VNRC Policy Position: Renewable Energy Standard

In the 2024 legislative session, VNRC is advocating for critical reforms to Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to meet the urgency of the climate crisis and position Vermont for a successful clean energy future. The Legislature has an opportunity to align Vermont’s RES with the renewable energy requirements of our neighboring New England states. We must act to reform the RES and help ensure that Vermont is swiftly and comprehensively transitioning to locally generated renewable energy to displace our reliance on fossil fuels.

VNRC’s Priorities for an Updated Renewable Energy Standard:

  • Dramatically increase new renewable generation – both in-state and in the New England region – in order to phase out fossil fuels in Vermont’s electric portfolio. For most utilities, that will mean an obligation to double new in-state and in-region renewable resources over approximately the next 10 years.
  • Establish tailored renewable energy requirements for utilities, obligating some utilities – including Vermont’s  largest utility, Green Mountain Power – to be 100% renewable by 2030. For smaller, more rural utilities, the requirement would be 100% renewable by 2035.
  • Require all new additional electricity needs after 2035 come from new renewable generation.
  • Ensure going solar is possible for Vermont’s existing and new, needed affordable housing developments to make clean electricity accessible to low- to moderate-income Vermonters.
  • Requires that the expansion of clean energy focus on new renewables like wind and solar rather than additional biomass or new, expanded large hydropower which will not qualify under the key provisions of the bill.
  • Become the 1st state in the nation to have a 100% renewable energy electricity portfolio.

Find the final report of the 2023 Renewable Energy Standard Reform Working Group here, which – starting on page 28 – includes an addendum to the report, reflecting additional, more specific goals shared by VNRC, other environmental partners and signatory utilities.

Latest News

After weeks of hearing comprehensive testimony on H.289, a bill to modernize the RES, the House Environment & Energy Committee voted 9-1-1 to advance the bill out of committee on 2/7/24.

On 3/15/24, after hearing an updated fiscal analysis on the bill, the House Appropriations Committee voted 8-3-1 to advance the bill.

It is now headed for a vote by the entire House of Representatives.

Check out our weekly Climate Dispatch series, live from the State House every Friday, for the most up-to-date information on how Renewable Energy Standard reform is progressing!

In December 2023, panelists from VNRC, Conservation Law Foundation and VPIRG dug into the details of proposed changes to the RES in a webinar, “The Opportunity in Modernizing Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard.” Check it out below!