• Robert Kischko
    March 23,2013
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    Open letter to Vermont electric ratepayers:

    The state’s electric utilities all have a corporate responsibility to protect the environment and learn the facts on what renewable energy is and what real damage a wood-to-electricity generating plant has on the environment, how it affects climate change and, more importantly, the damage to local communities and let’s not forget the ratepayers.

    The proposed biomass facility in North Springfield will produce approximately 448,700 tons of greenhouse gas each year. It would be the state’s third-largest power plant.

    In December, we received a note from GMP in our monthly bill indicating a change in rates in the Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC) to help fund Efficiency Vermont. In Efficiency Vermont’s 2011 annual report it is noted that through their good efforts they avoided approximately 695,000 tons of CO2 or greenhouse gas at a cost of $40.2 million. Money that supports Efficiency Vermont come from the EEC or more directly from the ratepayers of Vermont.

    So on one hand we are working hard in offsetting greenhouse gas by spending millions of ratepayer dollars on “energy-efficient projects and programs.” Yet it appears that our electric utilities and the state may look the other way when it comes to climate change and the real efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

    When this plant emits CO2 at a rate of 448,700 tons yearly, only to have ratepayers offset greenhouse gas through Efficiency Vermont programs at a cost of approximately $26 million per year or $1.3 billion over the lifetime of the plant (using Efficiency Vermont’s own numbers), maybe those offset costs should be made part of the certificate of public good and those costs should be directly paid by the developer and not the ratepayers, or better yet not be given approval.

    The state has made gains over these past 10 years to curb greenhouse gas emissions through the good work of Efficiency Vermont. That good work will be down the drain if this facility is built.

    On March 17, 2011, in Montpelier, Gov. Peter Shumlin spoke to the importance of climate change and Vermont’s role in ensuring future generations do not inherit the negative side effects of our country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    “I am committed to aggressively fighting interstate air pollution and climate change,” the governor said. “Climate impacts in Vermont include the loss of our hardwood trees including sugar maples, the spread of insect pests impacting our forests, waters and public health, and increased soil erosion.”

    One can only hope that the Public Service Board will consider the ratepayers and when the time comes to truly represent the “public good” and not grant a certificate of public good. Ask yourselves, is this project in the best interest of the public and the ratepayer?


    (Chairman, North Springfield Action Group)

    North Springfield
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