Vermont Clean Heat Standard

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,696
Northern NH
Vermont has decided to go "green" for heating. They passed the Green Heat Standard which forces firms that sell fossil fuels to buy or create "Clean Heat Credits". https://www.vpr.org/vpr-news/2022-0...ll-aimed-at-reducing-emissions-from-buildings. This applies from big suppliers down to mom and pop oil dealers. In theory it will be pass through to the consumer. So someone who buys fossil heating oil will be paying some sort of surcharge to the dealer to either buy these credits or create their own by paying to reduce fossil use elsewhere in the state. Not sure how the numbers work but in theory if they get one household to reduce their fossil usage by subsidizing an electric heat pump, that creates a credit that is used to offset sale of fossil fuel. Same thing applies if they get a pellet boiler installed. The dealer also in theory could go to a biodiesel blend but contrary to popular belief, there is not that much used fryer oil out to make biodiesel and the used oil from restaurants and other sources is in great demand. The only current source of biodiesel in large quantities is made with Indonesian palm oil and that source is definitely not regarded as "green" by most groups. Wood heat is still regarded as green, although some environmental groups are fighting that assumption, so I expect the demand for wood stoves and wood will go up along with hack installs and inevitable chimney fires. Vermont's electric grid and local distribution systems in general are relatively unreliable and winter temps are too low for heat pumps without a backup.

Note there is some natural gas in the state but most rural areas do not have it as the housing density is too low and installation costs high so heating oil is the primary heat.

My guess is the mom and pop oil dealers servicing rural customers will probably close up shop while larger dealers take over the market reducing competition. It will probably increase the gap between "haves" and "have nots" in the state, There is a lot of very old housing stock in the rural areas hidden away in the less affluent areas of the state that depend on fuel subsidies to heat their homes as the cost to tighten them up and replace the heating system is unaffordable for either the owner or the landlord. Many of those homes require near gutting to get them to the point where they can be heated efficiently. My guess is the more modern housing will get the lions share of the money and the rural homes will get ignored.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,588
SE North Carolina
The credit idea in principal should work. I favor a refundable tax and or tax exempt status for qualifying persons. Spending the revenue on upgrade incentives and grants. The credit market just adds complexity and a couple extra layers of involvement that will each get their cut. (Just my opinion there)

I get the want to incentivize but how do you keep generating credits. The reduction of newly created credits must be intentional. You can only weatherize once every 10-20 years and a heatpump about the same. I’m with you in thinking this will increase prices forcing some to turn to wood for heat. But probably not in well a planned manner resulting in inefficient and and unsafe burning.

I think it’s just speeding up the timeline of the inevitable. Small oil dealers will see shrinking sales as we slowly transition way from fossil fuels.
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think they shuttered their nuke plant a few years ago.

They better start working on pushing insulation or their policies will start killing old people. Poor folks on fixed income having to decide between medications and heat.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,696
Northern NH
Vermont Yankee is mostly torn down at this point. There are two biomass power plants in the state, one in Burlington and one in Ryegate. Not sure why but they are going to stop buying power from Ryegate and it will close. The only other generation in the state are small hydro and some wind farms. I think most of the power is coming in from Canada. Its branded "clean canadian hydro" but arguably is just shell game on how clean it is.

Many laws in VT are written by special interests who end up setting up businesses to profit from them.
 

Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
682
Branford, CT
Vermont Yankee is mostly torn down at this point. There are two biomass power plants in the state, one in Burlington and one in Ryegate. Not sure why but they are going to stop buying power from Ryegate and it will close. The only other generation in the state are small hydro and some wind farms. I think most of the power is coming in from Canada. Its branded "clean canadian hydro" but arguably is just shell game on how clean it is.

Many laws in VT are written by special interests who end up setting up businesses to profit from them.
I think VT gets like 60% of its electricity from Hydro Quebec. The environmental impact from hauling all that heating oil and propane around a rural cold mountainous state must be huge. I think I read VT gets most of its gas,oil and propane by barge and rail up the Hudson and then its trucked in.

Have you ever seen how cheap the rates are up there? I just looked and the first 40 daily kwh are billed at .06 kwh with a tiny monthly service charge according the the hydro Quebec website. MA, RI, and CT are paying 4 times that rate at over .25 kwh. VT must get a good deal on that power as they are they currently have the cheapest electricity in New England according to the EIA. Also, I just looked and heating oil is around $5 a gallon right now in VT. A heat pump would save you thousands alone 1 winter at those rates.
 
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