Gov. Peter Shumlin, Public Service Commissioner Elizabeth Miller and other administration officials today released the final Comprehensive Energy Plan, which recommends that Vermont strive to obtain 90 percent of our total energy from renewable sources by 2050, largely eliminating Vermont's reliance on fossil fuels by mid-century.
"Vermont needs to move forward to protect our environment, gain greater energy independence, and drive innovation and jobs in the energy sectors. This Plan puts us on that path," Gov. Shumlin said. "I am proud of the incredible work put in by the many agencies involved and the thousands of citizens who took the time to participate in shaping the ideas and actions that are included."
The Plan calls for enhanced efficiency, and greater use of clean, renewable sources for electricity, heating and transportation to meet this goal. The Plan also recognizes that Vermont must pursue its goals responsibly, ensuring overall energy costs for our businesses and residents remain regionally competitive.
"We worked hard both at the Department of Public Service and in other state agencies and departments to create a robust public engagement process and to draft a Comprehensive Energy Plan that responds to Vermonters' desire to increase usage of renewable energy for the benefit of our environment, our economy, and our long-term energy security," said Elizabeth Miller, Commissioner of Public Service.
The Plan explains that, across all fuel sectors, Vermont currently utilizes about a quarter renewable energy for its needs. Moving from nearly a quarter renewable energy now to nearly fossil-fuel free by 2050 will:
· Foster job growth, economic security and independence by creating jobs in efficiency and local renewable energy projects; by keeping our dollars closer to home; and by cutting our dependence on dirty price-volatile fossil fuels.
· Safeguard our environmental legacy by reducing our contribution to global climate change and leading by example in the fight to keep our planet safe and habitable for generations to come.
· Keep Vermonters' dollar instate, drive in-state innovation and job creation by showing that investments in efficiency and renewable energy, which help our environment and energy independence, also help our economy.
· Increase community involvement and investment by engaging Vermonters in our energy choices.
This marks the first Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan since the late 1990s. The Plan covers electricity, heating and process fuels, and energy in transportation and land use decisions.
The Department of Public Service, charged by statute to create a statewide Plan, led a multi-agency initiative that involved robust public outreach and garnered over 9,000 comments from Vermonters on a variety of energy issues facing the state.
Vermont currently obtains almost a quarter of its energy from renewable sources, due in large part to the electric portfolio, which is comprised of nearly 50 percent renewable sources. Great progress has been made in electric efficiency, keeping Vermont's electric demand down.
However, comparatively little progress has been made on obtaining transportation and heating from renewable sources. The Plan calls for greater progress in these sectors to benefit Vermont's environment, comfort, and affordability.