EZ Policies for Vermont
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|Policy||Place||Policy Type||Active||Implementing Sector||Summary|
|401 Certification (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||A 401 Certification is required for any project that triggers a federal permit or license. Examples include licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and any project which requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging or placement of fill in federally protected waters or wetlands. Hydroelectric projects subject to FERC licensing and re-licensing require a 401. Projects must comply with the Clean Water Act, the Vermont Water Quality Standards and any other requirements of state law.|
|Air Pollution Control Permit to Construct and Permit to Operate (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||The Air Pollution Control Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation requires a permit for electrical power generation facilities that are air contaminant sources. An Air Pollution Control Permit to Construct may be required prior to commencing construction of the facility. Fuel-burning boilers, coal, oil, or natural gas-fired boiler steam generators require a permit. Gas turbines, as well as simple cycle combined with heat recovery steam turbine require permits. Projects that are in Green Mountain Power's Cow Power program that comply with specific standard requirements do not require a permit.|
|Alternative Regulation (Vermont)||Vermont||Generating Facility Rate-Making||Yes||State/Province||Utility regulators, including the Public Service Board, have applied a new type of regulation, often called "alternative regulation" or "incentive regulation." There are many variants of this type of regulation, but the common foundation is that rates are set differently from the traditional cost-of-service approach. Sometimes there is a performance-based aspect to rate-setting so that a utility is allowed to earn a larger profit if it meets certain performance goals or increases its efficiency. Other times a utility is allowed to automatically change certain aspects of its rates, without a full-scale review of all its costs (as would occur under a typical cost-of-service review). Sometimes this type of regulation "guarantees" a utility a certain amount of revenue or profit, or it provides a utility with greater flexibility to offer new services. Alternative regulation is generally approved for a specified number of years, after which time it is revisited by the utility and the regulators.|
|Capital Access Program (Vermont)||Vermont||Loan Program||Yes||State/Province||The Capital Access Program provides loan guarantees to small businesses seeking access to commercial credit. Premiums paid by the borrower and matched by Vermont Economic Development Authority fund a reserve account which insures loans enrolled in the program. Borrowers with gross annual sales of $5 million or less are eligible for the program.|
|Certificate of Public Good--Gas and Electric (Vermont)||Vermont||Siting and Permitting||Yes||State/Province||This Public Service Board rule limits the construction of electric and natural gas facilities and restricts the amounts that companies can buy from non-Vermont sources. No company, as defined in section 201 of this title, may in any way purchase electric capacity or energy from outside the state; invest in an electric generation or transmission facility located outside this state unless the public service board first finds that the same will promote the general good of the state and issues a certificate to that effect.|
|Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) (Vermont)||Vermont||Public Benefits Fund||Yes||State/Territory||NOTE: The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund has issued its Five Year Strategic Plan. See the web site for details.
Vermont's Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) was established in 2005 to promote the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power and thermal energy resources -- primarily renewable energy, combined heat and power (CHP), thermal, and geothermal energy.
From its establishment to 2012, the CEDF has been supported via annual payments from Entergy (which owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant). In return, under terms of two memoranda of understanding between Entergy and the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) that expire in March 2012, Entergy is permitted to store its own spent nuclear fuel at the Vermont Yankee. Historically, the CEDF received approximately $7 million from Entergy annually. However, in 2010 the fund received only $4.5 million from Entergy and approximately $3.9 million in 2011 through the end of the fund (March 2012). Balances in the CEDF are carried forward and may not be used for general obligations of Vermont's government. In addition, the Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandated that all funding received from the State Energy Program (SEP) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 be included in CEDF (approximately $31 million in total). Legislation enacted in 2012 authorized $3 million in appropriations from the Vermont general fund to the CEDF as long as the general fund is in the black. That transfer should take place after May 1, 2013.
The CEDF is authorized to support renewable-energy resources, and CHP systems. Eligible renewable-energy systems include photovoltaics; solar-thermal; wind; geothermal heat pumps; farm, landfill and sewer methane recovery; low-emission, advanced biomass; and CHP systems using biomass fuels such as wood, agricultural or food wastes, energy crops and organic refuse-derived waste. (Municipal solid waste is not eligible.) CHP systems must have a design system efficiency of at least 65% and must meet Vermont's air-quality standards in order to qualify. H.B. 781 (June, 2010) authorized the CEDF to support natural gas vehicles and/or fueling infrastructure as well, although no programs have been developed to do so.
The CEDF may be used to support projects that sell power in commercial quantities (especially those projects that sell electricity to Vermont utilities), projects to benefit publicly owned or leased buildings, renewable-energy projects on farms, small-scale renewable energy for homes and businesses, and "effective projects that are not likely to be established in the absence of funding." Super-efficient buildings were included until 2009. The CEDF has provided funding for the Vermont Solar and Small Wind Incentive Program, the CEDF Loan Program, the Business Solar Energy Tax Credits (since expired), the Grant in Lieu of Business Solar Energy Tax Credits (special provision, 2011 only) and the CEDF Grant Program.
The DPS, which originally managed the CEDF, issued a strategic plan for the fund in May 2007. Legislation in 2009 created the Clean Energy Development Board to manage the fund. Legislation in 2011 mandated that the DPS take back administration of the fund, but that Clean Energy Development Board maintans decision-making and approval powers for plans, budgets, and overall program designs and serve in an advisory role on the fund's administration.The CEDF's 2011 Annual Report is a comprehensive review of the fund's history as well as 2011 activity.
|Climate Action Plan (Vermont)||Vermont||Climate Policies||Yes||State/Province||There is a growing scientific consensus that increasing emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are affecting the temperature and variability of the Earth’s climate. Recognizing the profound implications that global warming and climate variation could have on the economy, environment and quality of life in Vermont, Governor Jim Douglas issued Executive Order 07-05 establishing the Governor's Commission on Climate Change (GCCC) and asked it to:
Examine the real and potential effects of climate change on Vermont, including, but not limited to the impact of climate change on public health, natural resources and the economy; Produce an inventory of existing and planned actions that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont; Educate the public about climate change and develop educational tools that will help Vermonters understand how they, as individuals, can play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; Request input from representatives of the business, environmental, forestry, transportation, non-profit, higher education, municipal and other sectors regarding opportunities to reduce emissions and conserve energy; andDevelop recommendations to the Governor to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont, consistent with Vermont’s need for continued economic growth and energy security.
|Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States)||United States||Grant Program
|Yes||Federal||Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.|
|Competitive Wind Grants (Vermont)||Vermont||State Grant Program||Yes||State/Territory||The Clean Energy Development Fund Board will offer a wind grant program beginning October 1, 2013. The grant program will replace the wind incentives that were originally part of the Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program. Systems up to 100 kilowatts are eligible for the grants. Details will be posted as more information becomes available.
|Construction or Extended Operation of Nuclear Plant (Vermont)||Vermont||Siting and Permitting||Yes||State/Province||Any petition for approval of construction of a nuclear energy generating plant within the state, or any petition for approval of the operation of a nuclear energy generating plant beyond the date established in a certificate of public good issued under this title, must be submitted to the public service board no later than four years before the date upon which the approval may take effect.
Upon receipt of a petition for approval of construction or operation as provided under this section, the public service board shall notify the general assembly of that fact. The public service department, with the review of the joint energy committee, is authorized and directed to arrange for studies to be conducted as appropriate to support the general assembly in the fact finding and public engagement process established in subsection (b) of this section.Upon completion of the studies, the public service department shall provide the studies to the public service board and to the committees on natural resources and energy, the house committee on commerce, and the senate committee on finance, together with other information requested by the general assembly.
|Direct Discharge Permit (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||A direct discharge permit is required if a project involves the discharge of pollutants to state waters. For generation purposes, this involves the withdrawal of surface water for cooling purposes and the subsequent discharge of heated waters and or other effluents and pollutants.|
|Direct Loan Program Subchapter 5 (Vermont)||Vermont||Loan Program||Yes||State/Province||The Direct Loan Program assists Vermont borrowers in financing fixed assets and in cooperation with commercial banks. The Vermont Economic Development Authority may either make its own direct loan or purchase a portion of a bank loan to enable greater access to debt financing for Vermont businesses. The loan may be used for the purchase of land and buildings, including construction or renovation, and for the purchase and installation of machinery, equipment, furniture, and fixtures.|
|Energy Generation Project Permitting (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||The Vermont Energy Generation Siting Policy Commission is mandated to survey best practices for siting approval of electric generation projects (all facilities except for net- and group-net-metered facilities) and for public participation and representation in the siting process, and to report to the Governor and to the Vermont Legislature on their findings by April 30, 2013. The Commission's documents include a summary the various permitting requirements of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) for energy generation projects. The permit requirement is determined by the physical and operational attributes of the project. A generation project may trigger the following ANR permit or approval requirements: stormwater construction, stormwater operational, multi-sector general permit, wetlands permit, stream alteration permit, 401 water quality certification, wastewater disposal and/or water supply permit, direct discharge, air pollution control, and endangered species takings.|
|Expedited Permitting Process for Solar Photovoltaic Systems (Vermont)||Vermont||Solar/Wind Permitting Standards||Yes||State/Territory||Vermont has established an expedited permitting process for solar photovoltaic systems that are 10 kilowatts-AC (kW) or less. In order to interconnect and net meter, electric customers in Vermont must obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Solar net metered systems that are 10 kW or less follow an expedited process for the Certificate of Public Good. To receive a Certificate of Public Good, the customer must register the system with the PSB. The customer must inform the PSB about the project and comply with the electric utility's interconnection requirements. If there are any issues with the system's compliance with interconnection requirements, the utility must raise these issues in a letter within 10 business days. If the utility does not raise any issues within 10 business days, a Certificate of Public Good is automatically "deemed issued," and the customer may proceed with installation.|
|Flexible Capital Fund (Vermont)||Vermont||Loan Program||Yes||State/Province||The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund's Flexible Capital Fund (the “Flex Fund”) is designed for companies in Vermont's rural areas that are smaller and work on a less-than global scale, offering a return on investment that does not always meet venture capital levels. These rural companies may need a form of “equity” to fuel growth but need it in lesser amounts and perhaps at lower returns than traditional venture capital requires. The Fund is designed to balance equity features and returns with the reality of small business in Vermont, offering flexible risk capital and technical assistance to fit Vermont’s early and growth stage companies’ needs. The Flex Fund provides near equity or mezzanine financing (subordinated debt, royalty financing, and/or warrants) to a group of growth companies in Vermont, including those involved in renewable energy. The Fund offers access to its Peer to Peer Collaborative for technical assistance and mentoring. The Flex Fund invests in targeted growth companies that fill a gap, or strengthen the supply chain, in sustainable agriculture and food systems, forest products, renewable energy, and other natural resource sectors.|
|Forestry Policies (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||Vermont forests cover nearly 5 million acres, a large portion of the state. These lands are managed by the Vermont Division of Forestry (http://www.vtfpr.org/htm/forestry.cfm). The Division completed its Forest Resources Plan in 2010, which includes discussion of forest wood for energy:
In 2007 the Biomass Energy Resource Center issued "The Vermont Wood Fuel Supply Study", a review of the availability, location, estimated cost, and recommendations for woody biomass material from Vermont forests: http://www.biomasscenter.org/pdfs/VT_Wood_Fuel_Supply_Study.pdf
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department imposes rules that require any wood-fueled biomass electricity generators to obtain fuel harvested according to the Vermont Public Service Board standards. These rules also require suppliers to receive approval from VFW prior to harvesting. The rules are established in 30 V.S.A. Chapter 5 section 248: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=30&Chapter=005&Section=00248
Chip Harvesters must also be registered with the State and obtain annual license through the Agency of Natural Resources: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/permit_hb/sheet48.pdf
Both of the above laws, along with several other forestry-related legislation, can be found in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources"Timber Harvesting in Vermont: Summary of Laws and Regulations". http://www.vtfpr.org/regulate/documents/Timber_Harvest_2012Web.pdf
|GMP - Biomass Electricity Production Incentive (Vermont)||Vermont||Performance-Based Incentive||Yes||Utility||
Green Mountain Power Corporation (GMP), Vermont's largest electric utility, offers a production incentive to farmers who own systems utilizing anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts or wastes to generate electricity. GMP purchases the renewable energy credits for up to $0.04 per kWh with full subscription of the GMP voluntary Cow Power tariff. Attributes associated with production in excess of voluntary customer demand will be sold on the regional market where possible. The farmers sell the electricity as a separate commodity under the Vermont Standard Offer Program. Eligible systems must be connected to the grid, although net metering is another option for farmers, it is not available under this arrangement.
GMP sells the renewable energy credits (RECs) and other environmental attributes (i.e. Carbon Credit) generated under this arrangement as part of GMP Cow Power, the utility's green power program. This program offers customers the opportunity to purchase renewable energy for $0.04 per kWh above the retail cost of electricity under any rate class as a tariff rider.
|Green Mountain Power - Solar GMP (Vermont)||Vermont||Performance-Based Incentive||Yes||Utility||Green Mountain Power, an investor-owned electric utility operating in Vermont, offers a credit to customers with net-metered photovoltaic (PV) systems. In addition to the benefits of net metering, Green Mountain Power customers with a PV system receive a credit of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by the system. This credit is available to all customers of Green Mountain Power. The incentive does not have a specified duration or expiration date.
In order to net meter, customers must first apply for and receive a "Net Metering Certificate of Public Good" from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Net metering in Vermont is generally available to systems up to 500 kilowatts (kW) in capacity. An additional meter must be installed to record each system's output. Customers retain ownership of the renewable-energy credits (RECs) associated with the electricity generated by PV systems.
Interested customers should contact customer service at 888-835-4672 for more information.
|Hydraulic Fracturing (Vermont)||Vermont||Siting and Permitting||Yes||State/Province||Vermont prohibits hydraulic fracturing or the collection, storage, or treatment of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing|
|ISO New England Forward Capacity Market (Multiple States)||Connecticut
|Generating Facility Rate-Making||Yes||Non-Profit||Under the Forward Capacity Market (FCM), ISO New England projects the capacity needs of the region’s power system three years in advance and then holds an annual auction to purchase the power resources that will satisfy those future regional requirements. Resources that clear in the auction are obligated to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO. The Forward Capacity Market was developed by ISO New England, the six New England states, and industry stakeholders to promote investment in generation and demand-response resources to meet future demand. The results ensure that the region will have sufficient resources to meet future demand. Resources that clear in the auction are committed to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO, or risk financial penalties.|
|Interconnection Standards (Vermont)||Vermont||Interconnection||Yes||State/Territory||Vermont has adopted separate interconnection standards for net-metered energy systems that are 150 kW or less, and for all other distributed-generation (DG) systems.
Interconnection Standards for Net-Metered Systems 150 kW or less
Vermont requires electric utilities to offer net metering to all customers with photovoltaic (PV) systems, wind-energy systems, fuel cells or biomass-energy systems until the cumulative generating capacity of net-metered systems equals 4% of a utility's peak demand. The maximum system capacity for net metered systems is 500 kilowatts (kW). Interconnection of net-metered systems rated 150 kW or less are subject to the requirements described Appendix A of the net metering rules (5.100).
Net-metered PV systems must conform to applicable electrical safety, power-quality and interconnection requirements established by the National Electrical Code (NEC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). A utility may not charge additional standby, capacity or interconnection fees, or fees or charges other than the customary minimum monthly fee.
The following key provisions apply to all net-metered, interconnected systems 150 kW or less:
Net metered systems must first complete an application for a "Certificate of Public Good for Interconnected Net Metered Power Systems," or register as a "Photovoltaic Systems that Are 10 kW (AC) or Less in Capacity," both of which are available on the Public Service Board's website.
In 2005, Vermont enacted legislation (Act 61) that established a statewide renewable portfolio goal and required the PSB to develop interconnection standards for DG up to 50 megawatts (MW) in capacity -- unless the PSB establishes a lower capacity in order to avoid federal preemption. In 2006, the PSB adopted interconnection standards for distributed-generation (DG) systems that are not net metered and not subject to Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE) interconnection rules or successor rules approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These rules also apply to net-metered systems larger than 150 kW but smaller than 500 kW. Under this rule, utilities are required to designate an employee or office from which customers may obtain information regarding the application process. There is a standard application form and a nonrefundable application fee of $300. The PSB's DG interconnection rule does not specify a maximum system capacity.
DG systems that meet certain technical screening criteria are eligible for the "fast track" interconnection process, which requires no special studies. Systems not eligible for "fast track" interconnection require a feasibility study, a system-impact study, and/or a facilities study. Reasonable, specific timelines apply to "fast track" interconnection and general interconnection. During the interconnection process, either party may petition the PSB for resolution of a dispute.
A manual external disconnect switch is required. Systems must comply with an array of standards, including IEEE 1547 and UL 1741. Any equipment package will be considered certified for interconnection if it has been submitted, tested and listed by a nationally recognized testing and certification laboratory or approved by the U.S. Department of Energy.The PSB has developed model interconnection documents, including a feasibility study agreement, a system impact study agreement, a facilities study agreement, an interconnection agreement, technical requirements and operator protocols. However, a customer and utility may also enter voluntarily into different arrangements.
|Investment Tax Credit (Vermont)||Vermont||Personal Tax Credit||Yes||State/Territory||Vermont offers an investment tax credit for installations of renewable energy equipment on business properties. The credit is equal to 24% of the "Vermont-property portion" of the federal business energy tax credit. For solar, small wind, and fuel cells this constitutes a 7.2% state-level credit for systems placed in service on or before 12/31/2016. After this date, solar (except hybrid solar lighting) technologies are eligible for a 2.4% credit. For microturbines, and combined heat and power systems, the credit is a 2.4% state-level tax credit for systems place in service on or before 12/31/2016. The geothermal tax credit is 2.4% indefinitely.* Any unused tax credit may be carried forward for 5 years.
*The federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar, small wind, and fuel cells is 30% of expenditures and for geothermal systems, microturbines, and combined heat and power the ITC is 10% of expenditures.Vermont's investment tax credit is equal to 24% of the federal ITC for these technologies.
|Local Option - Property Assessed Clean Energy (Vermont)||Vermont||PACE Financing||Yes||State/Territory||Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of up to 20 years. Vermont has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. Over 30 municipalities have passed local ordinances to implement PACE programs.
|Local Option - Property Tax Exemption (Vermont)||Vermont||Property Tax Incentive||Yes||State/Territory||Vermont allows municipalities the option of offering an exemption from the municipal real and personal property taxes for certain renewable energy systems (Note: state property taxes would still apply). Eligible systems include, but are not limited to "windmills, facilities for the collection of solar energy or the conversion of organic matter to methane, net-metered systems ... and all component parts thereof including land upon which the facility is located, not to exceed one-half acre." Adoption of this exemption varies by municipality, but the exemption generally applies to the total value of the qualifying renewable energy system and can be applied to residential, commercial, and industrial real and personal property.
Note: Solar PV systems of 10 kW or less are already currently exempt from municipal property taxes under 32 V.S.A. § 8701 (see Uniform Capacity Tax and Exemption for Solar).
|Net Metering (Vermont)||Vermont||Net Metering||Yes||State/Territory||NOTE: Legislation enacted in May 2012 (HB475) further amends Vermont's net metering policy.
Vermont's original net-metering legislation was enacted in 1998, and the law has been expanded several times subsequently. Any electric customer in Vermont may net meter after obtaining a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). Solar net metered systems 10 kilowatts (kW) or less are enabled to follow an expedited process for the 'Certificate of Public Good', if the customer successfully completes registration and complies with his/her electric utility interconnection requirements. In this case, after 10 days from receiving the certificate of compliance with the interconnection requirements, a Certificate of Public Good is automatically "deemed issued," and the customers may proceed with installation. An application for a Certificate of Public Good for Interconnected Net Metered Power Systems for all other systems is available on the program web site listed above.
Net metering is generally available to systems up to 500 kW in capacity that generate electricity using eligible renewable-energy resources, and to micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems up to 20 kW. Renewable energy facilities established on military property for on-site military consumption may net meter for facilities up to 2.2 megawatts (MW, AC).
“Renewable energy” is defined as “energy produced using a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate.” Biogas from sewage-treatment plants and landfills, and anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts and wastes are explicitly included. (The term "renewable energy" explicitly excludes solid waste that is not agricultural or silvicultural, as well as nuclear fuel, coal, oil, propane and natural gas.)
Net metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative capacity of net-metered systems equals 4% of a utility’s peak demand during 1996 or the peak demand during the most recent full calendar year, whichever is greater. Renewable energy facilities on military installations do not affect the cap. Any customer net excess generation (NEG) is carried over to the customer’s next bill. Any NEG shall be used within 12-months of the month earned, if not, it is granted to the utility with no compensation for the customer. Any NEG reverting to the utility shall be considered as qualifying Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) resources. Net metering is also available under a time-of-use metering arrangement.
Vermont also allows “group net metering.” In order to set up such a net metering system, the group must file with the PSB and other relevant parties, the following information:
The utility is required to bill all customer's of the group individually.
Utilities may require a customer to comply with generation interconnection, safety and reliability requirements, as determined by the PSB, and may charge reasonable fees for interconnection, establishment, special metering, meter reading, accounting, account correcting, and account maintenance of net-metered systems greater than 15 kW in capacity. (Interconnection requirements for systems 150 kW or less are accessible at the program web site listed above. Interconnection requirements for systems greater than 150 kW must follow the interconnection procedures specified in PSB Rule 5.500).
HB 56, passed in May 2011, includes several new provisions unique to Vermont. First, it stipulates that utilities may offer additional credits or incentives to net metering customers, above and beyond the benefits provided by net metering itself. And, second, it stipulates that utilities will offer additional credits of $0.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh) minus the highest residential rate for solar net metering customers. For example, if the highest residential rate charged by Generic Vermont Utility is $0.15 per kWh, then the additional credit offered will be $0.05 per kWh. If the highest residential rate charged by Generic Vermont Utility is $0.22 per kWh, then no credit will be offered. This calculated credit amount will not fluctuate, regardless of any subsequent changes in the highest residential rate charged, for at least two years. The solar net metered customer will receive the credit stipulated in the rate schedule for a period of at least ten years. All solar net metered customers are eligible, regardless of rate class. This additional credit provision for solar net metered systems is retroactive to May 1, 2010. HB 475 passed in May 2012 made changes to calculating these credits.
It should be noted that Green Mountain Power, an investor-owned electric utility operating in Vermont, already offers a bonus payment to customers with net-metered photovoltaic (PV) systems. In addition to the benefits of net metering, Green Mountain Power customers with a PV system receive a payment of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by the system. This payment is available to all customers of Green Mountain Power, which serves roughly one-quarter of Vermont's population. This program, known as Solar GMP, took effect in July 2008.
Legislation passed in May 2012 calls for a study of the costs and benefits of net metering, to be completed by January 2013. In October, the Vermont Department of Public Service issued a request for information relating to this study.
|New England Power Pool (Multiple States)||Maine
|Interconnection||Yes||Non-Profit||Independent System Operator (ISO) New England helps protect the health of New England's economy and the well-being of its people by ensuring the constant availability of electricity, today and for future generations. ISO New England meets this obligation in three ways: by ensuring the day-to-day reliable operation of New England's bulk power generation and transmission system, by overseeing and ensuring the fair administration of the region's wholesale electricity markets, and by managing comprehensive, regional planning processes.|
|Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (Vermont)||Vermont||Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals||Yes||State/Province||This entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in Vermont as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont) may be lower.|
|Radiological Emergency response Plan (Vermont)||Vermont||Safety and Operational Guidelines||Yes||State/Province||This legislation establishes a radiological emergency response plan fund, into which any entity operating a nuclear reactor or storing nuclear fuel and radioactive waste in this state (referred to hereinafter as "the nuclear power plant") shall deposit the amount appropriated to support the Vermont radiological response plan for that fiscal year, adjusted by any balance in the radiological emergency response plan fund from the prior fiscal year. There shall also be deposited into the fund any monies received from any other source, public or private, that is intended to support the radiological emergency response planning process.|
|Regulations and Permits Related to Dams (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||Vermont law requires a permit, or a dam order, for the construction, alteration, or removal of dams impounding more than 500,000 cubic feet of water, including any accumulated sediments. Dam applications are reviewed for public safety and environmental impacts. Applicants should contact the Department of Environmental Conservation early in the planning process for assistance with additional permits required for a project.|
|Renewable Energy Systems Sales Tax Exemption (Vermont)||Vermont||Sales Tax Incentive||Yes||State/Territory||Vermont's sales tax exemption for renewable-energy systems, originally enacted as part of the Miscellaneous Tax Reduction Act of 1999 (H. 0548), initially applied only to net-metered systems. The exemption now generally applies to systems up to 250 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity using eligible "renewable energy" resources (as defined under 30 V.S.A. § 8002), to micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems up to 20 kW, and to solar water-heating systems. The exemption is available for grid-tied systems and off-grid systems alike. Vermont's sales tax rate is 6%.
"Renewable energy" is defined under 30 V.S.A. § 8002 as "energy produced using a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate." Biogas from sewage-treatment plants and landfills, and anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts and wastes are explicitly included. (The term "renewable energy" explicitly excludes solid waste that is not agricultural or silvicultural, as well as nuclear fuel, coal, oil, propane and natural gas.)
|Small Business Loan Program (Vermont)||Vermont||Loan Program||Yes||State/Province||The Small Business Loan Program is designed to aid Vermont small businesses who cannot access conventional sources of credit. Loans up to $150,000 are made through the program and can be finance fixed asset development and working capital.|
|Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (Vermont)||Vermont||State Rebate Program||Yes||State/Territory||Note: On July 10, 2013, the Clean Energy Development Fund Board approved changes to the Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, effective October 1, 2013. Beginning in October, wind turbines, commercial PV systems, and solar thermal space heating will no longer be eligible for incentives. The PV incentive levels, maximum, and system size caps will be decreased. A new wind grant program will replace the wind incentives. See the full details here.
Systems that generate less than 1,000 kWh/year per kW of rated DC capacity may be eligible for a lower, pro-rated incentive payment.
Systems greater than 10 kW may be eligible for the incentive but must first submit a Certificate of Public Good application as submitted to the Public Service Board. For more information on the program, eligible installers, remaining funds, and installations to date, visit the official program web site.
|Solid Waste Management Rules (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||These rules establish procedures and standards to protect public health and the environment by ensuring the safe, proper, and sustainable management of solid waste in Vermont. The rules apply to persons storing, transporting, treating, disposing, recycling, or otherwise managing any solid waste facilities.|
|Standard Offer for Qualifying SPEED Resources (Vermont)||Vermont||Performance-Based Incentive||Yes||State/Territory||Note: The first RFP for the new competitive award process has passed; applications were accepted through May 1, 2013. See the program web site for information regarding future solicitations.
|Stormwater Permits (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||Stormwater permits are required for the construction of a new generation facility, the reconstruction or expansion of a facility, the operation of a generation facility which discharges stormwater to state waters, and discharges from industrial facilities. A stormwater construction permit is required for the construction of any project that disturbs one or more acres. A stormwater operational permit is required for the operation of the stormwater infrastructure of any project with more than one acre of new or redeveloped impervious surface. Projects must comply with Vermont Stormwater Management and Management Rules.|
|Stream Obstruction Regulations (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||Vermont law prohibits the installation of a structure, such as a dam, that prevents fish movement, unless an approval has been granted by the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife. For permits, contact the local Vermont Fish and Wildlife district office closest to the site.|
|Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) Goals (Vermont)||Vermont||Renewables Portfolio Standard||Yes||State/Territory||Vermont's Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) Program was created by legislation in 2005 to promote renewable energy development. The SPEED program itself is not a renewable portfolio goal or standard. However, if the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) determines that the established minimum obligations of the SPEED program (described below) are not met, then the state's utilities would be required to meet a binding renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS), as established by law (30 V.S.A. § 8004).
The intent of the SPEED program is to promote renewable energy development by encouraging long-term contracts for electricity from renewable sources. Legislation enacted in March 2008 (S.B. 209) established a goal* that 20% of total statewide electric retail sales during 2017 be generated by new SPEED resources.** Unlike most states in the Northeast, this program does not require utilities to procure the attributes; the renewable energy generators are free to sell their renewable energy credits (RECs) in other markets (e.g. other states’ RPS markets or voluntary green power programs). Utilities are expected to enter into long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for electricity with renewable energy generators certified as SPEED projects by the PSB, or to develop those SPEED projects themselves. A SPEED facilitator has been contracted to support this procurement process and match renewable energy generators (SPEED projects) with utilities looking to procure electricity. Furthermore, legislation passed in 2009 established a pilot feed-in tariff to support the development of these projects.
To qualify as a SPEED project, the facility must be located in Vermont, must produce energy using renewables or qualifying combined heat and power. SPEED projects must apply for and be granted a "Certificate of Public Good." Legislation passed in June 2010 simplifies that process for projects 150 kW and less, conforming to the "Certificate of Public Good for Net Metered Systems." In some situations, contracts with out-of-state renewables qualify toward meeting the goals for SPEED resources.*** There are provisions for qualifying existing facilities that have been upgraded or expanded as well. Eligible renewable energy resources include hydropower (up to 200 MW, no capacity limit starting July 1, 2012); methane (from landfill gas, anaerobic digesters, sewage-treatment facilities and farms); geothermal; solar energy, and wind -- as well as combined heat and power facilities or fuel cells that rely on one of the above mentioned fuel sources. Solid waste is explicitly excluded. The PSB is authorized to determine which, if any, additional renewable resources qualify.
Per law, the PSB is required to determine the total amount of SPEED resources that have been supplied (or certified to supply) to Vermont retail electricity providers by January 1, 2013. The SPEED program will be deemed successful if one of the following two obligations is met:
If neither criterion is met, then the RPS will become mandatory and will require the state's electric utilities to meet any increase in statewide retail electricity sales between 2005 and 2012 by using renewables with associated attributes, by purchasing RECs, or by making an alternative compliance payment to the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund. The PSB issued its first report on the "Progress Towards SPEED Goals" in January 2012, and concluded that the state is making "adequate progress" towards meeting the goal of 20% by 2017.
In addition to the SPEED Resources goal (20% by 2017), legislation S.B. 214 (Act 170) passed in 2012 established the "Total Renewables Targets." These targets address the specific supply portfolio's of each retail electricity provider. In 2017, renewable energy should make up 55% of each retail electricity provider's annual electric sales and in 2032, renewable energy should make up 75% of each retail electricity provider's annual electric sales (between 2017 and 2032, there should be a 4% increase to the percentage every third year).
Legislation enacted in 2011 (Act 47) added a new section to Vermont's Renewable Energy Programs statutes, the Baseload Renewable Power Portfolio Requirement. This requirement is separate and distinct from the RPS goals described above and it requires that electricity supplied to customers must contain a portion of "baseload renewable power." This is defined as power from a wood biomass plant in Vermont with nominal capacity of 20.5 MW. The Speed Facilitator will buy the power and distribute the electricity, any renewable energy attributes and associated costs to the state's retail electricity providers. The price paid (avoided cost) by the retail electricity providers to the plant for baseload renewable power is to be determined via PSB proceeding.
Legislation enacted in 2010 (Act 159) required the PSB to consider changing Vermont's renewables portfolio goals and SPEED program to a full-fledged renewables portfolio standard. The PSB report "Study on Renewable Electricity Requirements" was completed in October 2011 as required by law. Also during 2011, the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan was updated. For more information on the plan, see Vermont Department of Public Service Comprehensive Energy Plan. Legislation enacted in 2012 (Act 170) amended Vermont's renewables portfolio goals and requires the PSB to study further whether and how to establish a renewable portfolio standard. This report is due by January 15, 2013.
* A renewable portfolio goal generally is not legally binding, as opposed to a renewable portfolio standard, which is legally binding.
|The Employee Training Tax Credit (Vermont)||Vermont||Corporate Tax Incentive||No||State/Province||The Employee Training Tax Credit covers training expenses of up to $400 per qualified employee for employees located in eligible downtown areas and received Aid to Needy Families with Children or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The credit can be carried forward up to 5 years.|
|The Payroll Tax Credit (Vermont)||Vermont||Corporate Tax Incentive||No||State/Province||The Payroll Tax Credit provided by the Vermont Economic Progress Council provides a credit against income tax equivalent to a percentage of increased payroll costs. A company with sales less than $10 million may receive equal to 10 percent of its increased costs of salaries and wages in the applicable tax year. The credit was established in 1998 to foster new job creation within Vermont.|
|Underground Injection Control Rule (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||This rule regulates injection wells, including wells used by generators of hazardous or radioactive wastes, disposal wells within an underground source of drinking water, recovery of geothermal energy, and fluid injection wells. All underground injections into Class I-IV wells require permits. All applications are subject to public comment.|
|Underground Storage Tank Program (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||These rules are intended to protect public health and the environment by establishing standards for the design, installation, operation, maintenance, monitoring, and closure of underground storage tanks. These rules apply to persons who own or operate, install, remove, repair, or test underground tank systems.|
|Uniform Capacity Tax and Exemption for Solar (Vermont)||Vermont||Property Tax Incentive||Yes||State/Territory||During the 2012 legislative session, Vermont passed a 100% property tax exemption for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems up to and including 10 kilowatts (kW). For systems greater than 10 kW, the state assesses a uniform $4 per kilowatt (kW). This applies to the equipment, not to the land.
For a discussion of Vermont's property tax system and the recommendations to the legislature prior to this law's enactment, see the January 17, 2012 report by the Vermont Division of Property Valuation and Review and the Vermont Commissioner of Public Service: "Valuation of Renewable Energy Property, Report on the (Sec. 12 of Act 45 of 2011)"
|Vermont 504 Loan Program (Vermont)||Vermont||Loan Program||Yes||State/Province||The Vermont 504 Loan Program makes SBA 504 loans to eligible borrowers whose business net worth is no more than $15 million and whose average net profit after taxes does not exceed $5 million for two prior years. The program uses proceeds of SBA debentures to finance borrowers’ business needs. SBA 504 loans are made in conjunction other third party lenders that normally finance 50% of the Project. The Vermont 504 Corporation’s SBA 504 loan lends up to 40% of the Project amount in a lien position that is junior to the third party lender. The maximum non-manufacturing SBA 504 loan is $2 million ($1.5 million in Burlington).|
|Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations, Major Stationary Sources and Major Modifications (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||This section of the air quality standards applies to all major sources and major modifications and outlines the required control technology to achieve the most stringent emission rate. Emission reductions and emission reduction credits for various pollutants are explained in this section.|
|Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations, Ambient Air Quality Standards (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||The ambient air quality standards are based on the national ambient air quality standards. The Vermont standards are classified as primary and secondary standards and judged adequate to protect public health and welfare. The standards apply to sulfur oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and lead.|
|Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (Vermont)||Vermont||Industry Recruitment/Support
|Yes||State/Province||The purpose of the Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) is to encourage job creation in Vermont by a Vermont company, a Vermont division of a company that plans to grow and expand in Vermont, a company considering locating a new business or division in Vermont, or a Vermont start-up business activity. VEGI can provide a cash payment, based not the revenue return generated to the state by prospective qualifying job and payroll creation and capital investments, to businesses that have been authorized to earn the incentive and who then meet performance requirements.|
|Vermont Hazardous Waste Mangement Regulations (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||These regulations are intended to protect public health and the environment by comprehensively regulating the generation, storage, collection, transport, treatment, disposal, use, reuse, and recycling of hazardous waste in Vermont.|
|Vermont Land Use and Development, Act 250 (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||The Act 250 program provides a public, quasi-judicial process for reviewing and managing the environmental consequences of major developments in Vermont. The program is implemented through 9 district commissions. The district commissions review criteria such as impacts on water and air quality, water availability, soil erosion, transportation impacts, impacts to natural and scenic beauty, and conformance with local and regional plans. The Land Use Panel oversees the activities of the District Environmental Commissions and the enforcement of Act 250 permits, and conducts rule making related to the Act 250 program.|
|Vermont Seed Capital Fund (Vermont)||Vermont||Corporate Tax Incentive||Yes||State/Province||The Vermont Seed Capital Fund increases the amount of investment capital available to new Vermont firms or to existing Vermont firms for the purpose of expansion. The first $5 million of capitalization contributed by taxpayers on or before January 1, 2014. Lesser of 4% of contribution or 50% of tax liability prior to allowance of this credit. There is a four year carry forward. Maximum aggregate credit 20% of contribution. Credit is nontransferable except from an involuntary transfer of interest in the credit.|
|Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (Vermont)||Vermont||Bond Program
|Yes||State/Province||The Vermont Sustainable Job Fund offers grants, loans, and technical assistance. VSJF's grant-making depends on the funds it raised and its strategic market development focus. Grant proposals are solicited through an RFP process or for particular initiatives. The current focus is on the intersection between renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable forest products.|
|Vermont Village Green Program (Vermont)||Vermont||Grant Program||Yes||State/Province||The purpose of this solicitation is to obtain proposals from eligible organizations for projects that implement renewable energy district heating projects (including combined heat and power). Preference will be given to applicants proposing projects that have completed feasibility or planning studies recommending a decision to proceed. All projects must be built in Vermont. All Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects must be grid-connected.|
|Vermont Wetland Rules (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||A permit is required for any activity within a Class I or Class II wetland or wetland buffer zone which is not an allowed use. Activity in Class I or Class II wetland or its associated buffer zone is prohibited unless it is an allowed use or authorized by a permit, etc. Applicants have the burden to show that a proposed activity in Class I or Class II wetland or its buffer zone complies with rules and will not have undue adverse effect on protected functions and values.|
|Water Pollution Control Permit Regulations (Vermont)||Vermont||Environmental Regulations||Yes||State/Province||These regulations outline the permits and permitting processes for point discharges to surface waters and outline the monitoring and reporting requirements.|