The Vermont Statutes Online
Chapter 005 : STATE POLICY; PLANS; JURISDICTION AND REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION AND DEPARTMENT
Subchapter 001 : GENERAL POWERS(Cite as: 30 V.S.A. § 202)
§ 202. Electrical energy planning
(a) The Department of Public Service, through the Director for Regulated Utility Planning, shall constitute the responsible utility planning agency of the State for the purpose of obtaining for all consumers in the State proper utility service at minimum cost under efficient and economical management consistent with other public policy of the State. The Director shall be responsible for the provision of plans for meeting emerging trends related to electrical energy demand, supply, safety, and conservation.
(b) The Department, through the Director, shall prepare the Electrical Energy Plan for the State. The Plan shall be for a 20-year period and shall serve as a basis for State electrical energy policy. The Electrical Energy Plan shall be based on the principles of "least-cost integrated planning" set out in and developed under section 218c of this title. The Plan shall include at a minimum:
(1) an overview, looking 20 years ahead, of statewide growth and development as they relate to future requirements for electrical energy, including patterns of urban expansion, statewide and service area economic growth, shifts in transportation modes, modifications in housing types, and design, conservation, and other trends and factors which, as determined by the Director, will significantly affect State electrical energy policy and programs;
(2) an assessment of all energy resources available to the State for electrical generation or to supply electrical power, including, among others, fossil fuels, nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, wind, fuel cells, and solar energy and strategies for minimizing the economic and environmental costs of energy supply, including the production of pollutants, by means of efficiency and emission improvements, fuel shifting, and other appropriate means;
(3) estimates of the projected level of electrical energy demand;
(4) a detailed exposition, including capital requirements and the estimated cost to consumers, of how such demand shall be met based on the assumptions made in subdivision (1) of this subsection and the policies set out in subsection (c) of this section;
(5) specific strategies for reducing electric rates to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate six-year period, for the next succeeding six-year period, and long-term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates over the full 20-year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont; and
(6) recommendations for regional and municipal energy planning and standards for issuing a determination of energy compliance pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 4352.
(c) In developing the Plan, the Department shall take into account the protection of public health and safety; preservation of environmental quality; the relevant goals of 24 V.S.A. § 4302; the potential for reduction of rates paid by all retail electricity customers; the potential for reduction of electrical demand through conservation, including alternative utility rate structures; use of load management technologies; efficiency of electrical usage; utilization of waste heat from generation; and utility assistance to consumers in energy conservation.
(d) In establishing plans, the Director shall:
(1) Consult with:
(A) the public;
(B) Vermont municipal utilities and planning commissions;
(C) Vermont cooperative utilities;
(D) Vermont investor-owned utilities;
(E) Vermont electric transmission companies;
(F) environmental and residential consumer advocacy groups active in electricity issues;
(G) industrial customer representatives;
(H) commercial customer representatives;
(I) the Public Utility Commission;
(J) an entity designated to meet the public's need for energy efficiency services under subdivision 218c(a)(2) of this title;
(K) other interested State agencies;
(L) other energy providers; and
(M) the regional planning commissions.
(2) To the extent necessary, include in the Plan surveys to determine needed and desirable plant improvements and extensions and coordination between utility systems, joint construction of facilities by two or more utilities, methods of operations, and any change that will produce better service or reduce costs. To this end, the Director may require the submission of data by each company subject to supervision, of its anticipated electrical demand, including load fluctuation, supplies, costs, and its plan to meet that demand and such other information as the Director deems desirable.
(e) The Department shall conduct public hearings on the final draft and shall consider the evidence presented at such hearings in preparing the final Plan. The Plan shall be adopted on or before January 1, 2016 and readopted in accordance with this section on or before every sixth January 15 thereafter, and shall be submitted to the General Assembly each time the plan is adopted or readopted. The provisions of 2 V.S.A. § 20(d) (expiration of required reports) shall not apply to the submission to be made under this subsection.
(f) After adoption by the Department of a final plan, any company seeking Commission authority to make investments, to finance, to site or construct a generation or transmission facility, or to purchase electricity or rights to future electricity, shall notify the Department of the proposed action and request a determination by the Department whether the proposed action is consistent with the Plan. In its determination whether to permit the proposed action, the Commission shall consider the Department's determination of its consistency with the Plan along with all other factors required by law or relevant to the Commission's decision on the proposed action. If the proposed action is inconsistent with the Plan, the Commission may nevertheless authorize the proposed action if it finds that there is good cause to do so. The Department shall be a party to any proceeding on the proposed action, except that this section shall not be construed to require a hearing if not otherwise required by law.
(g) The Director shall annually review that portion of a Plan extending over the next six years. The Department, through the Director, shall biennially extend the Plan by two additional years; and from time to time, and in any event every sixth year, institute proceedings to review a Plan and make revisions, where necessary. The six-year review and any interim revisions shall be made according to the procedures established in this section for initial adoption of the Plan. The six-year review and any revisions made in connection with that review shall be performed contemporaneously with readoption of the Comprehensive Energy Plan under section 202b of this title.
(h) The Plans adopted under this section shall become the electrical energy portion of the State Energy Plan.
(i) It shall be a goal of the Electrical Energy Plan to assure, by 2028, that at least 60 MW of power are generated within the State by combined heat and power (CHP) facilities powered by renewable fuels as defined in section 8002 of this title. In order to meet this goal, the Plan shall include incentives for development and strategies to identify locations in the State that would be suitable for CHP. The Plan shall include strategies to assure the consideration of CHP potential during any process related to the expansion of natural gas services in the State.
(j) For the purpose of assisting in the development of municipal and regional plans under 24 V.S.A. chapter 117, the Director shall, on request, provide municipal and regional planning commissions with publicly available information detailing the location of electric transmission and distribution infrastructure in the relevant municipality or region and the capacity of that infrastructure to accept additional electric generation facilities without modification. In providing this information, the Director shall be entitled to the assistance of the electric utilities that own electric transmission or distribution systems, or both, located in Vermont, including the ability to obtain from those utilities such publicly available data as the Director considers necessary to discharge his or her duties under this subsection. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 39(b), eff. March 1, 1961; 1979, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff. Feb. 1, 1981; 1981, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1983, No. 1, eff. Jan. 31, 1983; 1983, No. 46; 1983, No. 170 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 11, 12, eff. April 19, 1984; 1987, No. 87, § 3; 1991, No. 259 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 4, 5; 2003, No. 69, § 5, eff. June 17, 2003; 2007, No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2013, No. 34, § 18; 2013, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Feb. 4, 2014; 2015, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2017, No. 74, § 123.)