in the State House of Representatives
on March 16, 2022, by a vote of
Purpose: To create the Clean Heat Standard (CHS), one of the central components of the Climate Action Plan (CAP), drafted by unelected renewable energy advocates. The Clean Heat Standard authorizes Vermont’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to create a market for “clean heat credits,” set to go online in 2024. These credits can be generated by any Vermont company or individual weatherizing businesses and homes, or through replacing fossil fuel appliances with renewable-powered heating appliances, with the price set annually by the PUC each year. If heating fuel sellers do not create enough credits themselves through such installations, they must purchase credits generated by others on a marketplace to stay in business.
Example: Whenever a heating fuel supplier sells a gallon of heating oil to a customer in Year 1, that gallon generates an obligation for Year 2. In Year 2, the fuel seller can choose to fulfill their obligation by installing weatherization and renewable heating appliances. Or, by purchasing clean heat credits from installers on the CHS market.
Analysis: Those voting YES believe the Clean Heat Standard will greatly help Vermont achieve its GWSA 2025 & 2030 greenhouse gas reduction mandates, and give Vermont the moral authority to do its part fighting climate change, saving Vermonters from paying high heating fuel prices, while bolstering a renewable industry with more jobs. All of those voting YES trust the PUC to implement the Clean Heat Standard without needing further legislative approval, having voted down an amendment requiring legislative approval after design has been completed.
Those voting NO believe the Clean Heat Standard would lead to extreme hardship for many of the 200,000 households who use some form of fossil fuel to heat their home (about 3 in 4 of all Vermont households). For some, heating fuel would become more expensive, as heating fuel providers pass on some of the added cost of clean heat credits to their customers. For others, heating their homes would become impossible, because the only fossil fuel providers servicing their area will have gone out of business after not being able to afford clean heat credits.
A few 'lucky' households will have the privilege of paying top dollar to appliance installers so they aren’t left in the cold. However, committee testimony suggests there aren’t enough installers to cover government-manufactured demand for such appliances. Worse still, testimony also suggests many renewable heating appliances are do not provide adequate heating during the coldest winter months. There are about 100 fossil fuel providers in Vermont. A few large providers like Vermont Gas can capitalize on H.715, by earning credits through installations and by having the flexibility to charge higher prices once their competition succumbs to the CHS.
As Recorded in the House Journal, for Wednesday, March 16, 2022: “Shall the bill be read a third time?, Rep. Briglin of Thetford demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number. The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 96. Nays, 44.” (Read the Journal p. 620-624).
How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)
Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES