Vermont Shoots For 55% Renewable Energy in Two Years, While Wisconsin Fires Climate Scientists

Governor Shumlin of Vermont signed the most aggressive  renewable energy law in the US this week.

It requires utilities to use 55% renewable energy for electricity by the end of 2017, 75% by 2032, and 90% by 2050.

There’s also a carve-out for small renewable energy systems of 5 megawatts or less – they must provide at least 1% of electricity in 2017 and 10% by 2032.

Utilities must own this renewable energy or renewable energy credits (RECs) – they can’t sign power purchase agreements to buy it elsewhere.

The bill also establishes an "Energy Transformation Program" under which utilities have to provide leasing or on-bill financing options that help customers pay for efficiency improvements for  their homes.   

"Under this bill, Vermont will pioneer a new model where utilities will be in the business of helping customers use less energy, save money, and ensure the energy they do use is from renewable sources. That’s the future of energy in America, and it’s starting right here in Vermont," says Governor Shumlin. 

"With the signing of H.40 Vermonters will now have one stop access for services and financing to weatherize their homes and businesses, add on-site solar and replace or upgrade their current heating systems with state-of-the-art air source heat pumps," says Rep. Tony Klein, one of the sponsors. 

The policies are expected to create 1000 new jobs, save Vermonters $390 million on energy costs, in addition to combating climate change. 

Last year, Vermont raised the cap on net-metering to greater reward homeowners and businesses that install solar systems.  

Vermont is part of the "Under 2 MOU" group – 12 governments that commit to joint action to keep global temperatures from reaching 2°C. ranking of state emissions shows Vermont produces the least in the US!

Climate Change Emissions by State

Meanwhile in Wisconsin

The striking difference between red and blue governors rears its head. After being told not to mention the words "climate change" or "global warming," lawmakers decided to fire those scientists.

Scientists that focus on climate change, pollution and mining are being laid off from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They want to refocus the department on hunting and fishing, they say!

Ultra-conservative Governor Scott Walker – who is running for president – slashed 18 research positions in the state budget, leaving the department’s Science Services Bureau with 13 research positions. Why? Because the positions no longer serve DNR’s core mission.

The Bureau of Science Services’ research plan calls for extensive study on how climate change is affecting the Great Lakes, Wisconsin’s river ecosystems, and the state’s forests, wildlife and fish. It also calls for research on "emerging" water pollutants such as prescription drugs, hormones and industrial additives and agents. Another line of research would develop ways to predict and mitigate the impact of sand, iron and sulfide mining on air and water, plants and animals, along with monitoring strategies for newly permitted mines, reports Wisconsin Gazette.

"All of those issues are politically inconvenient for Republicans, whose donors are involved in pollution-producing businesses that are costlier to operate under environmental regulations. Republicans, including Walker, don’t allow staff to even talk about climate change, let alone the fact that an overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence shows it’s happening," says the Gazette.

"Let’s offer more opportunities for sportsmen rather than going off on something that’s theoretical [referring to climate change]," says Republican state Senator Tom Tiffany, who led the charge to dismantle Wisconsin’s mining regulations. The mining company that benefited donated $700,000 to Walker and state Republican campaigns.

Walker is a member of ALEC and is loved by the Koch Brothers. He’s the most anti-environment governor in the state’s history.

Read our article, Wisconsin Governor Walker’s Record on Clean Energy, Environment.

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