Groundbreaking law makes Vermont a national leader in recognizing the true value of clean local energy

The bill shows a viable path for states across the country to procure clean local energy and illuminates the significant locational benefits of generating wholesale energy close to where it's used.

Craig Lewis

Vermont’s latest energy statute expands its statewide Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Program and removes program cap for projects with locational benefits to the power grid

MONTPELIER, VT – On May 18, Vermont’s Governor Shumlin signed into law the 2012 Energy Bill, which contains a groundbreaking acknowledgement of the locational benefits of distributed generation and more than doubles the amount clean local energy that will be brought online through the state’s CLEAN program.

The new law expands Vermont’s statewide CLEAN Program, known locally as the Standard Offer program, from 50 megawatts (MW) to 127.5 MW.  Notably, the capacity of any distributed generation facility that provides “sufficient benefits to the operation and management of the electric grid” as a result of its location or other characteristics will not count towards the overall program cap of 127.5 MW.  Therefore, no limit exists on the amount of clean local energy that can come online from facilities providing sufficient locational benefits.

The recognition of locational benefits by Vermont legislators is a major step towards broader awareness of the true value of distributed generation.  Clean local energy projects alleviate transmission and distribution (T&D) constraints, while also avoiding the inefficient and expensive long-distance transmission of energy.

As a leading advocate for the recognition of locational benefits in California, the Clean Coalition provided policy support to Vermont-based clean energy organizations actively engaged in the legislative process.

“The Clean Coalition’s invaluable work, made available to all through their on-line publications, clearly illuminated to state legislators the transmission and distribution benefits and peak load savings provided by distributed generation power stations,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont.  “The legislative emphasis on T&D and peak load benefits would not have remained in this bill without their help.”

Around the country, an increasing number of cities and states are turning to CLEAN Programs as a proven policy tool to rapidly deploy cost-effective clean local energy and to give community members opportunities for participating in the clean energy economy.  New programs were recently announced by Los Angeles, California, Palo Alto, California, and Long Island, New York.

“Vermont legislators have listened to the farmers and local business owners who called for expansion of Vermont’s CLEAN program,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition.  “This bill shows a viable pathway for states across the country to procure clean local energy and illuminates the significant locational benefits associated with generating wholesale energy close to where energy is used.”

Craig Lewis

Founder and Executive Director

Craig has over 20 years of experience in the renewables, wireless, semiconductor, and banking industries. Previously VP of Government Relations at GreenVolts, he was the first to successfully navigate a solar project through California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard solicitation process. Craig was also the energy policy lead on Steve Westly’s 2006 California gubernatorial campaign, and his resume includes senior government relations, corporate development, and marketing positions at leading wireless, semiconductor, and banking companies such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Barclays Bank.