MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin recently signed into law the 2012 Energy Bill, which contains a groundbreaking acknowledgment of the locational benefits of distributed generation and more than doubles the amount clean local energy that will be brought online through the state’s CLEAN program.
The new law expands Vermont’s statewide CLEAN Program, known locally as the Standard Offer program, from 50 MW to 127.5 MW. Notably, the capacity of any distributed generation facility that provides “sufficient benefits to the operation and management of the electric grid” as a result of its location or other characteristics will not count towards the overall program cap of 127.5 MW. Therefore, no limit exists on the amount of clean local energy that can come online from facilities providing sufficient locational benefits.
The recognition of locational benefits by Vermont legislators is a major step towards broader awareness of the true value of distributed generation. Clean local energy projects alleviate transmission and distribution constraints, while also avoiding the inefficient and expensive long-distance transmission of energy.
As a leading advocate for the recognition of locational benefits in California, the Clean Coalition provided policy support to Vermont-based clean energy organizations actively engaged in the legislative process.
“The Clean Coalition’s invaluable work, made available to all through their online publications, clearly illuminated to state legislators the transmission and distribution benefits and peak load savings provided by distributed generation power stations,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. “The legislative emphasis on T&D and peak load benefits would not have remained in this bill without their help.”
Around the country, an increasing number of cities and states are turning to CLEAN Programs as a proven policy tool to rapidly deploy cost-effective clean local energy and to give community members opportunities for participating in the clean energy economy. New programs were recently announced by Los Angeles and Palo Alto, Calif., and Long Island, N.Y.
“Vermont legislators have listened to the farmers and local business owners who called for expansion of Vermont’s CLEAN program,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition. “This bill shows a viable pathway for states across the country to procure clean local energy and illuminates the significant locational benefits associated with generating wholesale energy close to where energy is used."