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Vermont Senate Passes H446 with FITs

Article by: Paul Gipe


Vermont’s state Senate passed H. 446 on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency May 5. The bill contains provisions for a system of feed-in tariffs.

The action by Vermont is the first time that a state has moved a comprehensive system of feed-in tariffs, similar to those found in Europe, through both legislative chambers.

H. 446 creates a series of standard tariffs designed to encourage the rapid development of renewable energy technologies. The tariffs are based on the cost of generation plus a reasonable profit. As the technology progresses, Vermont renewable energy advocates expect the tariffs will be decreased. The bill directs the Vermont Public Service Board to review and reset the tariffs every two years.

Implementing standard tariffs for renewable energy sources will “jumpstart the development of renewable energy projects across Vermont,” said Senator Peter Shumlin, President Pro Tempore, in a release on the bill’s passage.

The bill also encourages the development of wind energy on state-owned lands.

H. 466 now returns to the House for concurrence of changes made in the Senate. If the House concurs, the bill will move to Governor Jim Douglas where the outcome remains uncertain. The Governor can either sign the bill or veto it. If the bill is vetoed, the legislature can try to overrule the Governor.

There are several bills on feed-in tariffs in state legislatures across the US. However, only Washington State and California have previously passed legislation on feed-in tariffs. Both states have implemented simplified feed-in tariffs. Washington State’s policy depends upon voluntary compliance and uniquely specifies tariffs based on domestic content. California’s ineffective single tariff is based on estimates of the wholesale avoided cost.

Development and passage of H. 466 was a major campaign of Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) says REVs Andrew Perchlik.

Vermont was a leader in renewable energy in the 1970s and passage of H. 466 puts the small state back in the forefront of renewable energy policy in North America.

H. 446 Status

H.446 as Passed Senate