Official Vermont Policy: Change Nothing and Hope Climate Change goes Away

This graph is the electric mix from the 2020 Annual Energy Report, prepared by the Vermont Department of Public Service (January 15, 2020). This is 95% from 20th century facilities. These do absolutely nothing to solve climate change; if we don’t do anything different, nothing will change. 

Partly by historical accident and partly by conniving, Vermont and its major utilities got their elbows out to grab way more than their share of 20th century renewables and announce to the world how “green” we are. This is 100% shirking responsibility for the climate crisis (link): nothing will change without building NEW renewables. 

Part of the nuclear power is from Seabrook in NH. Construction was started in 1976, and it reached full power in 1990. The remainder is from Millstone in CT. This has two units, the first received a construction permit in 1966 while the second received a permit in 1970. The first reached full power in 1971, while the second reached 100% power in 1976. Some of concerns about increased flood risks to these plants from climate change. The last new nuclear plant in the US started producing power in 1996.

The graph below shows the historical capacity and production of Hydro-Quebec hydropower. 

85% of the capacity is 20th century. There have flooded huge swaths of Quebec, so there are very limited options for big increases in this capacity in the future. 

The remaining hydro in the above pie chart is from dams in Vermont or elsewhere in the Northeast. Many of these dams are 50 to 100 years old or older, and there has been almost no new hydropower in the 21st century.

These resources are great to use, but NEW RENEWABLES are absolutely REQUIRED to solve climate change. Efficiency and lifestyle changes are helpful, but these come nowhere close to eliminating the need for NEW renewables. In addition, only 18% of Vermont’s total energy use is currently electric. The transportation and thermal sectors must be electrified, which will dramatically increase the need for additional renewable electricity.