You know that Vermont state policy is entering the realm of the twilight zone when it mandates an outcome that its regulations serve to prevent from happening. True North has commented before on how Vermont’s energy policy not only mandates a certain percent of energy purchases to be from “renewable” sources, but that it also mandates that those purchases be from a state approved company. Here we have a clear case of the state providing guaranteed customers to favored companies. What could possible go wrong for such politically connected companies? Well, they could run into the byzantine permitting process that is a result of the same social engineering mindset that produced an energy policy, which guarantees there customers. This “catch 22” situation was chronicled in an article posted in yesterday’s edition of the Burlington Free Press:
Those involved in building renewable energy projects detailed a long, thorough, expensive process they have to go through for state approval, which they said mostly works well, though it involves too many people and is too unpredictable.
Residents who’ve opposed some of those projects detailed a frustrating, rushed process in which they are behind from the start, out-monied, out-lawyered and usually ignored.
Even with state government support, renewable energy companies appear to be finding Vermont’s permitting process daunting. It looks like the irony of the state mandating the use of renewable energy on the one hand, and then having a permitting process that serves to prevent favored companies from taking advantage of those mandates, is not lost on those in the renewable energy industry:
The state Legislature has made it clear that state policy calls for building renewable energy, as it set aggressive goals for increasing the amount of energy that comes from renewable sources, said Don Rendall, vice president of Green Mountain Power Corp., which is completing a controversial wind project in Lowell.
“We can’t achieve those goals without aggressive renewable deployment,” Rendall told the commission Friday, warning against changes to open the process further. “As we expand public participation, we make it more difficult to achieve our goal of developing renewable power.”
Welcome to the bizarre world of Vermont’s energy/environmental policy. Imagine the difficulties that non-favored enterprises face with the state’s permitting process. Perhaps it is time to take a bulldozer to the state’s byzantine permitting process and start over. While we are at it, getting rid of having the state pick winners and losers in the market and moving toward a policy of no favoritism would be a sensible tradeoff.