b) On or after January 1, 2009, no new metal halide lamp fixture may be sold or offered for sale in the state unless the efficiency of the new product meets or exceeds the efficiency standards set forth in the rules adopted pursuant to section 2795 of this title. On or after January 1, 2010, no new ceiling fan, ceiling fan light kit, commercial clothes washer, commercial pre-rinse spray valve, digital television adapter, illuminated exit sign, low voltage dry‑type distribution transformer, torchiere, traffic signal module, or unit heater may be sold or offered for sale in the state unless the efficiency of the new product meets or exceeds the efficiency standards set forth in the rules adopted pursuant to section 2795 of this title. On or after January 1, 2011, no new automatic commercial ice maker or no new commercial refrigerator or freezer or large packaged air-conditioning equipment may be sold or offered for sale in the state unless the efficiency of the new product meets or exceeds the efficiency standards set forth in the rules adopted pursuant to section 2795 of this title.
* * *
(d) One year after the date upon which the sale or offering for sale of certain products becomes subject to the requirements of subsection (a) or (b) of this section, no new products may be installed for compensation in the state unless the efficiency of a new product meets or exceeds the efficiency standards set forth in the rules adopted pursuant to section 2795 of this title.
(e) Owners and operators of commercial and industrial facilities shall be allowed to utilize appliances and equipment that do not meet the requirements of section 2795 of this title for the repair or replacement of existing equipment, provided that the equipment being repaired or replaced was acquired before the implementation date determined according to the provisions of this section. At the discretion of the owners and operators, these appliances and equipment may be used at any time before or after the effective date of those requirements.
(f) Notwithstanding the dates set out in this section, implementation of the standard for an individual product of the type set forth in subdivisions 2794(a)(6)–(18) of this title shall be suspended until the passage of legislation or the adoption of administrative rules that require equivalent or higher standards for that product in states within New England, including Vermont, with a total population of at least four million people.
Sec. 11. 9 V.S.A. § 2797 is amended to read:
§ 2797. REVISED STANDARDS
may shall monitor efficiency advances in the development
of products listed in this chapter and of other energy-consuming products that
may appropriately be subjected to standards under this chapter, and shall
adopt rules, in accordance with the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, to
revise efficiency standards for the products listed in section 2794 of this
title, in order to assure that the standards continue to reflect the state
of the art in affordable conservation technology and to make the standards conform
to at least as aggressive in reducing energy consumption as are the
standards in effect in other states, where to do so is in the interests of the
electrical energy consumers of the state. In considering increased standards,
the commissioner shall set efficiency standards upon a determination that
increased efficiency standards would serve to promote energy conservation in
the state and would be cost-effective for consumers who purchase and use those
products. No increased efficiency standards shall become effective within one
year following the adoption of any amended rules establishing those increased
efficiency standards. The commissioner may apply for a waiver of federal
preemption in accordance with federal procedures (42 U.S.C. § 6297(d)) for
state efficiency standards for any product regulated by the federal government.
* * * VEDA Eligibility * * *
Sec. 12. 10 V.S.A. § 212(6) is amended to read:
(6) "Eligible facility" or "eligible project" means any industrial, commercial, or agricultural enterprise or endeavor approved by the authority that meets the criteria established in the Vermont sustainable jobs strategy adopted by the governor under section 280b of this title, including land and rights in land, air, or water, buildings, structures, machinery, and equipment of such eligible facilities or eligible projects, except that an eligible facility or project shall not include the portion of an enterprise or endeavor relating to other than the energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities related to the sale of goods at retail where such goods are manufactured primarily out of state, and except further that an eligible facility or project shall not include the portion of an enterprise or endeavor relating to other than the energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities related to housing. Such enterprises or endeavors may include:
(A) quarrying, mining, logging, manufacturing, processing, including the operation of sawmills and the further processing of agricultural and forest products, assembling, or warehousing of goods or materials for sale or distribution or the maintenance of safety standards in connection therewith;
* * *
Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) resources or
nonqualifying SPEED resources, as defined in 30 V.S.A. § 8002;
(N) renewable energy and energy efficiency businesses, including:
(i) construction, installation, engineering, sales, and systems management components of those businesses, together with any related
(ii) inventors and entrepreneurs who are engaged in bringing energy efficiency or renewable energy-related technology advances from prototype stage to commercialization; and
(iii) those renewable energy businesses that are attempting to expand operations or services within the state or to move to the state, or both; or
(O) any combination of the foregoing activities, uses, or purposes. An eligible facility may include structures, appurtenances incidental to the foregoing such as utility lines, storage accommodations, offices, dependent care facilities, or transportation facilities.
* * * Air Quality * * *
Sec. 13. 10 V.S.A. § 552 is amended to read:
§ 552. DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
* * *
(11) “Greenhouse gas” means any chemical or physical substance that is emitted into the air and that the secretary may reasonably anticipate to cause or contribute to climate change, including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.
Sec. 14. 10 V.S.A. § 580 is added to read:
§ 580. GREENHOUSE GAS REGISTRY
(a) The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a regional greenhouse gas registry for greenhouse gas emissions and a regional reporting system.
(b) By no later than October 15, 2008, the secretary shall develop rules to require the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor and enforce compliance with this program. The requirements shall include provisions for owner reporting according to an accessible and easy-to-understand format that will yield information with regard to all greenhouse gas emissions in a type and format that a regional registry can accommodate. In addition, the rules shall:
(1) Require the monitoring and annual reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from all sources beginning with the sources or categories of sources that contribute the most to statewide emissions.
(2) Account for greenhouse gas emissions from all electricity consumed in the state, including transmission and distribution line losses from electricity generated within the state or imported from outside the state. This requirement applies to publicly-owned electric utilities.
(3) Ensure rigorous and consistent accounting of emissions, and provide reporting tools and formats to ensure collection of necessary data.
(4) Ensure that major greenhouse gas emission sources maintain comprehensive records of all reported greenhouse gas emissions.
(c) Not later than July 1, 2009, and triennially thereafter, the secretary shall publish a state greenhouse gas emissions inventory that includes comprehensive estimates of the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions in the state for the last three years for which data are available.
(d) The secretary may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section and shall review existing and proposed international, federal, and state greenhouse gas emission reporting programs and make reasonable efforts to promote consistency among the programs established pursuant to this and other programs, and to streamline reporting requirements on greenhouse gas emission sources. Nothing in this section shall limit a state agency from adopting any rule within its authority.
* * * ANR Regulation of Dams * * *
Sec. 15. 10 V.S.A. § 1083(c) is added to read:
(c) Regardless of whether it is the agency having jurisdiction with regard to a particular application subject to this chapter, the agency of natural resources shall develop guidelines that establish its information needs and its policies and practices in evaluating applications that are submitted to it or to another agency having jurisdiction under this chapter. These guidelines shall address the agency’s information needs, policies, and practices at least with regard to electricity generating operations that are classified as small scale hydropower (uses generating less than 5 MW), micro-hydro (uses generating less than 100 kW), and pico-hydro (uses generating less than 5kW).
* * * Act 250 * * *
Sec. 16. 10 V.S.A. § 6025(b) is amended to read:
(b) The land use panel may adopt substantive rules, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 25 of Title 3, that interpret and carry out the provisions of this chapter that pertain to land use regulated under section 6086 of this title. These rules shall include provisions that establish criteria under which applications for permits under this chapter may be classified in terms of complexity and significance of impact under the standards of subsection 6086(a) of this chapter. In accordance with that classification the rules may:
for simplified or less stringent procedures than are otherwise required under
sections 6083, 6084, and 6085 of this chapter;
for the filing of notices instead of applications for the permits that would
otherwise be required under section 6081 of this chapter;
(3) provide a procedure by which a district commission may authorize a district coordinator to issue a permit that the district commission has determined under land use panel rules is a minor application with no undue adverse impact;
(4) provide for presumptive weight or reduced review under this chapter, or both, and allow higher density siting for homes which meet standards established in the Vermont builds greener program–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) for homes, and similar programs that encourage the use of low embodied energy in construction materials, planned neighborhood developments that allow for reduced use of fuel for transportation, and increased use of renewable technologies.
* * * Clean Energy Development Fund * * *
Sec. 17. 10 V.S.A. § 6523(d) and (e) are amended to read:
(d) Expenditures authorized.
(1) This fund shall be administered by the department of public service, with the advice of the clean energy coordinating council established under 30 V.S.A. § 1 to facilitate the development and implementation of clean energy resources, and may provide funding in the form of grants, loan guarantees, or low-interest loans for eligible activities.
(A) The program shall include two distinct grant programs: a “small renewable energy program” that provides upfront cash rebates on a first-come, first-served basis to assist homeowners in buying down the capital cost of smaller, residential-sized solar, hydro, and wind systems; and a “large onsite renewable energy program” to provide grants on a competitive basis to support renewable projects of greater than 20 kW in capacity, in order to expand the production and use of distributed renewable technologies in multi-family housing developments, community-wide energy projects, and for the commercial and industrial sectors. The small renewable energy program shall publicize its advantages for use in new home construction and multi-family, low income housing, and program grant sizes shall not exceed 40 percent of the project costs. The large onsite renewable energy program shall provide grants that do not exceed 25 percent of project costs.
(B) The program shall include a farm renewable energy program, in order to provide grants or low interest loans to agricultural producers, rural small businesses, and rural cooperatives for the installation and evaluation of on-farm or community facilities to convert animal manure and other organic substrates into a useful form of energy. As part of this program, there shall be established a methane digester revolving loan program to help supplement the funds needed for farms to install methane digesters.
* * *
(4) Projects for funding shall not exceed 100 kW capacity in size, per project, but may include the following:
(A) projects that will sell power in commercial quantities;
(B) among those projects that will sell power in commercial quantities, funding priority will be given to those projects that commit to sell power to Vermont utilities on favorable terms;
(C) projects to benefit publicly owned or leased buildings;
(D) renewable energy projects on farms, which may include any or all costs incurred to upgrade to a three-phase line to serve a system on a farm;
(E) small scale renewable energy in Vermont residences and businesses;
(F) pilot projects and public-private partnership projects under the agricultural economic development special account established under 6 V.S.A. § 4710(g) to harvest biomass, convert biomass to energy, or produce liquid biofuel and agricultural byproducts, which shall include: biodiesel, biolubricants, and livestock feed from oil-seed crops, algae, waste vegetable oil, and cellulosic ethanol;
December 31, 2008 only, super-efficient buildings;
(H) effective projects that are not likely to be established in the absence of funding under the program;
(I) biogas digesters, micro-hydro facilities, solar electric systems, commercial solar water heating systems, pellet systems, combined heat and power projects, and wind projects;
(J) research, development, and demonstration of model private sector projects that develop biofuel feedstocks with a high energy return, such as algae and grasses;
(K) grants to match available federal funds or otherwise:
(i) to fund research, development, and demonstration projects in biomass, biofuels, hydropower, solar, and other technologies;
(ii) to include the evaluation and development of technologies that can be effective at the Vermont scale, including small-scale local and distributed power opportunities, such as economically-viable farm methane technology applications, pursuant to which tests are conducted to optimize the capabilities of small-scale, modular-anaerobic digester technology, systems that supplement manure with forage crops and wastes, and central digesters; and
(iii) to match resources that support incubator systems and entrepreneurial training to help new ideas and inventions make the transition into viable business models.
* * *
(e) Management of fund.
(1)(A) There is created the clean energy development fund advisory committee, which shall consist of the commissioner of public service, or a designee, and the chairs of the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, or their designees.
(B) There is created the clean energy development fund investment committee, which shall consist of seven persons appointed by the clean energy development fund advisory committee.
(2) The commissioner of public service, in consultation with the clean energy coordinating council established under 30 V.S.A. § 1, shall:
(A) by no later than October 30, 2006:
(i) develop a five year strategic plan and an annual program plan, both of which shall be developed with input from a public stakeholder process;
(ii) develop an annual operating budget;
(iii) develop proposed program designs to facilitate clean energy market and project development (including use of financial assistance, investments, competitive solicitations, technical assistance, and other incentive programs and strategies); and
(iv) submit the plans, budget, and program designs to the clean energy development fund advisory committee for review and to the clean energy development fund investment committee for approval;
or amend rules
by no later than January 1, 2007 to carry out the
program approved under this subdivision;
(C) explore pursuing joint investments in clean energy projects with the Vermont economic development authority (VEDA) and other state funds and private investors to increase the effectiveness of the clean energy development fund;
jointly with the members of the clean energy development fund investment
committee, make decisions with respect to specific grants and investments,
after the plans, budget, and program designs have been approved by the clean
energy development fund investment committee.
This subdivision (D) shall be
repealed upon the effective date of rules adopted under subdivision (2)(B) of
this subsection .
(3) During fiscal years after FY 2006, up to five percent of amounts appropriated to the public service department from the fund may be used for administrative costs related to the clean energy development fund and after FY 2007, another five percent of amounts appropriated to the public service department from the fund not to exceed $300,000.00 in any fiscal year shall be transferred to the secretary of the agency of agriculture, food, and markets for agricultural and farm-based energy project development activities.
* * * Agency of Transportation * * *
Sec. 18. 19 V.S.A. § 10b(a) is amended to read:
(a) The agency shall be the responsible agency of the state for the development of transportation policy. It shall develop a mission statement to reflect state transportation policy encompassing all modes of transportation, developing and adhering to performance standards which address the need for transportation projects that will improve the state's economic infrastructure, as well as the use of resources in efficient, coordinated, cost effective, and environmentally sound ways. The overall scoping of agency projects shall include a cost-benefit analysis weighing conservation factors, efficiency opportunities, and congestion mitigation strategies. Transportation development shall be managed and executed toward specific performance standards to reduce vehicular miles traveled and toward increasing public transportation ridership. The agency shall coordinate education efforts with those of the clean energy coordinating council established under 30 V.S.A. § 1 and those of local and regional planning entities to address conservation and efficiency opportunities and practices in local and regional transportation, and to support employer or local or regional government-led conservation, efficiency, rideshare, and bicycle programs and other innovative transportation advances, especially employer-based incentives.
Sec. 19. 19 V.S.A. § 10e is amended to read:
§ 10e. STATEMENT OF POLICY; RAILROADS
(a) The general assembly recognizes that rail service, both passenger and freight, is an integral part of the state's transportation network. Accordingly, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the state of Vermont:
(1) to provide opportunities for enhanced and expanded rail passenger services by cooperating with the federal government, other states, and providers of those services, with priority to be given to the services likely to complement Vermont's economic development efforts and meet the needs of the traveling public as those needs increase;
(2) to preserve and modernize for continued, enhanced, and expanded freight railroad service those railroad lines, both within the state of Vermont and extending into adjoining states, which directly affect the economy of the state or provide connections to other railroad lines which directly affect the economy of the state;
(3) in those cases where continuation of freight railroad service is not economically feasible under present conditions, to preserve established railroad rights-of-way for future reactivation of railroad service, trail corridors, and other public purposes not inconsistent with future reactivation of railroad service; and
(4) to seek federal aid for rail projects that implement this section's policy goals.
(b) To complement the regular maintenance efforts of the lessee/operators of state-owned railroads, taking into account each line's long-term importance to the state's transportation network, economic development, the resources available to the lessee/operator and relevant provisions of leases and other agreements, the agency may develop programs to assist in major rehabilitation or replacement of obsolete bridges, structures, rails, and other fixtures, and programs to make rail services more available for transporting wood fuel resources and other wood products.
* * *
Sec. 20. 19 V.S.A. § 2310 is amended to read:
§ 2310. PAVEMENT OF HIGHWAY SHOULDERS
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10c of this title, it is the policy of the state to provide paved shoulders on major state highways with the intent to develop an integrated bicycle route system and to make it easier and safer for pedestrian traffic. This shall not apply to the interstate highway and certain other limited access highways.
Any construction, or reconstruction, including upgrading and resurfacing
projects on these highways, shall include paved shoulders unless the
agency deems certain sections to be
cost prohibitive highly cost‑prohibitive.
No more than one percent of the shoulders on these highways may be categorized
as sections where these upgrades are deemed highly cost‑prohibitive.
* * * Energy Standards for Buildings * * *
Sec. 21. 21 V.S.A. § 266(c) is amended to read:
(c) Revision and interpretation of energy standards. On or about January 1, 1999, and at least every three years thereafter, the commissioner of public service shall amend and update the RBES, by means of administrative rules adopted in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25. The department of public service shall provide technical assistance and expert advice to the commissioner in the interpretation of the RBES and in the formulation of specific proposals for amending the RBES. At least a year prior to final adoption of each required revision of the RBES, the department of public service shall convene an advisory committee to include one or more mortgage lenders, builders, building designers, utility representatives, and other persons with experience and expertise, such as consumer advocates and energy conservation experts. The advisory committee may provide the commissioner with additional recommendations for revision of the RBES.
* * *
(7) By no later than July 1, 2010, the commissioner of public service, with the advice of an advisory committee established under this subsection, shall amend the RBES to a form that would meet entry level requirements established under the energy star rating system. These amendments shall include requirements that the standards will increase incrementally over the succeeding five years in the level of efficiency required, as measured by the home energy rating score, while balancing affordability for working Vermonters. The advisory committee shall make recommendations with regard to the advisability of establishing within five years a significantly enhanced construction standard for efficiency, such as that described in Vermont builds green–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED), which address issues such as home size, renewable energy sources, compact development, and proximity to services; in which points are awarded for factors such as minimizing energy in transporting materials, use of local resources, and embodied energy; and which incorporate a comprehensive review of ways to foster structures and living patterns that use less energy.
Sec. 22. 21 V.S.A. § 268(c)(4) is added to read:
(4) An advisory committee convened under this subsection shall make recommendations with regard to the advisability of establishing within five years a significantly enhanced CBES standard, such as that described in Vermont builds green–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED), which address issues such as building size, renewable energy sources, compact development, and proximity to services; in which points are awarded for factors such as minimizing energy in transporting materials, use of local resources, and embodied energy; and which incorporate a comprehensive review of ways to foster structures and living patterns that use less energy.
* * * Zoning * * *
Sec. 23. 24 V.S.A. § 4414 is amended to read:
§ 4414. ZONING; PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF REGULATIONS
Any of the following types of regulations may be adopted by a municipality in its bylaws in conformance with the plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title.
* * *
(14) Green building incentives. A municipality may encourage the use of low embodied energy in construction materials, planned neighborhood developments that allow for reduced use of fuel for transportation, and increased use of renewable technology by providing for reduced permit review or increased density, or both, for:
(A) homes that meet standards established in the Vermont builds greener program–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) for homes, or similar programs;
(B) commercial or industrial buildings that meet significantly advanced construction standards for efficiency, as described in LEED, or other applicable advanced construction efficiency standards that address issues such as building size, use of renewable energy sources, compact development patterns, proximity to services, minimizing energy in transporting materials, use of local resources, use of embodied energy, and the use of comprehensive analytical tools that will result in structures and usage patterns that require less energy.
* * * Department of Public Service * * *
Sec. 24. 30 V.S.A. § 1 is amended to read:
§ 1. COMPOSITION OF DEPARTMENT
(a) The department of public service shall consist of the commissioner of public service, a director for regulated utility planning, a director for public advocacy, a director for energy efficiency, a state energy office, and such other persons as the commissioner considers necessary to conduct the business of the department.
* * *
(d) The state energy office shall be the lead agency and shall coordinate activities by other state agencies in implementing the Vermont clean energy program, pursuant to which all involved state agencies shall actively promote and support renewable energy development, market Vermont as a center for innovative renewable energy businesses, and invest in Vermont-appropriate renewable energy research and development.
(1) The state energy office shall be advised by a clean energy coordinating council, which shall consist of the following: the director for energy efficiency; an air expert representing the agency of natural resources and appointed by the secretary of natural resources; a representative of the agency of commerce, appointed by the agency secretary; an energy expert appointed by the speaker of the house; an energy expert appointed by the committee on committees; the chair of the natural resources board, or a designee; a manufacturer of renewable energy equipment appointed by the governor; a representative of Vermont environmental groups appointed by the governor; a representative of the state’s universities appointed by the governor; a representative of the Vermont law school appointed by the dean; and a representative of a citizens’ group that is involved in clean energy development, appointed by the governor.
(2) The clean energy coordinating council shall advise the energy office regarding the design, budgets, objectives, goals, administration, and evaluation of the state’s overall clean energy program, which shall include the ways that the state’s regulators and the various state entities that provide funding and economic incentives can work together and in support of local efforts on matters that relate to the wise use of forests, biomass, hydropower, wind, and solar power, the development of biofuels and other renewable sources of energy, and the cost-effective use of efficiency measures. The office of the governor and state agencies working on multi-state and regional efforts to advance clean energy development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions shall inform the council about these efforts and shall consider input from the council for those efforts.
(3) The clean energy coordinating council shall assist moderate- and small-scale farm, forest, business, and household-scale systems through interagency review processes.
(4) The clean energy coordinating council shall endeavor to attract philanthropic, federal, state, and private sector investment in the Vermont renewable energy sector.
(5) The state energy office, with the advice of the clean energy coordinating council and in conjunction with involved state entities, shall develop short-term and long-term goals and targets for renewable energy development in each of the different energy source sectors, and shall review and report on progress, annually, in conjunction with each involved state entity, which reports shall be combined into an annual assessment of the overall state effort in clean energy development.
(6) The clean energy coordinating council shall establish a working group to evaluate alternative scenarios for carbon taxation as well as other possible funding mechanisms to advance the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. In this process, the working group shall consider economic, environmental, health, and social costs, and the risks and benefits of alternative strategies, including least-cost options, and shall solicit and consider public comment relating to statutory, administrative, or policy recommendations.
(A) In developing its own recommendations, the group shall consider Oregon’s business energy tax credit, which covers investments in energy conservation, recycling, renewable energy systems, and
less-polluting transportation fuels. The recommendations should be developed in anticipation that any business may qualify, including manufacturing plants, stores, offices, apartment buildings, farms, and transportation services. Consideration shall be given to the following:
(i) Tax credits that cover loan fees and permit costs for authorized projects, as well as costs directly related to net-metered projects, including equipment costs, engineering and design fees, materials, supplies and installation costs.
(ii) A pass-through option, in which a project owner chooses to transfer a tax credit to a pass-through partner in return for a lump-sum cash payment covering the net present value of the tax credit upon completion of the project. The partner who is the transferee of the tax credits shall be eligible to use the credits, in addition to other credits for which the partner may be eligible.
(iii) Tax credits that cover projects that use solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, or fuel cells that use renewable fuels, to produce energy, displace energy, or reclaim energy from waste; possibly all conditioned upon the renewable resource project or projects replacing at least 10 percent of the electricity, gas, or oil previously used or that would be used in the absence of the project or projects in question.
(iv) Tax credits for general retrofit projects, lighting retrofit projects, and weatherization projects for rental property, as well as for new construction projects, including energy efficiency and lighting. Within this category, consideration shall be given to: requiring that retrofit projects be at least 10 percent more energy efficient than the existing installation; requiring lighting retrofits be at least 25 percent more efficient than the existing lighting; requiring, with regard to new buildings, that all measures reduce energy use by at least 10 percent compared to similar buildings that meet the minimum standards established in the state’s residential building energy standards (RBES) and the state’s commercial building energy standards (CBES).
(v) Tax credits for sustainable, high performance buildings.
(B) Based upon this work, the council shall recommend to the governor and general assembly statutory and administrative goals, changes, policy measures and other recommendations to be carried out by state and local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations or residents, to advance the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, including appropriate recommendations with regard to the establishment of a platform for a fair and equitable carbon tax structure in the state.
(7) The clean energy coordinating council shall develop an integrated and coordinated plan to create a favorable, clear, and consistent regulatory environment for farm methane development, which shall be based upon a review of state policies and regulations affecting farm methane projects, including utility interconnection requirements and fees, and the process for obtaining certificates of public good under section 248 of this title. The council shall disseminate information on this subject through existing systems by the use of demonstrations, open houses, press releases, and educational programs.
(8) The clean energy coordinating council shall collaborate with the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the private sector to develop an action plan for the development of significant biofuel capacity from high value feedstock by 2017.
(A) As part of this process, the council shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the house committee on ways and means, and the senate committee on finance, by no later than January 15, 2009, with recommendations for funding sources to finance a program pursuant to which retail sellers of biodiesel blend would be entitled to a rebate of $0.05 for each gallon of biodiesel blend sold at retail in Vermont and delivered in Vermont during the reporting period.
(B) As used in this subdivision:
(i) “Biodiesel blend” means a blend of biodiesel fuel and number two home heating oil that contains at least ten percent biodiesel fuel by volume.
(ii) “Biodiesel fuel” means a renewable, biodegradable, mono alkyl ester combustible liquid fuel derived from vegetable oil or animal fat which meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specification D6751‑02 for Biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuel.
(9) The clean energy coordinating council shall collaborate with the agency of natural resources and the private sector to determine the stack emissions profiles for the range of wood fuels available for use in the state, including wood chips with bark on and bark off, wood and agricultural pellets, clean construction and demolition residues, and other segregated waste stream materials, and shall develop or procure a “best available controls” catalogue for the range of expected wood energy applications, especially those of a small scale.
(10) The state energy office and the clean energy coordinating council shall assemble a collaborative education team, which shall include state officials and leading businesses in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation to develop and implement a statewide public education campaign to advance conservation. As part of this effort:
(A) The collaborative education team shall engage a Vermont-based public relations firm to create public service and educational announcements aimed at strongly promoting action on conservation and explaining the benefits of conservation.
(B) The team shall establish a media-design competition for Vermont high schools, pursuant to which students compete in developing public service announcements and video clips promoting conservation, with winning teams receiving college scholarship funds.
(C) The public education campaign shall:
(i) celebrate historic Vermont values and build upon the idea of energy conservation as constituting as one of the rational uses of resources, an economic concept;
(ii) emphasize the fact that conservation decisions are personal and provide practical ways that households can identify strategies, set goals, and measure the value of their choices;
(iii) encourage consumer responsibility, emphasize consumer choice, and educate Vermonters about conservation and efficiency alternatives and the best ways to save energy over time;
(iv) highlight and reward, if possible, the leadership of communities and grassroots efforts throughout the state;
(v) celebrate community successes that range from shutting down idling school buses to townwide campaigns to replace light bulbs or expand purchasing of local products and services;
(vi) be developed in coordination with education efforts of the agency of transportation so as to address conservation and efficiency opportunities and practices in local and regional transportation;
(vii) provide information on electric, thermal, and transportation efficiencies; educate with regard to green building, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and biofuels opportunities in the state; and promote and support community energy planning initiatives;
(viii) promote understanding of the merits and positive environmental impacts gained through the use of renewable energy options, provide information on best practices and products, address common misconceptions, and inspire Vermonters with regard to the opportunities for local and household energy solutions;
(ix) construct and market the Vermont renewable energy brand in a manner that shows the compelling direct and personal economic and environmental benefits for individual consumers, businesses, institutions, the government, and all other stakeholders.
(11) The state energy office and the clean energy coordinating council in conjunction with the collaborative education team shall:
(A) develop elementary, middle, and high school science curricula related to renewable energy and integrate the new curricula within the next three years;
(B) develop renewable energy teacher training and supplemental educational materials to use in training teachers with regard to renewable energy;
(C) encourage and assist local renewable energy businesses, universities, colleges, and technical schools in:
(i) developing course offerings and degree programs, job training and retraining, including possibly a job training and retraining center at the Vermont technical college or other appropriate technical education center, that include project feasibility analysis and that focus upon energy-specific design, manufacturing, and installation skills, and upon training service technicians and engineers;
(ii) expanding research and development efforts:
(I) toward the commercialization of biofuels, biomass, cellulosic resources, wind, solar, hydropower, and other renewable technology opportunities;
(II) to include the evaluation and development of technologies that can be effective at the Vermont scale, including small-scale local and distributed power opportunities, such as economically viable farm methane technology applications, pursuant to which tests are conducted to optimize the capabilities of small-scale, modular-anaerobic digester technology, systems that supplement manure with forage crops and wastes, and central digesters;
(III) in a manner whereby funding for research and development are matched with resources that support incubator systems and entrepreneurial training to help new ideas and inventions make the transition into viable business models;
(D) work in collaboration with the North American board of certified energy practitioners, the building performance institute, and other credentialing bodies, to ensure that all Vermont educational programs have the highest quality credentialing and certification so that Vermont programs become a magnet, drawing students from other states, as well;
(E) work in collaboration with the workforce development council to conduct modeling of the energy sector workforce and opportunities, and to lead in the development of workforce education and training with regard to
on-farm and other distributed forms of energy production, while assuring that proper emphasis is given to environmental science as well as to technical education.
(12) The clean energy coordinating council shall establish educational programs for lenders with respect to energy efficiency and sustainability factors, and regarding energy star and leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) programs, and shall work with lending institutions to assure optimal industry participation in these programs.
Sec. 25. 30 V.S.A. § 202e is added to read:
§ 202e. STATE BIOMASS PLAN
(a) The agency of agriculture, food and markets agency of natural resources, and department of public service jointly shall prepare a comprehensive state biomass plan, covering at least a 20-year period. The plan shall seek to implement the state energy policy set forth in section 202a of this title. The plan shall include:
(1) an inventory of biomass quantity, quality, and location;
(2) an evaluation of viable technologies for the state;
(3) a determination of the estimated net energy contribution and highest value for biomass resources, giving due consideration to biomass access, regulatory requirements, and water quality considerations and regulations;
(4) proposed siting criteria for wood-fired electricity generating facilities that give due regard to the existence of available, properly zoned property, and its location relative to the strategic needs of the transmission and distribution grid and relative to appropriate transportation infrastructure;
(5) strategies to assure that, during the planning stages for homes, businesses, and state buildings, due consideration is given to the potential for distributed heat and for the use of combined heat and power (CHP);
(6) strategies to identify a developer for a regional wood-fired electric plant, together with financial support or guarantees, tax credits, site plan development assistance, and regulatory compliance assistance;
(7) strategies to encourage needed biomass market development by creating reasonable rail transportation options for wood fuel, and through the appropriate use of biomass by state government, the state’s educational institutions, and other major state-funded institutions, as well as by local governments and school districts;
(8) strategies to divert and use suitable biomass materials from municipal waste streams;
(9) a wood harvest and ecosystem monitoring program, which shall evaluate, on an annual basis, the impacts, if any, of fuel wood harvesting on forest ecosystems, forest inventory and productivity, and carbon sequestration.
(b) In developing or updating the plan's recommendations, the agencies and the department of public service shall seek public comment by holding public hearings in at least five different geographic regions of the state on at least three different dates, and by providing notice through publication once a week and at least seven days apart for two or more successive weeks in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the regions where the hearings will be held, and by delivering notices to all licensed commercial radio and television stations with transmitting facilities within the state, plus Vermont Public Radio and Vermont Public Television.
(c) The agency of agriculture, food and markets, agency of natural resources and department of public service jointly shall adopt a state biomass plan by no later than January 1, 2009. Upon adoption of the plan, analytical portions of the plan may be updated annually. The plan's implementation recommendations shall be updated in the same manner no less frequently than every five years. These recommendations shall be updated prior to the expiration of five years if the general assembly passes a joint resolution making a request to that effect.
* * * Public Service Board * * *
Sec. 26. 30 V.S.A. § 209(b) and (e) are amended to read:
(b) The provisions of section 218 of this title notwithstanding, the public service board shall, under sections 803-804 of Title 3, adopt rules applicable to companies subject to this chapter which:
* * *
or prescribe the grounds upon which the companies may disconnect or refuse to
reconnect service to customers;
(3) Regulate and prescribe reasonable procedures used by companies in disconnecting or reconnecting services and billing customers in regard thereto; and
(4) Encourage the in-state deployment of farm biogas energy systems by authorizing contributions in aid of construction for electric service extensions to farms, as necessary to ensure the economic viability of farm biogas systems that utilize on-farm manure as the primary input, with the costs of those line extensions included in rates.
(e) The board shall:
* * *
(15) Assure that incandescent light bulbs in use in the state are replaced with compact fluorescent light bulbs as soon as possible, and to the maximum extent appropriate, with a goal of universal residential deployment.
Sec. 27. 30 V.S.A. § 209(h)–(j) are added to read:
(h) There is established an annual public purpose expenditure standard for Vermont retail electricity providers to fund new clean energy market transformation efforts and new renewable energy resources. The public purpose expenditure standard shall be funded by the public purpose charge described in this subsection.
(1) Each Vermont retail electricity provider shall collect a public purpose charge from all of the electricity consumers located within its service area until January 1, 2015. The public purpose charge shall be equal to one percent of the total revenues collected by the provider from its electricity consumers for electricity services, distribution, ancillary services, metering and billing, transition charges and other types of costs included in electric rates on July 1, 2007.
(2) The public service board shall establish rules implementing the provisions of this section relating to retail electricity providers.
(3) The board shall direct the manner in which public purpose charges are collected and spent by a retail electricity provider and may require a provider to expend funds through competitive bids or other means. The board also may direct that funds collected by a retail electricity provider through public purpose charges be paid to the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund for investment in the public purposes described in this subsection. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, at least 80 percent of the funds allocated shall be spent within the service area of the electricity provider that collected the funds.
(i) The board shall establish a loading order that establishes, in order, the state’s preferences in the use of energy resources to meet the state’s needs. Within that loading order, cost-effective energy efficiency and demand response activities shall be the resources of first resort.
* * * Net Metering * * *
Sec. 28. 30 V.S.A. § 219a is amended to read:
§ 219a. SELF-GENERATION AND NET METERING
(a) As used in this section:
* * *
(3) "Net metering system" means a facility for generation of electricity that:
of no more than
15 500 kilowatts (AC) capacity, or is a farm
system a lower maximum capacity set by the board, if the facility is located
within the service area of a utility with regard to which the board has
established a lower maximum capacity;
(B) operates in parallel with facilities of the electric distribution system;
(C) is intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer's own electricity requirements;
(D) is located on the customer's premises; and
(E) employs a renewable energy source as defined in subdivision 8002(2) of this title.
system" means a facility of no more than
150 500 kilowatts
(AC) output capacity, or a lower maximum capacity set by the board, if the
facility is located within the service area of a utility with regard to which
the board has established a lower maximum capacity, and except as provided
in subdivision (k)(5) of this section, that generates electric energy on a farm
operated by a person principally engaged in the business of farming, as that
term is defined in Regulation 1.175-3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986,
from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts, or wastes,
or other renewable sources as defined in subdivision (3)(E) of this subsection,
intended to offset the meters designated under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this
section on the farm or has entered into a contract as specified in subsection (k)
of this section.
* * *
(h)(1) An electric company:
make net metering available to any customer using a net metering system or farm
system on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative output capacity
of net metering systems equals
1.0 5.0 percent of the
distribution company's peak demand during 1996; or the peak demand during the
most recent full calendar year, whichever is greater. The board may raise the 1.0
5.0 percent cap to no more than 10.0 percent, upon determining that
to do so is in the public interest. In determining whether to raise the
cap, the board shall consider the following:
* * *
(2) All such requirements shall be pursuant to and governed by a tariff approved by the board and any applicable board rule, which tariffs and rules shall be designed in a manner reasonably likely to facilitate net metering.
* * *
the provisions of this section that define a net metering system as being of no
15 500 kilowatts (AC) capacity, the board may allow net
metering for up to ten systems per year for customers that produce more than 15
500 kilowatts (AC) capacity , but do not produce more than 150
kilowatts of power and are not farm systems.
(k) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (f) and (g) of this section, an electric company may contract to purchase all or a portion of the output products from a farm system, provided:
* * *
output capacity of a system may exceed
150 500 kilowatts,
(A) the contract assigns the amount of power to be net metered;
net metered amount does not exceed
150 500 kilowatts; and
(C) only the amount assigned to net metering is assessed to the cap provided in subdivision (h)(1)(A) of this section.
* * * Least-Cost Planning * * *
Sec. 29. 30 V.S.A. § 218c(a) is amended to read:
(a)(1) A "least cost integrated plan" for a regulated electric or gas utility is a plan for meeting the public's need for energy services, after safety concerns are addressed, at the lowest present value life cycle cost, including environmental and economic costs, through a strategy combining investments and expenditures on energy supply, transmission and distribution capacity, transmission and distribution efficiency, and comprehensive energy efficiency programs. Economic costs shall be determined with due regard to the information developed under the provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 580, establishing a greenhouse gas registry, to the state’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals, and to the value of the financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions from various power sources. Environmental costs shall incorporate a “greenhouse gas adder,” which shall be an additional dollar amount per ton of carbon dioxide, or other greenhouse gas, generated, as determined by the public service board from time to time.
* * *
* * * Green Mountain Energy Incentives * * *
Sec. 30. 30 V.S.A. § 235 is added to read:
§ 235. GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY INCENTIVE PROGRAM
(a) The public service board shall establish a green mountain energy incentive program, pursuant to which it may authorize a Vermont retail electricity provider to file and place into effect tariff schedules establishing rates or charges for renewable energy generation facilities provided to individual property owners or customers. Application of the schedule shall be subject to agreement between the public utility and the property owner or customer receiving service at the time the renewable energy generation facilities or payments are initially provided.
(b) A tariff schedule under the green mountain energy incentive program established under this section may include provisions for the payment of the rates or charges over a period of time and for the application of the payment obligation to successive property owners or customers at the premises where the renewable energy generation facilities were installed or with respect to which the payments were made.
(c) A Vermont retail electricity provider shall record a notice of any payment obligation required of a property owner or customer under this section in the records maintained by the county clerk. The board may prescribe by rule other methods by which the electricity provider shall notify property owners or customers of any such payment obligation.
(d) A Vermont retail electricity provider may use moneys obtained through a rate established under 30 V.S.A. § 209(h) to provide renewable energy generation facilities to property owners or customers under this section. A provider may not charge interest to a property owner or customer for facilities provided under this section.
* * * Section 248 Review * * *
Sec. 31. 30 V.S.A. § 248(b) is amended to read:
(b) Before the public service board issues a certificate of public good as required under subsection (a) of this section, it shall find that the purchase, investment or construction:
* * *
respect to a waste to energy facility, is included in a solid waste management
plan adopted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2202a, which is consistent with the state
solid waste management plan;
(10) except as to a natural gas facility that is not part of or incidental to an electric generating facility, can be served economically by existing or planned transmission facilities without undue adverse effect on Vermont utilities or customers; and
(11) with respect to long-term, base load power commitments, are at least as clean as a natural gas-fired plant using combined cycle turbine technology.
* * * SPEED Program * * *
Sec. 32. 30 V.S.A. § 8005 is amended to read:
§ 8005. SUSTAINABLY PRICED ENERGY ENTERPRISE
DEVELOPMENT (SPEED) PROGRAM
* * *
(b) The SPEED program shall be established, by rule, order, or contract, by the public service board by January 1, 2007. As part of the SPEED program, the public service board may:
* * *
(2) allow the developer of a facility that is one megawatt or less, and is a qualifying SPEED resource or a non-qualifying SPEED resource, to sell that power under a long term contract that is established at a specified price determined by the board to be adequate to cover the cost of the project, produce a reasonable rate of return to the generation owner, and include an adder for the value of distributed generation and lost economies of scale. For purposes of this section, a long-term contract should be 15 years or greater unless the board finds good cause for a shorter term;
Vermont's retail electricity providers to secure long-term contracts
renewable energy that are anticipated to be below the
long-term market price, over the lives of the projects, at
stable prices, for qualifying SPEED resources. The board shall create a
standard contract price for qualifying SPEED resources over 1 MW of capacity. The
price paid for renewable generation under the standard offer program shall be
cost-based and further ensure a reasonable rate of return to the generation
owner. The board may create a competitive bid process through
which to select a portion of those contracts;
* * *
(g)(1) In addition to the SPEED resource requirements, Vermont’s retail electricity providers, by not later than July 1, 2012, shall file with the board one or more long-term power purchase contracts from renewable energy resource projects specified under this subsection at a price that is not more than the total of the comparable wholesale market price for generation plus five and one-half cents per kilowatt hour. These contracts shall be comprised of not less than a total, apportioned among each Vermont electricity provider company, of two hundred megawatts; and shall be entered into according to a schedule that meets benchmarks of no less than an additional 50 megawatts per year, by the end of calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010. The cost of these contracts and the administrative costs for the procurement of these contracts directly incurred shall be eligible for inclusion in rates, provided that these contracts are for a period of time sufficient to provide financing for these projects, but not less than ten years and are for projects which began operation on or after July 1, 2007. For purposes of this subsection, the board’s determination of the comparable wholesale market price for generation shall be based upon a reasonable estimate.
(2) “Renewable energy resources specified by this subsection” means energy derived from solar power; wind power; a fuel cell; methane gas from landfills and farm-based anaerobic digester technology; low emission advanced renewable energy conversion technologies; a run-of-the-river hydropower facility provided such facility has a generating capacity of not more than five megawatts, does not cause an appreciable change in the river flow, and began operation after the effective date of this subsection; or a biomass facility, including a biomass gasification plant that utilizes land clearing debris, tree stumps or other biomass that regenerates or the use of which will not result in a depletion of resources, provided that this biomass facility begins operating on or after July 1, 2007, and the biomass is cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner.
(3) The board, by rule or order, shall establish a process by which a retail provider may apply to the board for an exemption from the requirements established by this subsection, on the basis that the provider procures more than 50 percent of its load from renewable sources of energy.
(h) All prudently incurred costs associated with compliance with this section shall be recoverable in the rates of a Vermont retail electricity provider company, including interconnection costs, costs associated with using physical or financial assets to integrate, firm or shape renewable energy sources on a firm annual basis to meet retail electricity needs and other costs associated with transmission and delivery of qualifying electricity to consumers.
(i) The department of public service and the agency of natural resources shall advise potential developers of renewable energy resources, on request, regarding which projects may prove the most beneficial to the state, and then shall provide assistance in the navigation of the permitting processes.
(j) It is a goal of the state of Vermont, by 2015, to have at least eight percent of the state’s retail electric load to be met by small-scale renewable energy projects with a generating capacity of 20 megawatts, or less.
* * * State Treasurer * * *
Sec. 33. 32 V.S.A. § 433(d) is added to read:
(d) In a manner consistent with the guidelines developed under this section, the treasurer may invest in projects that are eligible under the clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523 and in other appropriate mechanisms in order to promote investment in innovative and profitable clean technology businesses and industries in the state. The treasurer shall give particular attention to investments that would: generate attractive returns both in the short term and long term; leverage significant and positive interest in the private sector venture capital markets; create jobs and economic growth in clean energy and technology industries in Vermont; and promote greater energy independence and environmental protection for the state.
* * * Appraised Value of Energy Measures * * *
Sec. 34. 32 V.S.A. § 3481 is amended to read:
§ 3481. DEFINITIONS
The following definitions shall apply in this Part and chapter 101 of this title, pertaining to the listing of property for taxation:
value" shall mean
(A) with respect to property enrolled in a use value appraisal program, the use value appraisal as defined in subdivision 3752(12) of this title, multiplied by the common level of appraisal, and with respect to all other property, the estimated fair market value. The estimated fair market value of a property is the price which the property will bring in the market when offered for sale and purchased by another, taking into consideration all the elements of the availability of the property, its use both potential and prospective, any functional deficiencies, and all other elements such as age and condition which combine to give property a market value. Those elements shall include a consideration of a decrease in value in nonrental residential property due to a housing subsidy covenant as defined in section 610 of Title 27, or the effect of any state or local law or regulation affecting the use of land, including but not limited to chapter 151 of Title 10 or any land capability plan established in furtherance or implementation thereof, rules adopted by the state board of health and any local or regional zoning ordinances or development plans. In determining estimated fair market value, the sale price of the property in question is one element to consider, but is not solely determinative.
(B) For residential rental property that is subject to a housing subsidy covenant or other legal restriction, imposed by a governmental,
quasi-governmental, or public purpose entity, on rents that may be charged, fair market value shall be determined by an income approach using the following elements:
rents with utility allowance adjustments for the geographic area in which the
property is located as determined by the federal office of Housing and Urban
Development or in the case of properties authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 1437, 12
U.S.C. § 1701q, 42 U.S.C. § 1485, 12 U.S.C. § 1715z-1, 42 U.S.C. § 1437f, and
24 CFR Part 882 Subpart D and E, the higher of contract rents (meaning the
amount of federal rental assistance plus any tenant contribution) and HUD
market rents; (B)(ii) actual
expenses incurred with respect to the property which shall be provided by the
property owner in a format acceptable to the commissioner and certified by an
independent third party, such as a certified public accounting firm or public
or quasi-public funding agency; (C)(iii) a
vacancy rate that is 50 percent of the market vacancy rate as determined by the
United States Census Bureau with local review by the Vermont housing finance
agency; and (D)(iv) a
capitalization rate that is typical for the geographic area determined and
published annually prior to April 1 by the division of property valuation and
review after consultation with the Vermont housing finance agency.
(C) "Appraisal value" shall not include the value of renewable energy and energy efficiency components in or on a building. "Value of renewable energy and energy efficiency components" means the original cost of, and installation charges for, any or all of the following:
(i) Replacement of existing windows with energy efficient windows.
(ii) Replacement of energy inefficient hot water heaters with energy efficient heaters.
(iii) Replacement or addition of insulation and curtains or shades with high insulating characteristics.
(iv) Sealing of basements for purposes of energy efficiency.
(v) Addition of storm windows and storm doors.
(vi) Placement of solar photovoltaic systems and solar water and space heating systems and any related equipment.
(vii) Erection of wind turbines and related equipment;
(ix) Installation of geothermal space and water heating systems;
(x) Installation of hydropower equipment;
(xi) Installation of fuel cells that rely on renewable fuels;
(xii) Replacement of inefficient energy heating systems with efficient systems.
* * * Residential Tax Credit * * *
Sec. 35. 32 V.S.A. § 5930z is added to read:
§ 5930z. CREDIT FOR EFFICIENT RESIDENTIAL ENERGY SYSTEMS
A taxpayer of this state shall be eligible for a nonrefundable credit against the personal income tax imposed under this chapter in the amount of 10 percent of any amount paid by the taxpayer during the taxable year for any of the following items which were installed in the taxpayer’s primary or other residence, or installed in residential rental units owned by the taxpayer: premium-efficiency appliances, premium-efficiency heating and cooling systems, pellet heating systems, duct systems, geothermal space or water heating systems, solar water and space heating systems, and photovoltaic and wind systems to generate energy.
* * * Property Tax Return * * *
Sec. 36. 32 V.S.A. § 9606(c) is amended to read:
(c) The property transfer return required under this section shall also contain a certificate in such form as the secretary of the agency of natural resources and the commissioner of taxes jointly shall prescribe and shall be signed under oath or affirmation by each of the parties or their legal representatives. The certificate shall indicate all of the following:
the transfer is in compliance with or is exempt from regulations governing
potable water supplies and wastewater systems under chapter 64 of Title 10 ;
that That the
seller has advised the purchaser that local and state building regulations,
zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, and potable water supply and
wastewater system requirements pertaining to the property may significantly
limit the use of the property.
(3) That the seller has disclosed to the buyer annual energy consumption at the property for the preceding five years or any period of occupancy since the house was constructed, whichever is less, or has provided a home energy rating performed within the two years immediately preceding the date of
closing by a home energy rating organization accredited under 21 V.S.A.
* * * Weatherization Program * * *
Sec. 37. 33 V.S.A. § 2502(b) is amended to read:
(b) In addition, the director shall supplement, or supplant, any federal program with a state home weatherization assistance program providing:
* * *
(3) funding for the installation of solar domestic hot water systems on eligible homes.
Sec. 38. 33 V.S.A. § 2502(f) is added to read:
(f) Eligibility for assistance under the home weatherization program under this chapter depends upon an applicant establishing income of 60 percent or less of county median income, or 60 percent or less of state median income, whichever is set at a higher amount.
* * * Methane Digesters * * *
Sec. 39. REGIONAL DAIRY METHANE DIGESTERS
(a) The secretary of agriculture, food and markets, in conjunction with the commissioner of public service, shall seek federal funding to evaluate the potential for manure management centers at potential sites for regional dairy bio-digesters. In particular, the initiative shall examine the technical and economic feasibility of collecting dairy waste, transporting it, digesting it to produce energy, and returning digested manure to participating farms.
(b) The secretary of natural resources shall review and make appropriate regulatory revisions or recommend appropriate statutory amendments to its regulatory programs that may be preventing the use of wastes, such as food processing wastes, whey, and brewers’ waste, in farm-based methane digester systems.
* * * Community Wind Project * * *
Sec. 40. PILOT COMMUNITY WIND PROJECT
The commissioner of public service, acting jointly with the members of the clean energy development fund investment committee, and in consultation with the clean energy coordinating council established under 30 V.S.A. § 1, shall issue a request for proposals (RFP) in which communities are invited to partner with the state to create a pilot community wind demonstration project, to be funded in part from the clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523. The clean energy coordinating council shall assist by providing applicant communities with a map of land suitable for use, including appropriate state-owned land, that identifies areas with adequate wind resources and transmission capacity. In addition to funding assistance, the state shall provide contracting and regulatory assistance to support the success of this Vermont-scale, community owned, demonstration project.
* * * Home Efficiency Index * * *
Sec. 41. HOME EFFICIENCY INDEX
The department of public service shall convene an advisory committee to include one or more mortgage lenders, builders, building designers, utility representatives, and other persons with experience and expertise, such as consumer advocates and energy conservation experts, and with the advice of the committee shall develop a Vermont-specific residential “efficiency index” that will be generally accessible, understandable, and able to serve as a common standard to effectively measure home energy efficiency. Once established, this index shall be available for use by: any efficiency entity established under 30 V.S.A. § 209 or elsewhere, the home weatherization assistance program established under 33 V.S.A. chapter 25, building inspectors, consumers, banks, investors, property owners, and the general public. At the discretion of the commissioner of public service, the advisory committee may or may not be the same advisory committee established under 21 V.S.A. § 266 to make recommendations with regard to the revisions of the residential building energy standards (RBES).
* * * State Employee Bicycling Incentives * * *
Sec. 42. STATE EMPLOYEES’ COMMUTER CHALLENGE
The secretary of administration, in consultation with the secretary of transportation, shall procure funding for a state employees’ commuter challenge, which shall be offered to all state employees. Upon acquiring adequate funding and commencing upon a date specified by the secretary of administration, the secretary shall implement the state employees’ commuter challenge, pursuant to which each state employee is offered a cash bonus or other benefit upon riding a bicycle at least 650 commuter miles to work, over the course of a year. Each participant shall be eligible to receive $500.00, up front, to purchase a bicycle, and $500.00 cash upon successful completion of the program. An employee who fails to successfully complete the program shall be required to reimburse the state in the amount of $1.00 per mile not ridden, which, at the employee’s discretion, may be withheld from future pay receipts, in an amount that shall not be less than $50.00 per pay period, except when the total amount owed is less than $50.00. Other program requirements shall be as specified by the secretary of administration.
Sec. 43. EFFECTIVE DATES
This act shall take effect upon passage except as follows:
(1) Sec. 34 (exclusion of energy efficiency components from tax appraisal value) shall apply to energy efficiency components incorporated into or added to any building and completed on or after April 1, 2009.
(2) Sec. 35 (income tax credit for residential energy systems) shall apply to taxable year 2007 and after.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street