As we pass the halfway point of the legislative session, many Network members are following the progress of several key initiatives related to the work of EAN Network Action Teams. In particular, we wanted to highlight the Clean Heat Standard and Switch and Save.
The Clean Heat Standard (CHS) would require fossil fuel corporations and utilities that sell heating fuels into Vermont to reduce their climate pollution over time, in line with Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) requirements. The CHS was initially pitched at an EAN Summit in 2020, with a research and design paper developed by a Network Action team over the following year. A Clean Heat Standard policy drawing on that work was first advanced by the Vermont Climate Council and, more recently by the Vermont House Energy and Technology and House Appropriations Committees. The Clean Heat Standard passed the full House last week on a 96 to 44 vote. It will cross over to the Senate this week. Many EAN members have written commentaries about the Clean Heat Standard, which can be found here.
Switch and Save – This Network Action Team has been looking at ways to help Vermonters move away from dependence on high-cost and price-volatile fossil fuels for their energy needs. A Switch and Save proposal went to the House Energy and Technology Committee to support a targeted program to proactively support lower-income Vermonters in installing cost-saving heat pump hot water heaters. Funding of $5 million to support this program is in the Budget that has been proposed by the House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate. Read more on the Switch and Save Network Action Team below.
Our staff team is working closely with over 100 Network Members to support the Network Action Teams, while also taking time each week to develop our Annual Progress Report for Vermont to come out later in the year. Thanks for all you contribute to this Network!
Jared, Cara, Mei, and Matt
News from the World
Could clean energy replace Russian oil?
With the crisis in Ukraine roiling energy markets, this article focuses on the opportunity to invest more in the renewable energy transition rather than increasing domestic oil and gas drilling. For example, an emergency defense law could rapidly increase heat pump production.
5 signs of how climate change is unraveling Earth’s ecosystems
A reminder, yet again, of the importance and urgency of climate work, with sobering statistics on species loss from a new IPCC report. “Any further delay in concerted global action,” Pörtner said, “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future.”
Connecticut ‘right-to-charge’ bill gives path for renters to install their own EV chargers
In an effort to minimize barriers for renters and condominium owners, the proposed law would give renters the right to install a charger in their parking space. The state also has several rebate programs to help pay for charger installation costs.
Data Download – Adoption of Heat Pumps and Heat Pump Water Heaters in VT
EAN’s Community Energy Dashboard, specifically our “Community Progress Maps” tool, helps show where and how key clean energy progress is happening over time and across Vermont. For example, you can see in the two graphs above the adoption rates of heat pumps for space heating and of heat pump hot water heaters, respectively. Note that while heat pumps for space heating are growing at a significant rate – about a 50% year over year growth rate in each of the last four years – the adoption of heat pump water heaters has been more flat — even though heat pump water heaters can deliver significant cost and greenhouse gas savings. This is a major reason why a ‘Switch and Save’ Network Action Team has been working on ways to increase awareness and use of heat pump water heaters (their work is highlighted below). Note: for 2021, added heat pumps (graph 1) are expected to be between 12-15k based on preliminary Efficiency Vermont estimates.
To find these graphs (among many others) on our VT Energy Dashboard: Hover over ‘HEAT PUMPS’ or ‘HOT WATER’ on left hand menu bar, then click on ‘Total Number of Heat Pumps (Efficiency Vermont Approved)’, and along the top black menu bar, click ‘Progress Graph’.
Network Action Team Highlight – Switch & Save
As you see above in our Data Download, our state has seen a dramatic increase in heat pump installations since 2015, but only marginal growth in comparison with heat pump water heater installations. In fact, approximately 25,000 water heaters are replaced in Vermont each year, but the vast majority of new water heaters (70%) are fossil fuel-fired, and only about 2,000 are efficient heat pump water heaters. With each installation of fossil fuel-fired equipment, we are ‘locking’ Vermonters into more price volatility and a decade or more of fossil fueled climate pollution.
The Switch and Save Network Action Team has been working to identify funding opportunities to proactively support lower-income Vermonters in installing cost-saving heat pump hot water heaters. New incentives would build on existing utility and Efficiency Vermont heat pump water heater incentives to provide income-qualified Vermonters new, energy efficient heat pump water heaters at low or no cost (including electrical work). The proposal focuses on Vermonters with older water heaters that are at risk of failure in the near future (or those whose water heaters have just failed). The House Appropriations committee’s proposed budget includes $5 million for this work.
Join VCCC for the next installment in the Electric Medium and Heavy-Duty Webinar Series. Part 1 on March 24th from 3:30-5:00pm will focus on a study in Vehicle-to-Grid Charging Technology and the Electric School Bus Use.
Learn how V2G technology can not only store energy in the electric bus battery but also discharge it back into the grid during an emergency. This is geared for: school districts, utilities, municipal & private sector fleets, general EV enthusiasts. Part 2 will then be then on March 31stfrom 3:30-5:00, with similar focuses. Register for either part here.
Alliance for Green Heat Virtual Workshop
As part of the Wood Heater Design Challenge, this free virtual workshop on March 28th and 29th will focus on emission testing of wood stoves. Whether you have been extensively involved with stove testing or not, this workshop will keep you abreast of the latest instrumentation and techniques to assess a stove’s performance. The 2-day workshop will include short technical presentations followed by breakout sessions that discuss specific topics related to wood heater designs. You can register and learn more here.
Climate Council Webinar with Sec. Julie Moore and Jared Duval: post TCI Transportation Policy
This webinar is intended to articulate what the current policies in the CAP are expected to achieve in regards to emission reductions in the transportation sector, and the gap that needs to be filled to meet emission reductions requirements, particularly in 2025 and 2030. The Climate Council is tasked with adopting recommendations in this space this Fall and, in an effort to ensure Councilors and the public are informed and engaged, the transportation task group plans to offer a series of workshops in this space. This first one is intended to be a level-setting webinar to clearly articulate what the current CAP achieves and what the options are in this space to further reduce emissions. The webinar will seek to build on the recent Transportation memo which participants are encouraged to read before attending. Join them April 1st from 12:00-1:30pm – register here.
Vermont Clean Cities Coalition: Exploring a Clean Transportation Standard
Learn about policy mechanisms for the Clean Transportation Standard (CTS), how this could support clean energy investments and jobs, and how this would help Vermont to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements and other climate commitments. Speakers include Jared Duval (EAN, Climate Council), Cory-Ann Wind (Oregon Clean Fuels), Colin Murphy (Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and Economy), Eileen Tutt (California Electric Transportation Coalition), and Carolyn Berninger (GPI). You can register here for the event on April 5 from 1:30-3pm.
Sen. Sanders’ Office Calls for Congressional Directed Spending Requests
The purpose of this application is to identify high-impact projects in Vermont that can reach completion with assistance from the federal government. If you have a project idea, whether it is about affordable housing, infrastructure, education, community engagement, agriculture, and so on, and you would like your project to be considered for federal funding, please fill out the appropriations request application here. These requests must be submitted via electronic application by 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 8, 2022. Find more information on Senator Sanders’ site here.
EAN Climate Workforce Network Action Team
The next coalition meeting of the new EAN Climate Workforce Network Action Team will be April 11th at noon. Alternatively, join one of the three workgroups forming and meeting in the next week: Weatherization Workforce, Communication & Outreach, or Data & Analysis. Reach out to Cara (email@example.com) to be added to the email list for any of these.
The Weatherization at Scale Network Action Team has been working for over a year to significantly scale up weatherization, especially for low- and moderate- income Vermonters. You are welcome to attend the monthly coalition meetings if you would like to learn more about the progress of the full coalition workgroups.
Bringing together community leaders and groups working to celebrate and strengthen Vermont’s resilience, this is a conference for Vermonters seeking to engage with each other, their communities, and the state at large through meaningful and interdisciplinary discussions and problem-solving. It will be hosted at Norwich University on May 20th– register and learn more here.
Also, nominate a ‘Resilience Hero’, who has demonstrated resilience in their work and community. Self-nominations are welcome. Winners will be announced at the conference and earn monetary awards to continue building Vermont’s resilience. The nomination form is due May 1st.
Vermont Climate Council Meetings
All Vermont Climate Council meetings and subcommittee meetings are open to the public, with all details on the Climate Council website.
The Vermont Total Energy Ticker
Cowart and Neme: Vermont needs a Clean Heat Standard
“The thermal sector is Vermont’s second-largest source of climate pollution. Fossil heating fuels — fuel oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas — make up 34% of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other, cleaner sources of heat are cheaper and less volatile.”
What does environmental justice look like in Vermont? Bill seeks to answer
“The bill would define an ‘environmental justice population,’ set funding targets for state agencies to spend on these communities, and form an advisory council to elevate the voices of low-income residents, people of color and non-English speakers.”