Vermont’s Vow: 90 Percent Renewables By 2050

Renewable energy currently meets about a quarter of Vermont‘s energy needs across all fuel sectors, including 50 percent of the state’s electricity portfolio. But comparatively little progress has been made in incorporating renewable energy into the transportation and heating sectors, and the state plans to change that over the next nearly 40 years as it moves to largely eliminate fossil fuels from its energy mix.

In a newly released Final Comprehensive Energy Plan, Vermont says it will strive for greater use of renewable sources for heating and transportation – in addition to electricity – toward a goal of obtaining 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. The Vermont Department of Public Service was charged by statute to create the plan through a multi-agency initiative that garnered over 9,000 comments from Vermonters on a variety of energy issues facing the state. The draft report was released in October. The Final Report is Vermont’s first Comprehensive Energy Plan since the late 1990s.

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image via Green Mountain Power

According to the plan, becoming nearly fossil-fuel free by 2050 will foster job growth, increase economic security and independence, reduce Vermont’s contribution to global climate change and generate economic development by keeping Vermont’s dollars in-state. The final report can be downloaded here.

“Vermont needs to move forward to protect our environment, gain greater energy independence, and drive innovation and jobs in the energy sectors,” Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said in a statement. “This plan puts us on that path. I am proud of the incredible work put in by the many agencies involved and the thousands of citizens who took the time to participate in shaping the ideas and actions that are included.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).