|BILL AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE||2007-2008|
AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND AFFORDABILITY ACT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. DESIGNATION OF ACT
This act shall be referred to as “the Vermont energy efficiency and affordability act.”
Sec. 2. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS
The general assembly finds that:
(1) Global climate change, which is threatening our environment and perhaps ultimately our existence, has been caused in part by an energy policy that is largely dependent on the burning of fossil fuels.
(2) In order to slow or stop climate change, it is essential that we reduce or eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels by significantly improving energy efficiency and shifting to nonpolluting benign forms of energy such as wind, sun, and water power.
(3) In order for Vermont to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals set by the conference of the New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers’ climate change action plan, Vermont needs to provide effective weatherization services, new funding strategies, green building practices, and installation of renewable energy systems.
(4) The “Vermont energy efficiency potential study for non‑regulated fuels” recently completed by the department of public service indicates that Vermont has cost‑effective potential energy savings of $486 million over the next ten years with 63 percent of those savings from building shell improvements.
(5) Although workforce development in the field of green building, renewable energy, and energy efficiency is an essential component of the battle to combat global climate change, there are few trained applicants to fill the new well‑paying jobs being created in this field.
(6) The “Next Generation” report stated that Vermont must implement strategies to expand its skilled workforce and approach the future by integrating economic development, workforce development, and education policies.
* * * Renewable Energy Goal * * *
Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 579 is added to read:
§ 579. 25 BY 25 STATE GOAL
(a) It is a goal of the state, by the year 2025, to produce 25 percent of the energy consumed within the state through the use of renewable energy sources, particularly from Vermont’s farms and forests.
(b) By no later than January 15, 2008, the commissioner of public service, in consultation with the secretary of agriculture, food and markets and the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation, shall present to the committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy of the general assembly a plan for attaining this goal. Plan updates shall be presented no less frequently than every three years, thereafter, and a progress report shall be due annually on January 15.
(c) By no later than January 15, 2008, the department of public service shall present to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy an updated comprehensive energy plan which shall give due consideration to the public engagement process required under 30 V.S.A. § 254 and under Sec. 2 of No. 208 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006). By that time, the department of public service shall incorporate plans adopted under this section into the state comprehensive energy plan adopted under 30 V.S.A. § 202b.
* * * Act 250 Definition of Farming * * *
Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 6001(22) is amended to read:
(22) “Farming” means:
(A) the cultivation or other use of land for growing food, fiber, Christmas trees, maple sap, or horticultural and orchard crops; or
(B) the raising, feeding, or management of livestock, poultry, fish, or bees; or
(C) the operation of greenhouses; or
(D) the production of maple syrup; or
(E) the on‑site storage, preparation and sale of agricultural products principally produced on the farm; or
(F) the on‑site storage, preparation, production, and sale of fuel or power from agricultural products or wastes principally produced on the farm; or
(G) the raising, feeding, or management of four or more equines owned or boarded by the farmer, including training, showing, and providing instruction and lessons in riding, training, and the management of equines.
* * * Agriculture Development Funds * * *
Sec. 5. 6 V.S.A. § 4710(g)(3) is amended to read:
(3) Assistance from the agricultural economic development special account shall be available for:
(A) Business and technical assistance for research and planning to aid a farmer or a group of farmers in developing business enterprises that harvest biomass, convert biomass to energy, or produce biofuel;
implementation assistance to leverage other sources of capital to assist a
farmer or group of farmers in purchasing equipment, technology, or other
assistance to produce agricultural energy, harvest biomass, or convert
biomass into energy, or enable installation and usage of wind, solar, or
other technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest
rate at or below its natural regeneration rate pursuant to 30 V.S.A.
§ 8002(2); and
* * *
* * * Commercial Building Energy Standards * * *
Sec. 6. 21 V.S.A. § 268 is amended to read:
§ 268. COMMERCIAL BUILDING ENERGY STANDARDS
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this subchapter, “commercial buildings” means all buildings that are not residential buildings as defined in subdivision 266(a)(2) of this title or farm structures as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 4413.
(1) The following commercial buildings, or portions of those buildings, separated from the remainder of the building by thermal envelope assemblies complying with this section shall be exempt from the building thermal envelope provisions of the standards:
(A) Those that do not contain conditioned space.
(B) Those with a peak design rate of energy usage less than an amount specified in the commercial building energy standards (CBES) adopted under subsection (b) of this section.
(2) These standards shall not
apply to equipment or portions of building energy systems that use energy
primarily to provide for industrial
, or manufacturing , or
(b) Adoption of commercial
building energy standards. Commercial building construction with respect to
no state or any local building permit application or
application for construction plan approval by the commissioner of public safety
pursuant to 20 V.S.A. chapter 173 has been submitted on or after January 1,
2007 shall be designed and constructed in substantial compliance
with the standards contained in the 2005 Vermont Guidelines for Energy
Efficient Commercial Construction, as those standards may be amended by
administrative rule adopted by the commissioner of public service.
(c) Revision and interpretation of
energy standards. On or about January 1, 2009, and at least every three years
thereafter, the commissioner of public service shall amend and update the CBES
by means of administrative rules adopted in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter
25. At least a year prior to final adoption of each required revision of the
CBES, the department of public service shall convene an advisory committee to
include one or more mortgage lenders
,; builders ,;
building designers ,; architects; civil, mechanical, and electrical
engineers; utility representatives ,; and other persons with
experience and expertise, such as consumer advocates and energy conservation
experts. The advisory committee may provide the commissioner of public service
with additional recommendations for revision of the CBES.
(1) Any amendments to the CBES shall be:
(A) Consistent with duly adopted state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a.
(B) Evaluated relative to their technical applicability and reliability.
(2) Each time the CBES are amended
by the commissioner of public service, the amended CBES shall become effective
upon a date specified in the adopted rule, a date that shall not be less than
three months after the date of adoption. Persons submitting an application for
state or local permit authorizing commercial construction, or an
application for construction plan approval by the commissioner of public safety
pursuant to 20 V.S.A. chapter 173, before the effective date of the amended
CBES shall have the option of complying with the applicable provisions of the
earlier or the amended CBES. After the effective date of the original or the
amended CBES, any person submitting such an application for any state
or local permit authorizing commercial construction in an area subject to
the CBES shall comply with the most recent version of the CBES.
(3) The advisory committee convened under this subsection, in preparing for the CBES updates, shall advise the department of public service with respect to the coordination of the CBES amendments with existing and proposed demand‑side management programs offered in the state.
(4) The commissioner of public service is authorized to adopt rules interpreting and implementing the CBES.
(5) The commissioner of public service may grant written variances or exemptions from the CBES or rules adopted under this section where strict compliance would entail practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, or is otherwise found unwarranted, provided that:
(A) Any such variance or exemption shall be consistent with state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a.
(B) Any petitioner for such a variance or exemption can demonstrate that the methods, means, or practices proposed to be taken in lieu of compliance with the rule or rules provide, in the opinion of the commissioner, equal energy efficiency to that attained by compliance with the rule or rules.
(C) A copy of any such variance or exemption shall be recorded by the petitioner in the land records of the city or town in which the building is located.
(D) A record of each variance or exemption shall be maintained by the commissioner, together with the certifications received by the commissioner.
(d) Certification requirement.
(1) The design of commercial
buildings shall be certified by the primary designer as compliant with
CBES in accordance with this subsection, except as compliance is excused by
a variance or exemption issued under subdivision (c)(5) of this section.
certification may be issued by a builder, a licensed professional engineer, or
a licensed architect If applicable law requires that the primary
designer be a licensed professional engineer, licensed architect, or other
licensed professional, a member of a pertinent licensed profession shall issue
this certification. If one or more licensed professional engineers or licensed
architects is involved in the design of the project, one of these licensees
shall issue this certificate. If certification is not issued by a
licensed professional engineer or a licensed architect is not involved in
designing the project, it certification shall be issued by
the builder. Any certification shall be accompanied by an affidavit and shall
certify that the designer acted in accordance with the designer’s
professional duty of care in designing the building, and that the
commercial construction meets building was designed in substantial
compliance with the requirements of the CBES. The department of public
service will develop and make available to the public a certificate that lists
key features requirements of the CBES, sets forth certifying
language in accordance with this subdivision, and requires disclosure of
persons relied upon by the primary designer who have contracted to indemnify
the primary designer for damages arising out of that reliance. Any person
certifying under this subdivision shall use this certificate or one
substantially like it to certify compliance with CBES satisfy these
certification obligations. Certification shall be issued by completing and
signing a certificate and permanently affixing it to the outside of the heating
or cooling equipment, to the electrical service panel located inside the
building, or in a visible location in the vicinity of one of these three
areas. The certificate shall certify that the building has been constructed
in compliance with the requirements of the CBES. The person certifying under
this subsection shall provide a copy of each certificate to the department of
public service and shall assure that a certificate is recorded and indexed in
the town land records. A builder may contract with a licensed professional
engineer or a licensed architect to issue certification and to indemnify the
builder from any liability to the owner of the commercial construction caused
by noncompliance with the CBES. In certifying under this subsection,
the certifying person may reasonably rely on one or more supporting affidavits
received from other persons that contributed to the design affirming that the
portions of the design produced by them were properly certifiable under this
subsection. The certifying person may contract for indemnification from those
on which the person relies pursuant to this subdivision (1) against damages
arising out of that reliance. This indemnification shall not limit any rights
of action of an aggrieved party.
(2) The construction of a commercial building shall be certified as compliant with CBES in accordance with this subsection, except as compliance is excused by a variance or exemption issued under subdivision (c)(5) of this section. This certification shall be issued by the general contractor, construction manager, or other party having primary responsibility for coordinating the construction of the subject building, or in the absence of such a person, by the owner of the building. Any certification shall be accompanied by an affidavit and shall certify that the subject commercial building was constructed in accordance with the ordinary standard of care applicable to the participating construction trades, and that the subject commercial building was constructed substantially in accordance with the construction documents including the plans and specifications certified under subdivision (1) of this subsection for that building. The department of public service will develop and make available to the public a certificate that sets forth certifying language in accordance with this subdivision, and that requires disclosure of persons who have been relied upon by the person with primary responsibility for coordinating the construction of the building and who have contracted to indemnify that person for damages arising out of that reliance. The person certifying under this subdivision shall use that certificate or one substantially like it to satisfy these certification obligations. Certification shall be issued by completing and signing a certificate and permanently affixing it to the outside of the heating or cooling equipment, to the electrical service panel located inside the building, or in a visible location in the vicinity of one of these three areas. In certifying under this subdivision, the certifying person may reasonably rely on one or more supporting affidavits received from subcontractors or others engaged in the construction of the subject commercial building affirming that the portions of the building constructed by them were properly certifiable under this subdivision. The certifying person may contract for indemnification from those on which the person relies pursuant to this subdivision (2) against damages arising out of that reliance. This indemnification shall not limit any rights of action of an aggrieved party.
(3) Any person certifying under this subsection shall provide a copy of the person’s certificate and any accompanying affidavit to the department of public service.
(4) A certificate issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection and a certificate issued pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be conditions precedent to issuance by the commissioner of public safety (or a municipal official acting under 20 V.S.A. § 2736) of any final occupancy permit required by the rules of the commissioner of public safety for use or occupancy of a commercial building that is also a public building as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2730(a).
Action Private right
of action for damages against a certifier.
(1) Except as otherwise provided
in this subsection, a person aggrieved by
noncompliance with this section
another person’s breach of that other person’s representations contained in
a certification or supporting affidavit issued or received as provided under
subsection (d) of this section, within ten years after the earlier of
completion of construction or occupancy of the affected commercial building or
portion of that building, may bring a civil action in superior court
against a person who has the an obligation of certifying
compliance under subsection (d) of this section alleging breach of the
representations contained in that person’s certification. This action may
seek injunctive relief, damages arising from the aggrieved party’s reliance
on the accuracy of those representations, court costs, and reasonable
attorneys’ fees in an amount to be determined by the court. As used in
this subdivision, “damages” means: (A) includes costs
incidental to increased energy consumption ; and (B) labor, materials, and other
expenses associated with bringing the structure into compliance with CBES in
effect on the date construction was commenced.
(2) A person’s failure to affix the certification as required by this section shall not be an affirmative defense in such an action against the person.
(3) The rights and remedies created by this section shall not be construed to limit any rights and remedies otherwise provided by law.
(4) The right of action established in this subsection may not be waived by contract or other agreement.
(5) It shall be a defense to an action under this subsection that either at the time of completion or at any time thereafter, the commercial building or portion of building covered by a certificate under subsection (d) of this section, as actually constructed, met or exceeded the overall performance standards established in the CBES in effect on the date construction was commenced.
Violation of section State
or local enforcements. Any person who falsely certifies knowingly
makes a false certification under subsection (d) of this section, or
any builder party who fails to certify under subsection (d) of
this section when required to do so, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not
more than $250.00 per day, up to $10,000.00 for each year the violation
continues. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense, and each
day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(g) Title validity not affected.
A defect in marketable title shall not be created by a failure to record a
variance or exemption pursuant to subdivision (c)(5) of this section, by a
failure to issue certification or a certificate, as required under
subsection (d) of this section, or by a failure under that subsection to:
affix a certificate
; or provide a copy of a certificate to the
department of public service ; or record and index a certificate in the town
* * * Smart Metering * * *
Sec. 7. SMART METERING INVESTIGATION
(a) The public service board shall investigate opportunities for Vermont electric utilities cost‑effectively to install advanced “smart” metering equipment capable of sending two‑way signals and sufficient to support advanced time‑of‑use pricing during periods of critical peaks or hourly differentiated time‑of‑use pricing.
(b) The scope of the investigation shall include the following:
(1) The current status of implementing either advanced time‑of‑use rate designs or advanced metering by Vermont utilities.
(2) Analysis of experience from other state jurisdictions and individual utility experience in planning and implementing programs that promote advanced time‑of‑use rate designs or advanced metering.
(3) Opportunities for exploring ways to design pilot programs and share experience among Vermont utilities with the deployment of advanced meters and rate designs.
(4) Analysis of all costs and benefits of installing advanced metering equipment, giving due consideration to the circumstances that differentiate Vermont utilities.
(5) Analysis of opportunities for reducing rates in the short and long term or mitigating rate impacts of investments in advanced metering and ancillary equipment through advanced time‑of‑use rate designs enabled by these investments.
(6) Analysis of constraints or barriers to implementing this subsection, or opportunities presented by further deferring plans or commitments toward advanced metering equipment or rates.
(7) Analysis of all supporting and ancillary equipment, equipment standards, and efficiency programs necessary to ensure that customers are adequately and effectively empowered to use and respond cost‑effectively to price signals made possible through advanced metering equipment.
(c) After investigation, in utility territories where the board concludes it appropriate and cost‑effective, the board shall require each Vermont utility to file plans for investment and deployment of appropriate technologies and plans and strategies for implementing advanced pricing with a goal of ensuring that all ratepayer classes have an opportunity to receive and participate effectively in advanced time‑of‑use pricing plans.
(d) By January 15, 2008, the public service board shall report to the senate and house committees on natural resources and energy with regard to interim progress in its investigation and measures already implemented under this section.
(e) By June 15, 2008, the board shall issue a final report and plan for implementation.
* * * Conservation Rates * * *
Sec. 8. 30 V.S.A. § 218(b) is amended to read:
(b) The department of public
service shall propose, and the board through the establishment of rates of
return, rates, tolls, charges, or schedules shall encourage the implementation
by electric and gas utilities of energy‑efficiency and load management
measures which will be cost‑effective for the utilities and their
customers on a life cycle cost basis. The board shall approve rate designs to
encourage the efficient use of natural gas and electricity, including
(1) To implement the requirements of this subsection, the public service board shall host one or more workshops to examine the following:
(A) the parameters for residential inclining block rate designs;
(B) alternative rate designs, such as critical peak pricing programs or more widespread use of time‑of‑day rates, that would encourage more efficient use of electricity;
(C) the possible inclusion of exemptions from otherwise applicable inclining block rates or rate designs to encourage efficiency for situations in which special health needs or another extraordinary situation presents such a significant demand for electricity that the board determines use of those rates would cause undue financial hardship for the customer;
(2) By June 15, 2008, the board shall issue a report and plan for implementation based upon the results of its investigation. The plan shall require each retail company to upgrade its rates as necessary to implement new rate designs appropriate to encourage efficient energy use, which shall include residential inclining block rates, if the board determines that those rates would be appropriate, by a specified date, or as part of its next rate‑related appearance before the board, or according to a timetable otherwise specified by the board. In implementing these rate designs, the board shall consider the appropriateness of phasing in the rate design changes to allow large users of energy a reasonable opportunity to employ methods of conservation and energy efficiency in advance of the full effect of the changes.
* * * Net Metering * * *
Sec. 9. 30 V.S.A. § 219a is amended to read:
§ 219a. SELF‑GENERATION AND NET METERING
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Customer” means a retail electric consumer who uses a net metering system.
(2) “Net metering” means measuring the difference between the electricity supplied to a customer and the electricity fed back by a net metering system during the customer’s billing period:
(A) using a single, nondemand meter or such other meter that would otherwise be applicable to the customer’s usage but for the use of net metering; or
(B) on farm or group systems, using multiple meters as specified in this chapter. The calculation will be made by converting all meters to a nondemand, nontime‑of‑day meter, and equalizing them to the tariffed kilowatt‑hour rate.
(3) “Net metering system” means a facility for generation of electricity that:
of no more than
15 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity , or is a farm
* * *
(E)(i) employs a renewable energy source as defined in subdivision 8002(2) of this title; or
(ii) is a qualified micro‑combined heat and power system of 20 kilowatts or fewer that meets the definition of combined heat and power in 10 V.S.A. § 6523(b) and may use any fuel source that meets air quality standards.
“Farm system” means a facility of no more than
150 250 kilowatts
(AC) output capacity, 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.
(b) A customer shall pay the same rates, fees, or other payments and be subject to the same conditions and requirements as all other purchasers from the electric company in the same rate‑class, except as provided for in this section, and except for appropriate and necessary conditions approved by the board for the safety and reliability of the electric distribution system.
* * *
(f) Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering farm or group net metering systems shall be calculated in the following manner:
(1) Net metering customers that are farm or group net metering systems may credit on‑site generation against all meters designated to the farm system or group net metering system under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section.
(2) Electric energy measurement for farm or group net metering systems shall be calculated by subtracting total usage of all meters included in the farm or group net metering system from total generation by the farm or group net metering system. If the electricity generated by the farm or group net metering system is less than the total usage of all meters included in the farm or group net metering system during the billing period, the farm or group net metering system shall be credited for any accumulated kilowatt‑hour credit and then billed for the net electricity supplied by the electric company, in accordance with the procedures in subsection (g) of this section.
(3) If electricity generated by the farm or group net metering system exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric company:
(A) The farm or group net metering system shall be billed for the appropriate charges for each meter for that month, in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.
(B) Excess kilowatt‑hours generated during the billing period shall be added to the accumulated balance with this kilowatt‑hour credit appearing on the bill for the following billing period.
(C) Any accumulated kilowatt‑hour credits shall be used within 12 months or shall revert to the electric company without any compensation to the farm or group net metering system. Power reverting to the electric company under this subdivision (3) shall be considered SPEED resources under section 8005 of this title.
In addition to any other requirements of section 248 of this title and this
section and board rules thereunder, before a
net metering farm or group
net metering system including more than one
meter may be formed and served by an electric company, the proposed net
metering farm or group net metering system
shall file with the board, with copies to the department and the serving
electric company, the following information:
the meters to be included in the farm or group net metering system,
which shall be associated with the
farm buildings and residences owned
or occupied by the person operating the farm or group net metering system,
or the person’s family or farm employees, or other members of
the group, identified by account number and location;
(B) a method for adding and removing meters included in the farm or group net metering system;
designated person responsible for all communications from the farm or
group net metering system to the serving electric company, for
receiving and paying bills for any service provided by the serving electric
company for the farm or group net metering system,
and for receiving any other communications regarding the farm or
group net metering system
net metering; and
(D) a binding process for the resolution of any disputes within the farm or group net metering system relating to net metering that does not rely on the serving electric company, the board, or the department.
or group net metering system shall, at all times, maintain a
written designation to the serving electric company of a person who shall be
the sole person authorized to receive and pay bills for any service provided by
the serving electric company, and
for receiving to receive any
other communications regarding the farm system, the group net metering
system, or net metering.
The serving utility shall implement appropriate changes to the farm
or group net metering system within 30 days after receiving
written notification from the designated person. However, written notification
of a change in the person designated under subdivision (2) of this subsection
shall be effective upon receipt by the serving utility. The serving utility
shall not be liable for action based on such notification, but shall make any
necessary corrections and bill adjustments to implement revised notifications.
(4) Pursuant to subsection 231(a) of this title, after such notice and opportunity for hearing as the board may require, the board may revoke a certificate of public good issued to a farm or group net metering system.
(5) A group net metering system may consist only of customers that are located within the service area of the same electric company. Various buildings owned by a municipality may constitute a group net metering system. If it determines that it would promote the general good, the board shall permit a noncontiguous group of net metering customers to comprise a group net metering system.
(h)(1) An electric company:
Shall make net metering available to any customer using a net metering system,
group net metering system, or farm system on a first‑come, first‑served
basis until the cumulative output capacity of net metering systems equals
2.0 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 2.0 percent cap. In
determining whether to raise the cap, the board shall consider the following:
(i) the costs and benefits of net metering systems already connected to the system; and
(ii) the potential costs and benefits of exceeding the cap, including potential short and long‑term impacts on rates, distribution system costs and benefits, reliability and diversification costs and benefits;
(B) Shall allow net metering systems to be interconnected using a kilowatt‑hour meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions or such other comparably equipped meter that would otherwise be applicable to the customer’s usage but for the use of net metering;
(C) May, at its own expense, and with the written consent of the customer, install one or more additional meters to monitor the flow of electricity in each direction;
Except as otherwise provided in this section, shall charge the customer
a minimum monthly fee that is the same as for other customers of the
electric distribution company in the same rate class, but shall not charge the
customer any additional standby, capacity, interconnection, or other fee or
(E) May require a customer to comply with generation interconnection, safety, and reliability requirements, as determined by the public service board by rule or order, and may charge reasonable fees for interconnection, establishment, special metering, meter reading, accounting, account correcting, and account maintenance of net metering arrangements of greater than 15 kilowatt (AC) capacity;
(F) May charge, if the capacity of the distribution system is insufficient for the designed generation, subject to determination by the board, a reasonable fee to cover the cost of electric company improvements necessary to distribute power;
(G) May require that all meters included within a farm or group net metering system be read on the same billing cycle;
May book and defer, with carrying costs, additional incremental costs, to the
extent that such costs are not recovered through charges, authorized in
subdivisions (D), (E), and (F) of this subdivision (1), directly related to
implementing net metering of greater than 15 kilowatt (AC) capacity
Shall receive from a farm system, which is designed to produce less energy than
the total annual load of the meters identified in subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this
section, any tradeable renewable credits for which the farm system
is eligible. All other farm systems shall retain any tradeable renewable
credits for which the farm is eligible;.
(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.
* * *
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section that define a net metering
system as being of no more than
15 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity,
the board may allow net metering for up to ten systems per year for customers
that produce more than 15 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity, but do not
produce more than 150 250 kilowatts of power and are not farm
(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 or group net metering system, provided:
(1) the farm or group net metering system obtains a certificate of public good under the terms of subsections (c) and (d) of this section;
(2) any contracted power shall be subject to the limitations set forth in subdivision (h)(1) of this section;
(3) any contract shall be subject to interconnection and metering requirements in subdivisions (h)(1)(C) and (i)(2) and (3) of this section;
(4) any contract may permit all or a portion of the tradeable renewable energy credits for which the farm or group net metering system is eligible to be transferred to the electric company;
the output capacity of a system may exceed
150 250 kilowatts,
(A) the contract assigns the amount of power to be net metered;
the net metered amount does not exceed
150 250 kilowatts; and
(C) only the amount assigned to net metering is assessed to the cap provided in subdivision (h)(1)(A) of this section.
Sec. 10. 32 V.S.A. § 3845 is amended to read:
§ 3845. Alternate energy sources
* * *
(b) For the purposes of this section alternate energy sources includes any plant, structure or facility used for the generation of electricity or production of energy used on the premises for private, domestic or agricultural purposes, no part of which may be for sale or exchange to the public. The term shall include, but not be limited to grist mills, windmills, facilities for the collection of solar energy or the conversion of organic matter to methane, net metering systems regulated by the public service board under 30 V.S.A. § 219a, and all component parts thereof including land upon which the facility is located, not to exceed one‑half acre.
* * * Temporary Meteorological Stations * * *
Sec. 11. 30 V.S.A. § 246 is added to read:
§ 246. TEMPORARY SITING OF METEOROLOGICAL STATIONS
(a) For purposes of this section, a “meteorological station” consists of one temporary tower, which may include guy wires, and attached instrumentation to collect and record wind speed, wind direction, and atmospheric conditions.
(b) The public service board shall establish by rule or order standards and procedures governing application for, and issuance or revocation of, a certificate of public good for the temporary installation of one or more meteorological stations under the provisions of section 248 of this title. A meteorological station shall be deemed to promote the public good of the state if it is in compliance with the criteria of this section and the board rules or orders. An applicant for a certificate of public good for a meteorological station shall be exempt from the requirements of subsection 202(f) of this title.
(c) In developing rules or orders, the board:
(1) Shall develop a simple application form and shall require that completed applications be filed with the board, the department of public service, the agency of natural resources, and the municipality in which the meteorological station is proposed to be located.
(2) Shall require that if no objections are filed within 30 days of the board’s receipt of a complete application and the board determines that the applicant has met all of the requirements of section 248 of this title, the certificate of public good shall be issued for a period that the board finds reasonable, but in no event for more than five years. Upon request of an applicant, the board may renew a certificate of public good. Upon expiration of the certificate, the meteorological station and all associated structures and material shall be removed, and the site shall be restored substantially to its preconstruction condition.
(3) May waive the requirements of section 248 of this title that are not applicable to meteorological stations, including criteria that are generally applicable to public service companies as defined in this title. The board shall not waive review regarding whether construction will have an undue adverse effect on esthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, and the public health and safety.
(4) Shall seek to simplify the application and review process, as appropriate, in conformance with this section.
(d) A proposal for decision shall be issued within five months of when the board receives a completed application for a certificate of public good for the temporary installation of one or more meteorological stations under the provisions of section 248 of this title.
* * * Renewable Energy Pricing and Portfolio Standards * * *
Sec. 12. 30 V.S.A. § 8002(4) is amended to read:
(4) “New renewable energy” means
renewable energy produced by a generating resource coming into service after
December 31, 2004. This may include the additional energy from an existing
renewable facility retrofitted with advanced technologies or otherwise operated,
modified, or expanded to increase the kwh output of the facility in
excess of an historical baseline established by calculating the average output
of that facility for the 10‑year period that ended December 31, 2004.
If the production of new renewable energy through
involves combustion of the resource, the system also must result in an
incrementally higher level of energy conversion efficiency or significantly
reduced emissions. For the purposes of this chapter, renewable energy refers
to either “existing renewable energy” or “new renewable energy.”
Sec. 13. 30 V.S.A. § 8003 is amended to read:
§ 8003. RENEWABLE ENERGY PRICING
Upon petition of an
electric company subject to this title, upon request of the department of
public service, or on its own initiative, the public service board may approve
one or more renewable pricing programs for one or more electric utilities;
provided, however, in the case of a municipal plant or department formed under
local charter or chapter 79 of this title, or an electric cooperative formed
under chapter 81 of this title, any renewable pricing program approved by the
board shall also be approved by a majority of the voters of a municipality or
cooperative voting upon the question at a duly warned annual or special meeting
held for that purpose. Unless the board finds good cause to exempt a
utility, by no later than July 1, 2008, each electric utility, municipal
department formed under local charter or chapter 79 of this title, and each
electric cooperative formed under chapter 81 of this title shall implement a
renewable energy pricing program under this section for its customers, or shall
offer customers the option of making a voluntary contribution to the Vermont
clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523. Such renewable
energy pricing programs may include, but are not limited to, tariffs,
standard special contracts, or other arrangements whose purpose is to increase
the company’s reliance on, or the customer’s support of, renewable sources of
energy or the type and quantity of renewable energy resources available.
* * *
Renewable pricing programs
offered by a company shall be available to such customer classes as the board
(g) The board shall consider the following factors in deciding whether and upon what conditions to approve a proposed renewable energy pricing program:
(1) minimization of marketing and administrative expenses;
(2) auditing or certification of sources of energy or tradeable renewable energy credits;
(3) marketing and promotion plans;
(4) effectiveness of the program in meeting the goals of promoting renewable energy generation and public understanding of renewable energy sources in Vermont;
(5) retention by the program of renewable energy production incentives, tax incentives and other incentives earned or otherwise obtained by energy resources acquired pursuant to or as part of a renewable energy pricing program approved under this section to reduce the cost of any premiums paid under this section; and
(6) costs imposed on nonparticipating customers arising on account of the implementation of the voluntary renewable energy pricing program.
Sec. 14. 30 V.S.A. § 8004(e) is amended to read:
(e) In lieu of, or in addition to
purchasing tradeable renewable energy credits to satisfy the portfolio
requirements of this section, a retail electricity provider in this state may
a renewable energy fund established by the public service board the
Vermont clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523 an
amount per kilowatt hour as established by the board. As an alternative, the
board may require any proportion of this amount to be paid to the energy
conservation fund established under subsection 209(d) of this title.
* * * SPEED Program * * *
Sec. 15. 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, and in the case of subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection shall:
* * *
(2) allow the developer of a
facility that is one megawatt or less, and is a qualifying SPEED resource or a
nonqualifying SPEED resource, to sell that power under a long term contract
that is established at a specified
margin below the hourly spot market
price determined by the board to be adequate to promote SPEED resource
development while remaining consistent with the principles of least‑cost
energy services under section 218c of this title. 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;
(3) encourage Vermont’s retail
electricity providers to secure long‑term contracts, at stable
renewable energy that are anticipated to be below the long‑term
market price, over the lives of the projects qualifying SPEED
resources. The board shall create a standard contract price, or a set of
maximum and minimum provisions, or both, for qualifying SPEED resources over 1
MW of capacity. In setting a standard contract price for a qualifying SPEED
resource, the board shall consider the goal of developing qualified SPEED
resources, least cost provision of energy service under section 218c, and the
impact on electric rates. The board may create a competitive bid process
through which to select a portion of those contracts;
* * *
(d)(1) The public service board
shall meet on or before January 1, 2012
, and open a proceeding ,
and issue findings determining to determine the total amount
of qualifying SPEED resources that have come into service or are projected
to come into service during the period of time between January 1, 2005 and
January 1, 2013 been supplied to Vermont retail electricity providers or
have been issued a certificate of public good. If the board finds that the
amount of qualifying SPEED resources coming into service during that time
or having been issued a certificate of public good after January 1, 2005 and
before July 1, 2012 equals or exceeds total statewide growth in electric energy
usage retail sales during the period of time between January 1,
2005 and January 1, 2012 that time, and in addition, at least five
percent of the 2005 total statewide electric retail sales is provided by
qualified SPEED resources, or if it finds that the amount of qualifying
SPEED resources equals or exceeds 10 percent of total statewide electric
energy usage retail sales for calendar year 2005, the portfolio
standards established under this chapter shall not be in force. The board
shall make its determination by July 1, 2012 January 1, 2013. If
the board finds that the goal established has not been met, one year after the
board’s determination the portfolio standards established under subsection 8004(b)
of this title shall take effect.
(2) A state goal is to assure that 20 percent of total statewide electric retail sales before July 1, 2017 shall be generated by speed resources. The public service board shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and to the joint energy committee by December 15, 2012 with regard to the state’s progress in meeting this goal. In addition, the board shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and to the joint energy committee by December 15, 2014 with regard to the state’s progress in meeting this goal and, if necessary, shall include any appropriate recommendations for measures that will make attaining the goal more likely.
(3) For the purposes of the
determination to be made under this subsection, electricity produced at all
facilities owned by or under long‑term contract to Vermont retail
electricity providers, whether it is generated inside or outside Vermont, that
is new renewable energy shall be counted in the calculations under
subdivisions (d)(1) and (2) of this section.
* * *
* * * Assistance * * *
Sec. 16. REPORTS ON OMBUDSMAN AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Technical assistance. By no later than January 15, 2008, the public service department, after consultation with the public service board and the clean energy development fund investment committee established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523(e)(1)(B), shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with a recommended program by which the state may best:
(1) Establish and fund an office of ombudsman, which would be charged with assisting those who desire to develop renewable energy projects in dealing with the regulatory process. The department shall consult with the agency of natural resources with respect to how to assist individuals seeking a certificate of public good for a small hydroelectric facility, a small wind project, or a small solar project, as well as those seeking water quality certification associated with a small hydroelectric facility. The department of public service shall consider how best to coordinate services between its ombudsman and the ombudsman for renewable energy at the agency of agriculture, food and markets.
(2) Establish and fund a program to provide communities with assistance in assessing their renewable energy resources and the potential for development of those resources, and in evaluating, selecting, and implementing reasonable alternatives for financing the construction of those renewable energy resources.
Sec. 17. 32 V.S.A. § 8661 is amended to read:
TAX LEVY KILOWATT HOUR TAX
There is hereby assessed each year upon electric generating plants constructed
in the state subsequent to July 1, 1965, and having a name plate generating
capacity of 200,000 kilowatts, or more, a state tax
in accordance with the
following table: If
megawatt hour production is: tax is: Less
than 2,300,000 megawatt hours $2.0 million 2,300,000 to 3,800,000 megawatt hours $2.0
million plus $0.40 per megawatt hour over 2,300,000 3,800,001
to 4,200,000 megawatt hours $2.6 million Over
4,200,000 megawatt hours $2.6 million plus $0.40
hour over 4,200,000 For
purposes of this section, “megawatt hour production” means the average of net
production for sale in the three most recent preceding calendar years. The tax
imposed by this section shall be paid to the commissioner in equal quarterly
installments on or before the 25th day of March, June, September, and December
by the person or corporation then owning or operating such electric generating
plant. imposed at a rate per kWh of electrical energy produced
by the facility as determined by the public service department for the average
of the past three calendar years. The rate of the tax shall be:
(1) $0.00225 per kWh in fiscal year 2009;
(2) $0.0025 in fiscal year 2010; and
(3) $0.003 in fiscal year 2011 and thereafter.
(b) If an entity subject to this tax generates no electricity during the tax year due to termination or expiration of a necessary license, or due to permanent cessation of operations, no tax shall be due for that year.
(c) A person or corporation failing to make returns or pay the tax imposed by this section within the time required shall be subject to and governed by the provisions of sections 3202, 3203, 5868, and 5873 of this title.
(d) The tax imposed by this section shall be collected quarterly and shall be due on the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. It shall be paid to the commissioner of taxes by the person or corporation then owning or operating such electric generating plant.
(e) Annually, of the revenues received:
(1) 42 percent shall be deposited in the education fund of the state established in section 4025 of Title 16 to be expended for the purposes of that fund.
(2) 58 percent shall be deposited in the general fund of the state.
Sec. 17a. REPEAL
32 V.S.A. § 5402a [ELECTRIC GENERATING PLANT EDUCATION PROPERTY TAX] is repealed.
Sec. 17b. EFFECTIVE DATE
Secs. 17 and 17a of this act shall take effect July 1, 2008.
Sec. 17c. REPORT
By January 15, 2008, the commissioner of taxes shall present recommendations to the senate committee on finance and the house committee on ways and means with regard to transitioning from the existing tax established in 32 V.S.A. § 8661 to the tax as established under this act.
* * * Wind‑Powered Electric Generating Facilities * * *
Sec. 18. 32 V.S.A. § 5402c is added to read:
§ 5402c. WIND‑POWERED ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES TAX
(a) A facility certified by the commissioner of public service as a facility which produces electrical energy for resale, generated solely from wind power, which has an installed capacity of at least five megawatts, which was placed in service after January 1, 2007, and which holds a valid certificate of public good issued under 30 V.S.A. § 248, shall be assessed an alternative education property tax on its buildings and fixtures used directly and exclusively in the generation of electrical energy from wind power.
(b) The tax shall be imposed at a rate per kWh of electrical energy produced by the certified facility, as determined by the public service department for the six months ending April 30 and the six months ending October 31 each year. The rate of the tax shall be:
(1) $0.00225 in fiscal year 2009;
(2) $0.0025 in fiscal year 2010;
(3) $0.003 in fiscal year 2011 and thereafter.
(c) In no case shall the tax imposed for any six‑month period be less than an amount equal to the rate per kWh imposed by this subsection multiplied by the number of kWh that would be generated if the facility operated at a 15 percent capacity factor.
(d) The tax imposed by this section shall be paid to the commissioner of taxes by the person or entity then owning or operating the certified facility, by December 1 for the period ending October 31 and by June 1 for the period ending April 30, for deposit into the education fund. A person or entity failing to make returns or pay the tax imposed by this section within the time required shall be subject to and governed by the provisions of sections 3202 and 3203 and subchapters 8 and 9 of chapter 151 of this title.
(e) Until a facility is certified under this subsection, it shall remain subject to taxation under section 5402 of this title. Buildings and fixtures subject to the education property tax under this section shall not be taken into account in determining the common level of appraisal for the municipality.
Sec. 19. STUDY OF TAX ON ELECTRIC GENERATING PROPERTY
The commissioner of the department of public service, the commissioner of taxes, and a representative of the joint fiscal office shall study the proper valuation of electric generating facilities and whether there are factors that might necessitate different treatment for different types of electric generating facilities. Based on this study, they shall determine options for raising tax revenues from electric generating facilities, including the current education property tax, and the advantages and disadvantages of the various options with regard to stability of the revenue source, ability to build inflation into the tax mechanism, how well the tax mechanism will reflect the cost of power sold and fluctuations in power production, whether property valuation creates difficulties for application of a property tax, how the tax mechanism will produce revenue during any start‑up or construction period, and any other issues which they may find pertinent to the inquiry; and based upon their findings, shall recommend one or more education tax options for this property. The study group shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposed legislative amendments, to the house committee on ways and means and senate committee on finance by December 1, 2007.
* * * Business Energy Credit * * *
Sec. 20. 32 V.S.A. § 5822(c)(1)(B) and (d) are amended to read:
(c) The amount of tax determined under subsection (a) of this section shall be:
(1) increased by 24 percent of the taxpayer’s federal tax liability for the taxable year for the following:
* * *
(B) recapture of federal investment tax credit and increased by 76 percent of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit recapture for the taxable year;
(d) A taxpayer shall be entitled to a credit against the tax imposed under this section of 24 percent of each of the credits allowed against the taxpayer’s federal income tax for the taxable year as follows: elderly and permanently totally disabled credit, investment tax credit, and child care and dependent care credits. A taxpayer shall also be entitled to a credit against the tax imposed under this section of 76 percent of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit allowed against the taxpayer’s federal income tax for the taxable year under Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Sec. 21. 32 V.S.A. § 5930z is added to read:
§ 5930z. Pass‑Through of Federal Energy Credit for Corporations
(a) A taxpayer of this state shall be eligible for a credit against the tax imposed under section 5832 of this title in an amount equal to 100 percent of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit allowed against the taxpayer’s federal income tax for the taxable year under Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.
(b) Any taxpayer who has received a credit under subsection (a) of this section in any prior year shall increase its corporate income tax under this chapter by the amount of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit recapture for the taxable year.
Sec. 22. EFFECTIVE DATE OF BUSINESS ENERGY TAX CREDITS
(a) Secs. 20 and 21 of this act (business energy tax credits) shall apply to taxable years 2008 and after.
(b) By January 15, 2008, the department of taxes and the joint fiscal office shall report to the general assembly regarding recommendations on any changes to the business solar tax credit, including options for replacing the pass‑through of the federal credit to promote solar investment, whether it should be restructured to be a state tax credit rather than a pass‑through of the federal investment tax credit, and whether other investment tax credits should be adopted to promote energy efficiency in the state.
* * * Small Hydro Reports * * *
Sec. 23. PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD REPORT ON PERMITTING SMALL
Prior to December 15, 2007, the public service board shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy with a recommendation for a simple, predictable, and environmentally sound process, other than the process set forth in subsection 248(j) of Title 30, for issuing a certificate of public good under section 248 of Title 30 for small hydroelectric projects that are not eligible for a net metering permit under public service board rule 5.100. The report shall:
(1) Recommend criteria for determining what constitutes a small hydroelectric facility, including the allowable maximum amount of output capacity at the facility and the type of eligible facilities, natural features, or other sites.
(2) Address permit application requirements, including ownership of the facility, interconnection, and structural safety of the small hydroelectric project.
(3) Address additional uses of the small hydroelectric project such as flood control; fish and wildlife habitat; recreation; water supply; historic resource; and structural grade control for infrastructure, roads, bridges, and houses.
Sec. 24. AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT ON WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION FOR SMALL HYDROELECTRIC
Prior to December 15, 2007, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy with a recommendation for a simple, predictable, and environmentally sound procedure for completing a water quality certification review, as required by Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act, of small hydroelectric projects that are not subject to net metering. The report shall:
(1) Recommend, after consultation with the public service board, criteria for determining what constitutes a small hydroelectric facility, including the allowable maximum amount of output capacity at the facility and the type of eligible facilities, natural features, or other sites;
(2) Address bypass flows for small hydroelectric projects.
(3) Address the need for monitoring of dissolved oxygen at small hydroelectric facilities.
(4) Address seasonal flows in bypasses at run‑of‑river facilities.
(5) Address the need for new fish or flow studies for small hydroelectric projects.
(6) Address the use of flashboards to increase upstream flooding.
(7) Address measures to prevent fish from entering turbines and penstocks.
(8) Address the size of authorized diversions and penstocks.
(9) Include an analysis of the existing permitting process for small hydro projects.
Sec. 25. PILOT PROJECTS FOR SMALL HYDROELECTRIC GENERATORS
In order to promote the timely development of environmentally sound small community hydro projects, and to help inform efforts to develop new permitting processes, the public service department and the agency of natural resources shall work with communities that are seeking to develop small hydro projects, to facilitate those projects through the existing permit processes. These projects shall not have more than 2 MW of name‑plate capacity, shall have the support and involvement of the communities in which they are located, and shall not include the construction of a new dam.
Sec. 26. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; EXISTING OUTDOOR WOOD
BOILERS GRANDFATHERED; IMPROPER USE; NEW RULE
05‑P41 EFFECTIVE MARCH 31, 2008
The general assembly finds:
(1) confusion and misinformation has caused some current owners of outdoor wood boilers to incorrectly conclude that they may be unable to use their units when Rule 05‑P41 goes into effect;
(2) Rule 05‑P41, recently adopted by the agency of natural resources, raises emission standard requirements for new outdoor wood boilers purchased after March 31, 2008, and does not in any way affect Vermonters who currently own outdoor wood boilers, the proper use of which will be grandfathered unless a nuisance is created;
(3) Rule 05‑P41 for new outdoor wood boilers does not take effect until March 31, 2008, thereby giving fair warning to dealers and manufacturers;
(4) Rule 05‑P41 and 10 V.S.A. § 561 (variances) authorizes the secretary of natural resources, on application from an affected party, to extend the implementation date of the rule if the available technology cannot satisfy the air quality standards in the rule; and
(5) it is unlawful for a person to use an outdoor wood boiler, as it is for other wood‑burning equipment, to burn rubber, tires, plastics, common household waste, or hazardous waste of any kind, which when combusted often cause high levels of toxins to be emitted into our communities, in turn resulting in dirty and toxic air with complaints to municipal and state governments, and demands for stricter air quality rules. See 24 V.S.A. § 2201 (relating to enforcement of solid waste law violations and municipal enforcement) and 10 V.S.A. Chapters 23 and 159 and the rules adopted thereunder (relating to the definitions of solid waste).
Sec. 27. REPORT ON STATUS OF SPEED PROGRAM
By no later than January 15, 2008, the public service board shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with an evaluation of the likelihood of qualifying SPEED resources coming into service in time to meet the standards established in 30 V.S.A. § 8005(d), as amended by this act.
* * * Plumbing * * *
Sec. 28. 26 V.S.A. § 2192a(b) is amended to read:
(b) Specialty fields include the following:
* * *
(4) Solar System Specialist: Installation, replacement and repair of residential, industrial or commercial domestic solar heating systems for use as a supplemental or pre‑heat source. Systems shall include; passive or active design, collectors, storage tanks, heat exchangers, piping, safety devices and related materials. The Solar System Specialist shall only connect to new or existing domestic hot water supply tanks, including instantaneous heaters, as well as tanks or heat exchangers supplementing hydronic space heating systems. At no time shall a Solar System Specialist install, replace and repair any other part of a domestic hot water supply or hydronic space heating system.
* * * Affordability * * *
Sec. 29. 30 V.S.A. § 218(e) is added to read:
(e) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, the board, on its own motion or upon petition of any person, may issue an order approving a rate schedule, tariff, agreement, contract, or settlement that provides reduced rates for low income electric utility consumers better to assure affordability. For the purposes of this subsection, “low income electric utility consumer” means a customer who has a household income at or below 150 percent of the current federal poverty level. When considering whether to approve a rate schedule, tariff, agreement, contract, or settlement for low income electric utility consumers, the board shall take into account the potential impact on, and cost‑shifting to, other utility customers.
* * * Energy Efficiency Services Fund * * *
Sec. 30. 30 V.S.A. § 203a is added to read:
§ 203a. ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERVICES
(a) Purpose. The general assembly finds and determines that:
(1) it is the policy of the state to assure the efficient use of energy resources and cost‑effective demand management, as specified in section 202a of this title;
(2) a comprehensive state energy plan, as is specified in section 202b of this title, must be developed to implement this state energy policy;
(3) it is appropriate to build upon the work in reducing energy costs for Vermonters already done by the existing efficiency utility established under the authority of section 209 of this title, and to integrate that work into a broader program implemented through an expanded energy efficiency utility that will serve the needs of the people of the state in an even better manner;
(4) current energy efficiency programs are not designed to meet fully the thermal efficiency needs of consumers who rely on heating oil, kerosene, propane, and coal, as they are funded through efficiency charges that are currently assessed only on electricity and natural gas providers regulated by the board;
(5) with the scientific consensus that global climate change is caused in significant part by human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it is particularly important to reduce the extent to which these emissions result from the inefficient use of carbon‑containing fuels, regardless of the nature of the source;
(6) it is desirable for the state to lower the risk of high fuel prices and vulnerable supplies, while at the same time strengthening the Vermont economy by establishing a system to promote all forms of energy end‑use efficiency, comprehensive sustainable building design, and integrated renewable energy installations.
(b) Non‑electric energy efficiency fund. The public service board shall establish a non‑electric energy efficiency fund to be managed by a fund administrator appointed by the board under this section and subdivision 209(d)(3) of this title. The fund shall contain such sums as appropriated by the general assembly or as otherwise provided by law. Balances in the fund and interest earned shall be carried forward and remain in the fund at the end of each fiscal year.
(c) Use of the fund. The non‑electric energy efficiency services fund shall be used to support the delivery of energy efficiency services to Vermont heating and process fuel consumers of oil, kerosene, propane, coal, and wood; and to carry out cost‑effective efficiency measures and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from sectors other than, or in addition to, the regulated electricity and natural gas use sectors. These energy efficiency services shall be provided by the energy efficiency utility appointed by the board under subsection 209(d) of this title and operating in accordance with section 209 of this title.
(d) Review of adequacy of the fund.
(1) On or before January 15, 2011, the public service board shall report to the legislature on the expenditure of funds from the non‑electric energy efficiency services fund to meet the public’s needs for energy efficiency services.
(2) The report shall include a funding adequacy evaluation and funding recommendations which shall be developed through a collaborative process involving representatives of heating fuel dealers, electric and gas utilities, the expanded energy efficiency utility, the department of public service, residential and business consumer representatives, environmental advocates, the building industry, entities currently engaged in delivering weatherization services, and other stakeholders identified by the board.
(3) The funding adequacy evaluation shall address: the need for and availability of alternative revenue sources that may be dedicated to the non‑electric energy efficiency fund; the resources dedicated to energy efficiency purposes provided through electric and natural gas rates; an evaluation of potential cost‑effective energy efficiency investments and programs designed to meet the need for energy services through efficiency or conservation in all customer classes and areas of opportunity; the amount of funding necessary in order to realize all reasonably available, cost‑effective energy efficiency savings; and other factors to assure consistency with the purposes of this section and the goals of section 202a of this title.
(4) The funding recommendations shall be developed in a manner that accords an appropriate balance among the following objectives: reducing the size of future heating and process‑fuel purchases; reducing the generation of greenhouse gases; providing efficiency and conservation as a part of a comprehensive resource supply strategy; providing the opportunity for all Vermonters to participate in efficiency and conservation programs; providing that residential and commercial sector benefits generally shall be proportional to sector contributions to the extent such proportion can be determined; and targeting efficiency and conservation efforts to locations, markets, or customers where they may provide the greatest value.
* * * Revised Efficiency Utility Structure * * *
Sec. 31. REPORT ON REVISED STRUCTURE FOR ENERGY
Public service board report. By no later than December 15, 2007, the public service board shall present a report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the senate committee on finance, and the house committee on ways and means that contains a proposed revised energy efficiency utility structure, together with any proposed legislative changes that in its judgment will assist in the effective implementation of the revised efficiency utility. The board shall develop the proposal in a manner consistent with the provisions of 30 V.S.A. § 209 and in collaboration with representatives from heating fuel dealers, electric and gas utilities, the energy efficiency utility, the department of public service, consumer representatives, environmental advocates, the building industry, entities currently engaged in delivering weatherization services, and other stakeholders identified by the board. The report shall include options for ongoing funding of the expanded fossil fuel efficiency responsibilities of the energy efficiency utility.
Sec. 31a. OVERSIGHT OF EFFICIENCY UTILITY
(a) Legislative oversight. Final responsibility for establishing the proposed efficiency utility rests with the general assembly. The general assembly shall promptly review and give deliberate consideration to the proposal submitted by the board under Sec. 31 of this act, and take appropriate action. Unless the general assembly enacts legislation to the contrary by March 31, 2008, the efficiency utility shall become effective as provided by this act.
(b) Representation of ratepayers. The department of public service shall represent the interests of ratepayers in proceedings before the public service board involving the efficiency utility in a manner consistent with the provisions of 30 V.S.A. § 202a.
(c) Accountability. The public service board shall provide ongoing oversight in order to assure continued accountability of the efficiency utility, as required under 30 V.S.A. §§ 209 and 203a.
* * * Existing Efficiency Utility * * *
Sec. 32. 30 V.S.A. § 209 is amended to read:
§ 209. JURISDICTION; GENERAL SCOPE
* * *
(d)(1) The public service department, any entity appointed by the board under subdivision (2) of this subsection, all gas and electric utility companies, and the board upon its own motion, are encouraged to propose, develop, solicit, and monitor energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures, including appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards. Such programs and measures, and their implementation, may be approved by the board if it determines they will be beneficial to the ratepayers of the companies after such notice and hearings as the board may require by order or by rule.
(2) In place of utility‑specific
programs developed pursuant to section 218c of this title, the board
shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, provide for the
development, implementation, and monitoring of gas and electric energy
efficiency and conservation programs and measures including programs and
measures delivered in multiple service territories, by one or more entities
appointed by the board for these purposes appointing a qualified
entity as an energy efficiency utility. An appointment of an energy efficiency
utility shall be made under this section and section 203a of this title, on a
schedule that provides the energy efficiency utility adequate time to prepare
for the delivery of relevant services no later than January 1, 2009. Despite
this appointment, however, the board may allow the Burlington Electric
Department and the Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., and any successors in interest,
to continue to provide efficiency services within their respective service
territories. The As part of this appointment, the board may
shall include as eligible measures appropriate combined heat and
power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and
meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards. The
Except with regard to a transmission company, the board may specify that
the implementation of these programs and measures appointment of an
energy efficiency utility to deliver services within an electric utility’s
service territory satisfies a that electric utility’s
corresponding obligations, in whole or in part, under section 218c of this
title and under any prior orders of the board.
(3) In addition to its existing authority, the board may establish by order or rule a volumetric charge to customers for the support of energy efficiency programs that meet the requirements of section 218c of this title. The charge shall be known as the energy efficiency charge, shall be shown separately on each customer’s bill, and shall be paid to a fund administrator appointed by the board and deposited into an electric efficiency fund. When such a charge is shown, notice as to how to obtain information about energy efficiency programs approved under this section shall be provided in a manner directed by the board. This notice shall include, at a minimum, a toll free telephone number, and to the extent feasible shall be on the customer’s bill and near the energy efficiency charge. Balances in the electric efficiency fund shall be ratepayer funds, shall be used to support the activities authorized in this subdivision, and shall be carried forward and remain in the fund at the end of each fiscal year. These monies shall not be available to meet the general obligations of the state. Interest earned shall remain in the fund. The board will annually provide the legislature with a report detailing the revenues collected and the expenditures made for energy efficiency programs under this section.
(4) The charge established by the
board pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be in an amount
determined by the board by rule or order that is consistent with the principles
of least cost integrated planning as defined in section 218c of this title. As
circumstances and programs evolve, the amount of the charge shall be reviewed
for unrealized energy efficiency potential and shall be adjusted as necessary
in order to realize all reasonably available, cost‑effective energy
efficiency savings. In setting the amount of the charge and its allocation, the
board shall determine an appropriate balance among the following objectives; provided,
however, that particular emphasis shall be accorded to the first four of these
objectives: reducing the size of future power purchases; reducing the
generation of greenhouse gases; limiting the need to upgrade the state’s
transmission and distribution infrastructure; minimizing the costs of
electricity; providing efficiency and conservation as a part of a comprehensive
resource supply strategy; providing the opportunity for all Vermonters to
participate in efficiency and conservation programs; and the value of targeting
efficiency and conservation efforts to locations, markets or customers where
they may provide the greatest value. The board, by rule or order, shall
establish a process by which a customer
may apply to the board for an
exemption from some or all of the charges assessed under this subdivision. The
board shall establish criteria by which these applications shall be measured.
Any such exemption shall extend for a period of time not to exceed one year. In
addition, the board may authorize exemptions only if, at a minimum, a customer
demonstrates that, during the preceding year, it implemented an extraordinary
amount of cost‑effective energy efficiency at the customer’s own expense
or incurred extraordinary costs on those measures and the customer did not and
will not receive reimbursement for those measures from the entity designated by
the board under this section who pays an average annual energy
efficiency charge of at least $5,000.00 may apply to the board to self‑administer
energy efficiency through the use of an energy savings account which shall
contain a percentage of the customer’s energy efficiency charge payments as
determined by the board. The remaining portion of the charge shall be used for
system‑wide energy benefits. The board shall establish criteria for
approval of these applications.
(5) Effective January 1, 2009, an energy efficiency utility shall have the same unrestricted term of appointment and process for termination of appointment as is most common for electric and gas utilities in the state.
(e) The board shall:
(1) Ensure that all retail
consumers, regardless of retail electricity
or, gas, or
heating or process fuel provider, will have an opportunity to participate
in and benefit from a comprehensive set of cost‑effective energy
efficiency programs and initiatives designed to overcome barriers to
(2) Require that continued or improved efficiencies be made in the production, delivery, and use of energy efficiency services, including the use of compensation mechanisms for any energy efficiency utility that are based upon verified savings in energy usage and demand, and other performance targets specified by the board. The linkage between compensation and verified savings in energy usage and demand (and other performance targets) shall be reviewed and adjusted not less than triennially by the board.
(3) Build on the energy efficiency expertise and capabilities that have developed or may develop in the state.
(4) Promote program initiatives and market strategies that address the needs of persons or businesses facing the most significant barriers to participation.
(5) Promote coordinated program delivery, including coordination with low income weatherization programs, other efficiency programs, and utility programs.
(6) Consider innovative approaches to delivering energy efficiency, including strategies to encourage third party financing and customer contributions to the cost of efficiency measures.
(7) Provide a reasonably stable
multiyear budget and planning cycle
and in order to promote
program improvement, program stability, enhanced access to capital and
personnel, improved integration of program designs with the budgets of
regulated companies providing energy services, and maturation of programs
and delivery resources.
(8) Approve programs, measures, and delivery mechanisms that reasonably reflect current and projected market conditions, technological options, and environmental benefits.
(9) Provide for delivery of these programs as rapidly as possible, taking into consideration the need for these services, and cost‑effective delivery mechanisms.
(10) Provide for the independent evaluation of programs delivered under subsection (d) of this section and those delivered under section 203a of this title.
(11) Require that any entity
appointed by the board under subsection (d) of this section deliver
board‑approved programs in an effective, efficient, timely, and competent
manner and meet standards that are consistent with those in section 218c of
this title, the board’s orders in public service board docket 5270, and any
relevant board orders in subsequent energy efficiency proceedings.
(12) Require verification, on or before January 1, 2003, and every three years thereafter, by an independent auditor of the reported energy and capacity savings and cost‑effectiveness of programs delivered by any entity appointed by the board to deliver energy efficiency programs under subdivision (d)(2) of this section and under section 203a of this title.
(13) Ensure that any energy efficiency program approved by the board shall be reasonable and cost‑effective.
(14) Consider the impact on retail electric rates and bills of programs delivered under subsection (d) of this section and the impact on fuel prices and bills of programs delivered under section 203a of this title.
(15) Ensure that the energy efficiency utility promotes strategies that shall be designed to make continuous progress by promoting all forms of energy end‑use efficiency and comprehensive sustainable building design. The program may utilize performance‑based compensation. The program administrator may secure and administer revenue from other sources.
(f) Appointment of, oversight of, and revenue determinations for such an energy efficiency utility shall fall within the regulatory powers and jurisdiction of the board and, as is the case regarding the regulation of the revenues, terms, and conditions of service and compensation of gas and electric utilities, shall not be considered a contractual activity of the state.
(g) No later than January 1, 2009, consistent with the provisions of subsections (d), (e), and (f) of this section, the board shall adopt a revised structure for an efficiency utility in order to:
(1) establish processes for the appointment and revocation of appointment to serve as the energy efficiency utility similar to those in effect for regulated utilities in Vermont;
(2) provide for regulatory oversight by the board and the department of public service that is appropriate to the structure and purpose of the expanded energy efficiency utility;
(3) base some of the expanded energy efficiency utility’s compensation on verified savings in energy usage and demand and on other performance targets specified by the board and consistent with the provisions of section 202a of this title;
(4) clarify the relationship between the energy efficiency utility and the City of Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., or any successors in interest, under which the city and the Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., or any successors in interest, may continue to provide some or all energy efficiency services in their respective service territories if approved by the board;
(5) continue the delivery of electric efficiency programs consistent with the relevant provisions of subsection (e) of this section;
(6) expand the energy efficiency utility’s responsibilities to include thermal efficiency and the development of comprehensive building efficiency strategies to promote all forms of energy end‑use efficiency and comprehensive sustainable building design;
(7) provide for appropriate notice to customers on means to obtain information about energy efficiency programs approved under this section;
(8) determine what, if any, regulatory authority over fuel dealers that the board or department of public service, or both, may require in order to implement the expansion of the energy efficiency utility’s responsibilities set forth in this section and section 203a of this title; and
(9) permit the energy efficiency utility independently to report and recommend to the board, the general assembly, and the public measures and policies intended to achieve the purposes of section 202a of this title, and, more generally, the purposes of this title.
(h) The public service board may prescribe, by rule or order, standards for the labeling of electricity delivered or intended for delivery to ultimate consumers as to price, terms, sources and objective environmental impacts, along with such procedures as it deems necessary for verification of information contained in such labels. The public service board may prescribe, by rule or by order, standards and criteria for the substantiation of such labeling or of any claims regarding the price, terms, sources and environmental impacts of electricity delivered or intended for delivery to ultimate consumers in Vermont, along with enforcement procedures and penalties. When establishing standards for the labeling of electricity, the board shall weigh the cost, as well as the benefits, of compliance with such standards. With respect to companies distributing electricity to ultimate consumers, the board may order disclosure and publication, not to occur more than once each year, of any labeling required pursuant to the standards established by this subsection. Standards established under this subsection may include provisions for:
* * *
* * * Coordination with Efficiency Utility * * *
Sec. 33. 30 V.S.A. § 218c(b) is amended to read:
(b) Each regulated electric or gas company shall prepare and implement a least cost integrated plan for the provision of energy services to its Vermont customers. In preparing the efficiency portion of an integrated plan, a regulated company shall consult with any entity appointed by the board to deliver energy efficiency services under subdivision 209(d)(2) of this title or under section 203a of this title. Proposed plans shall be submitted to the department of public service and the public service board. The board, after notice and opportunity for hearing, may approve a company’s least cost integrated plan if it determines that the company’s plan complies with the requirements of subdivision (a)(1) of this section.
Sec. 34. FORWARD CAPACITY MARKET REVENUES; ENERGY
Net revenues above costs associated with payments from the New England Independent System Operator (ISO‑NE) for capacity savings resulting from the activities of the energy efficiency utility designated under 30 V.S.A. § 209(d)(3) shall be used to further the ability to undertake cost‑effective energy efficiency activities that will reduce Vermont energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The priority for use of these funds shall be to develop, support, and implement mechanisms designed to provide positive cash flow financing for energy efficiency investments. These investments shall be supervised by the public service board. Beginning January 1, 2009, these funds shall be deposited into the non‑electric energy efficiency fund established under 30 V.S.A. § 203a(b).
* * * Low Income Weatherization * * *
Sec. 35. 33 V.S.A. § 2501(d)–(i) are added to read:
(d) This fund shall be used solely for the purpose of funding weatherization services to low income Vermonters. Borrowing from the fund to provide cash flow assistance to LIHEAP, or enhancement of the LIHEAP program if unmet need is determined to be critical, may be authorized by the general assembly if it is determined that such borrowing will not affect cash flow to the weatherization contractors. Provisions for repayment of borrowed funds must be made by the end of the fiscal year in which they were borrowed.
(e) A full annual accounting of the revenues and expenditures of the weatherization trust fund will be provided by the agency of administration to the house and senate committees on appropriations and on natural resources and energy.
(f) The low income weatherization program will be guided by a five‑year plan that is drafted with the specific purpose of improving continuously the comfort, safety, and affordability in low income housing and to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas generation in that housing. The plan shall describe a five‑year strategy, with a three‑year detailed work plan. Each year, the strategy and the work plan shall be updated by one year. The initial plan and subsequent updates will be developed by a weatherization oversight committee, working cooperatively with the office of economic opportunity. The weatherization oversight committee will be composed of: three representatives, including two representatives of weatherization contractors and one director of a community action program appointed by the Vermont community action directors association; a representative appointed by the energy efficiency utility provided for in 30 V.S.A. § 209; a low income representative appointed by the Vermont low income advocacy council; a representative appointed by the Vermont housing finance agency; a representative of the department of public service; a representative of a local or regional nonprofit land trust that develops affordable housing appointed by the housing and conservation board; a representative from the office of home heating assistance; a member of the Vermont house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house; a member of the senate, appointed by the committee on committees of the senate; a representative of renewable energy installers, to be appointed by renewable energy Vermont; a representative with expertise in climate change reduction appointed by the joint energy committee; a representative of the workforce development council; and a representative of the office of economic opportunity. The office of economic opportunity shall provide support and full drafting assistance to the weatherization oversight committee in the production of this plan and required updates.
(g) The initial plan shall be completed and provided to the general assembly by December 20, 2007. The plan shall include the following:
(1) A five‑year strategy to ensure stable financing and capacity‑building in the regional weatherization programs, including a plan for ramp‑up of services consistent with sound management practices.
(2) A full examination of the effect of the federal Department of Energy rules guiding the federal portion of weatherization funds that now also guide the use of state funds, and steps that could be taken with the state funds to expand the number of units served, the comprehensiveness of services offered, and the greenhouse gas reduction effect of the program. This will include, where appropriate, the potential for revisions in eligibility, both statewide and by region.
(3) A comprehensive strategy to use the weatherization program to reduce the rapidly increasing annual requirements for LIHEAP funds.
(4) A full discussion of efficiencies and improved services to be gained in continuing coordination with Efficiency Vermont, with energy efficiency programs of the Burlington electric department and Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., and any successors in interest, and with any other partnerships that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program.
(5) Full consideration of strategies and documentation that may be required to secure any greenhouse gas cap‑and‑trade revenues for furtherance of the program.
(6) Strategies for appropriate use of renewable energy technologies to secure long‑term affordability for low income households.
(7) Financing strategies that might leverage other funds to increase efficiency and renewable energy investment in low income housing.
(8) Estimation of job training requirements to implement the plan, how they may be met, and the role of weatherization programs in providing training for their own programs and for the expanded efficiency utility program as well.
(9) A comprehensive plan for evaluation of the program, documentation of savings and other benefits, and regular reporting to the general assembly.
(h) On or before January 30 of each year, the office of economic opportunity shall make a report to the house and senate committees on appropriations and on natural resources and energy utilizing existing resources within state government available in the office of economic opportunity’s weatherization data management system that compiles performance data available on households weatherized in the past year to include:
(1) number of households weatherized;
(2) average program expenditure per household for energy efficiency;
(3) average percent energy savings;
(4) energy and nonenergy benefits combined;
(5) benefits saved for every dollar spent;
(6) average savings per unit for heating fuels;
(7) gallons of oil saved related to equivalent number of homes heated;
(8) projected number of households to be weatherized in the current program year; and
(9) projected program expenditures for the current program year ending March 31.
(i) The office of economic opportunity may implement administrative changes to the operation of the low income weatherization program that are within its authority to make, prior to submitting the plan. All such changes will be described in the plan.
* * * Energy Planning * * *
Sec. 36. 30 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:
§ 202. ELECTRICAL ENERGY PLANNING
(a) The department of public
service, through the director for regulated utility planning, shall constitute
the responsible utility planning agency of the state for the purpose of
obtaining for all consumers in the state proper utility service at minimum cost
under efficient and economical management consistent with other public policy
of the state. The director shall be responsible for the provision of plans for
meeting emerging trends related to electrical energy demand, supply, safety
conservation, environmental impacts, and continuing reductions in the
generation of greenhouse gases in the production or use of energy.
(b) The department, through the director, shall prepare an electrical energy plan for the state. The plan shall be for a 20‑year period and shall serve as a basis for state electrical energy policy. The electric energy plan shall be based on the principles of “least cost integrated planning” set out in and developed under section 218c of this title. The plan shall include at a minimum:
(1) an overview, looking
20 years ahead, of statewide growth and development as they relate to
future requirements for electrical energy, including patterns of urban
expansion, statewide and service area economic growth, shifts in transportation
modes, modifications in housing types and design, conservation,
environmental impacts, the increasing global importance of continual reductions
in the generation of greenhouse gases, and other trends and factors which,
as determined by the director, will significantly affect state electrical
energy policy and programs;
(2) an assessment of all energy resources available to the state for electrical generation or to supply electrical power, including among others, fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro‑electric, biomass, wind, fuel cells, and solar energy and strategies for minimizing the economic and environmental costs of energy supply, including the production of pollutants and greenhouse gases, by means of efficiency and emission improvements, fuel shifting, and other appropriate means;
(3) estimates of the projected level of electrical energy demand, the projected level of pollution, and the projected level of greenhouse gases generated as a byproduct of the generation of electrical energy;
(4) a detailed exposition, including capital requirements and the estimated cost to consumers, of how such demand shall be met and how the generation of pollutants, including greenhouse gases, may be continually reduced, based on the assumptions made in subdivision (1) of this subsection and the policies set out in subsection (c) of this section; and
(5) specific strategies for reducing electric rates and for reducing the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate five‑year period, for the next succeeding five‑year period, and long‑term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates and generation of pollution including greenhouse gases over the full 20‑year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont.
(c) In developing the plan, the department shall take into account the protection of public health and safety; preservation of environmental quality; the potential for reduction of rates paid by all retail electricity customers; the potential for reduction of electrical demand through conservation, including alternative utility rate structures; use of load management technologies; efficiency of electrical usage; utilization of waste heat from generation; and utility assistance to consumers in energy conservation. The department shall place an emphasis upon continuing reductions in the generation of pollution, including greenhouse gases.
(d) In establishing plans, the director shall:
(1) Consult with:
* * *
(J) an entity designated to meet the public’s need for energy efficiency services under subdivision 218c(a)(2) of this title or designated under section 203a of this title;
* * *
(2) To the extent necessary,
include in the plan surveys to determine needed and desirable plant
improvements and extensions and coordination between utility systems, joint
construction of facilities by two or more utilities, methods of operations, and
any change that will produce better service
or, reduce costs,
or reduce pollution, including the generation of greenhouse gases. To this
end, the director may require the submission of data by each company subject to
supervision, of its anticipated electrical demand, including load fluctuation,
supplies, costs, the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases,
and its plan to meet that demand and reduce that pollution including
greenhouse gas emissions, together with such other information as the
director deems desirable.
(3) Work in conjunction with the energy efficiency utility designated under subsection 209(d) of this title or under section 203a of this title to develop 20‑year projections for efficiency programs administered by that utility and to incorporate those projections into the state electrical energy plan.
* * *
(f) After adoption by the department of a final plan, any company seeking board authority to make investments, to finance, to site or construct a generation or transmission facility or to purchase electricity or rights to future electricity, shall notify the department of the proposed action and request a determination by the department whether the proposed action is consistent with the plan. In its determination whether to permit the proposed action, the board shall consider the department’s determination of its consistency with the plan along with all other factors required by law or relevant to the board’s decision on the proposed action. If the proposed action is inconsistent with the plan, the board may nevertheless authorize the proposed action if it finds that there is good cause to do so. To the extent that the inconsistency entails an excessive generation of greenhouse gases, the board may authorize the proposed action only if it finds that there is compelling reason to do so. The department shall be a party to any proceeding on the proposed action, except that this section shall not be construed to require a hearing if not otherwise required by law.
* * *
Sec. 37. 30 V.S.A. § 202a is amended to read:
§ 202a. STATE ENERGY POLICY
It is the general policy of the state of Vermont:
(1) To assure, to the greatest
extent practicable, that Vermont can meet its energy service needs in a manner
that is adequate, reliable, secure, and sustainable; that assures
affordability and encourages the state’s economic vitality, continuing and
substantial reductions in the generation of pollution including greenhouse
gases, the efficient use of energy resources and
cost effective cost‑effective
demand side management; and that is environmentally sound.
(2) To identify and evaluate on an ongoing basis, resources that will meet Vermont’s energy service needs in accordance with the principles of least cost integrated planning; including efficiency, conservation and load management alternatives, wise use of renewable resources, continuing and substantial reductions in the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases, and environmentally sound energy supply.
Sec. 38. 30 V.S.A. § 202b is amended to read:
§ 202b. STATE COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN
(a) The department of public service, in conjunction with other state agencies designated by the governor, shall prepare a comprehensive state energy 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) A comprehensive analysis and projections regarding the use, cost, supply, and environmental effects of all forms of energy resources used within Vermont and regarding all pollution including greenhouse gases generated within the state, including the state’s progress in meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals established in 10 V.S.A. § 578.
(2) Recommendations for state implementation actions, regulation, legislation, and other public and private action to carry out the comprehensive energy plan.
* * *
* * * Biodiesel * * *
Sec. 39. USE OF BIODIESEL IN STATE OFFICE BUILDINGS, STATE GARAGES, AND THE STATE VEHICLE FLEET
(a) Definitions. As used in this section:
(1) “Biodiesel blend” means a blend of biodiesel fuel and petroleum diesel fuel or petroleum heating fuel that contains at least two percent biodiesel fuel by volume.
(2) “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.
(b) On or before January 15, 2008, the department of buildings and general services, department of public service, and agency of transportation jointly shall submit a report to the house and senate committees on institutions, the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the house and senate committees on transportation, the house and senate committees on agriculture, the house committee on commerce, the house committee on ways and means, and the senate committee on finance with recommendations on increasing the use of biodiesel blends in state office buildings, state garages, and in the state transportation fleet.
(1) The portion of the report prepared by the department of buildings and general services shall contain:
(A) A summary of the current use of biodiesel blends in state office buildings.
(B) Recommendations on how to increase the use of biodiesel blends in all state office buildings, wherever feasible, to at least five percent biodiesel (B5) by December 31, 2008, and to at least 10 percent biodiesel (B10) by 2012.
(C) A summary of any obstacles to increasing biodiesel use in state buildings.
(D) A proposed work plan to increase biodiesel use.
(2) The portion of the report prepared by the department of public service shall contain:
(A) A summary of the biodiesel fuel production capacity, storage facilities, and distribution facilities currently available in Vermont.
(B) Recommendations for increasing biodiesel fuel production, storage facilities, and distribution facilities.
(C) A summary of current information on the performance of biodiesel blends for use as heating fuel and as a motor vehicle fuel.
(D) A summary of the national and regional quality assurance and quality control measures in use for blending biodiesel fuel.
(E) A proposed work plan to increase biodiesel use.
(3) The portion of the report prepared by the agency of transportation shall contain:
(A) A summary of the current use of biodiesel blends in state garages and the state transportation fleet.
(B) Recommendations on how to increase the use of biodiesel blends in state garages and in the state transportation fleet, wherever feasible, to at least five percent biodiesel (B5) by December 31, 2008, and to at least 10 percent biodiesel (B10) by 2012.
(C) A summary of any obstacles to increasing biodiesel use in state garages and the state transportation fleet.
(D) A proposed work plan to increase biodiesel use.
(c) The department of public service, with representatives of the department of buildings and general services and the agency of transportation present, shall conduct at least one public hearing to review the draft report and to solicit comments prior to finalizing the report.
* * * Energy Efficiency Mortgages * * *
Sec. 40. ENERGY EFFICIENCY MORTGAGES
On or before January 15, 2008, the Vermont housing finance agency and the Vermont economic development authority, respectively, shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the house committee on commerce, and the senate committee on finance regarding the feasibility of establishing programs to support energy efficiency residential and commercial building mortgages of up to 15 percent of the appraised value of a dwelling or commercial building for energy saving improvements, weatherization, or energy efficiency for which the monthly mortgage or loan payment does not exceed the likely reduction in utility and heating costs for the dwelling or commercial building.
Sec. 41. 10 V.S.A. § 6025(f) is added to read:
(f) The land use panel, in consultation with the efficiency utility established under 30 V.S.A. § 209(d) or § 203a shall adopt rules to assure that the requirements of subdivision 6086(a)(9)(F) of this title are in concert with the evolution of land use design and planning concepts that occurs in response to global climate change. Other factors to be considered by the land use panel shall include the potential for solar orientation of buildings and increases in fuel prices that shorten lifecycle payback periods for energy efficiency measures. These rules shall thereby assure the identification and implementation of the best available technology for the efficient use or recovery of energy. Rules adopted under this subsection shall complement residential and commercial building energy standards accorded presumptive weight under this chapter and shall specifically address areas not covered by those standards.
* * Transportation * * *
Sec. 42. STUDY ON INCENTIVES FOR EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION
(a) There is established a study committee on incentives for efficient transportation. The committee shall include two members of the house appointed by the speaker, one each from the committees on transportation and on natural resources and energy, and two members of the senate appointed by the committee on committees, one each from the committees on transportation and on natural resources and energy. The first member appointed from the senate and the first member appointed from the house jointly shall convene the committee. In addition, the governor, in consultation with the particular interest group in question, shall appoint one representative each from the following: the automobile dealers association; the truck and bus association; the Vermont association of planning and development agencies; the business community; the environmental community; the commission on climate change; and the public transit association. Other members shall include the secretary of transportation, or a designee; the commissioner of environmental conservation, or a designee; and the commissioner of motor vehicles, or a designee.
(b) By December 15, 2007, the committee shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and on transportation, to the house committee on ways and means, and to the senate committee on finance with:
(1) Recommendations regarding the use of financial incentives and disincentives that would encourage consumers to purchase vehicles that result in lesser amounts of emissions that contribute to climate change.
(2) An analysis of the role of motor vehicles in creating and contributing to air contaminants in Vermont, and a determination of what portion of overall statewide energy consumption is due to the use of motor vehicles.
(3) Recommendations regarding policy options that would encourage and reward efficient transportation, including supporting alternative modes of transportation.
(4) Recommendations regarding state purchase of motor vehicles and fuels that favor fuel efficiency and improve air quality.
(5) Recommendations for public education regarding clean and efficient transportation.
(6) An analysis of air quality within the state with regard to compliance with national ambient air quality standards, and the prospects of air quality within the state not remaining in attainment of these standards. This analysis should include the impact of nonattainment with the Clean Air Act standards on the health of Vermonters, transpo rtation investment and operations, and business development.
(7) Other recommendations regarding the efficient use of transportation services.
(c) The committee shall be entitled to administrative support from the joint fiscal office and the legislative council.
(d) Legislative members shall be entitled to compensation as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406. The committee may meet up to four times.
* * * Right to Conserve Energy * * *
Sec. 43. 9 V.S.A. chapter 138 is added to read:
Chapter 138. Right to CONSERVE ENERGY
§ 4481. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
The general assembly finds that prohibiting or limiting the ability of people voluntarily to conserve energy is contrary to the public interest. It is the purpose of this chapter to encourage energy conservation by discouraging governmental regulations and practices and private contracts which restrict the use of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy saving devices, or that impede non‑motorized transportation on state and town highways.
§ 4482. TRIENNIAL REPORT ON LIMITATIONS ON RIGHT TO CONSERVE ENERGY
By no later than January 1, 2008, and triennially thereafter, the commissioner of housing and community affairs shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy regarding the extent to which private covenants within the state, in general, restrict the use of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy saving devices, together with any related recommendations on that issue.
* * * Green Building, Efficiency, and
Renewable Energy Workforce Development * * *
Sec. 44. GREEN BUILDING, EFFICIENCY, AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
(a) Legislative Findings. Vermont must implement a comprehensive green building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy workforce development plan in order to fill the well‑paying jobs that will stay in Vermont and are essential to meeting the needs of the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry in order to meet our goals in regard to global climate change.
(b) Workforce development plan. The commissioner of labor shall develop a green building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy workforce development plan, in consultation with representatives to include the following: the apprenticeship program; the building trades; the Vermont workforce development council; the association of weatherization contractors; Efficiency Vermont; Vermont Technical College; the association of general contractors; associated industries of Vermont; Vermont businesses for social responsibility; Vermont fuel dealers association; the coalition for workforce solutions; Renewable Energy Vermont; Vermont small business development centers; the association of vocational‑technical schools; the association of adult service coordinators; Vermont green building network; and the green institute for the advancement of sustainability.
(c) Contents of plan. The plan developed under this section shall be included in a written report that shall be presented on or before March 1, 2008 to the house committees on commerce and on ways and means and to the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on finance. The plan shall include:
(1) Comprehensive recommendations for recruiting and training individuals for employment in the green building and renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. The recommendations shall include goals for secondary and postsecondary schools, other educational institutions, workforce development organizations, and apprenticeship programs.
(2) Recommendations for expanding certification programs for green builders and designers and installers of energy efficiency and renewable energy devices and systems.
(3) Recommendations for incorporating energy efficiency and renewable energy training into apprenticeship and other training programs for electricians, plumbers, and other skilled trades persons.
(4) Curricula for business development training and technical assistance for businesses that include green builders, energy efficiency designers and developers, and manufacturers of renewable energy and energy efficiency products.
(5) Enhanced training programs for green builders and designers and weatherization professionals, including how to utilize state‑of‑the‑art tools and materials.
Sec. 45. REPORT ON ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDING INCENTIVES;
COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN UPDATE
(a) The department of public service, in consultation with the efficiency utility, shall work with representatives of the buildings trades, architects, real estate sales professionals, bankers, nonprofit housing providers, and other interested persons to develop recommendations to the general assembly with regard to:
(1) How best to create incentives to encourage the economic development likely to accompany the voluntary use of residential and commercial building practices and material that are best suited to limit the amount of energy consumed and greenhouse gases generated, without creating hardships among the users of the building.
(2) How to assure or facilitate the installation of appropriate and substantial weatherization, particularly with regard to multiple dwellings, rental property, and other instances in which the owner may lack incentives to weatherize because energy costs are paid by a tenant; including the advisability of creating weatherization requirements that must be met at the time of sale.
(3) How to encourage or require better disclosure of building energy efficiency and weatherization leading up to the time of sale of the building.
(b) As part of the next update to the state comprehensive energy plan required by 30 V.S.A. § 202b, the department of public service shall evaluate and make specific recommendations on:
(1) How to increase the energy efficiency of Vermont’s built environment, including strategies to increase the efficiency of new and existing residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, including industrial processes.
(2) How to assure or facilitate the installation of appropriate and substantial weatherization, particularly with regard to multiple dwellings, rental property, and other instances in which the owner may lack incentives to weatherize because energy costs are paid by a tenant; including the advisability of creating weatherization requirements that must be met at the time of sale.
(3) How to encourage or require better disclosure of building energy efficiency and weatherization leading up to the time of sale of the building.
Sec. 46. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect upon passage, except that Sec. 30, adding 30 V.S.A. § 203a, shall take effect upon March, 31, 2008 and except as otherwise provided in Sec. 17b.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street