Vermont's Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) was established in 2005 to promote the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power and thermal resources -- primarily renewable energy and combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.
From its establishment to 2012, the CEDF was supported via annual payments from Entergy (which owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant). In return, under terms of two memoranda of understanding between Entergy and the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) that expired in March 2012, Entergy was permitted to store its own spent nuclear fuel at the Vermont Yankee site. Balances in the CEDF are carried forward and may not be used for general obligations of Vermont's government. In addition, the Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandated that all funding received from the State Energy Program (SEP) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 be included in CEDF.
Currently, the fund relies primarily on state appropriations. Fiscal Year 2014 was the first year in which the fund did not receive a payment from Entergy Vermont Yankee. However, for Fiscal Year 2015, the fund is being supported by an additional $5.3 million final payment from Entergy Vermont Yankee.
As per H.B. 40, enacted in June 2015, alternative compliance payments for the state's recently established Renewable Energy Standard will be dedicated to the CEDF to fund "energy transformation projects." Energy transformation projects are defined as undertakings that produce energy-related goods and services and result in a net reduction in fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but do not generate electricity.
The CEDF is authorized to support renewable energy resources and CHP systems. Eligible renewable energy systems include solar photovoltaics; solar thermal; wind; geothermal; farm, landfill, and sewer methane recovery; low-emission, advanced biomass; and CHP systems using biomass fuels such as wood, agricultural or food wastes, energy crops, and organic refuse-derived waste (municipal solid waste is not eligible). CHP systems must have a design system efficiency of at least 65% and must meet Vermont's air quality standards in order to qualify. The CEDF is also authorized to support emerging energy-efficient technologies, natural gas vehicles and/or fueling infrastructure, and electric vehicles and associated charging stations.
The CEDF may be used to support projects that sell power in commercial quantities (especially those projects that sell electricity to Vermont utilities), projects to benefit publicly owned or leased buildings, renewable energy projects on farms, small-scale renewable energy for homes and businesses, and "effective projects that are not likely to be established in the absence of funding." For Fiscal Year 2015, the overall strategic focus of the CEDF is on modern wood heating. Funding has been allocated toward Windham County programs (to address the local effects of the Vermont Yankee plant closure), the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program, building the state's bulk pellet market, the Farm Energy Program, credit enhancement, and clean energy market knowledge building.
Planning and Reporting
The DPS released a Five Year Strategic Plan for the fund in January 2013. The DPS administers the fund, while the Clean Energy Development Board maintains decision-making and approval powers for plans, budgets, and overall program design and also serves in an advisory role for the fund's administration.
An annual report to the legislature is published for the CEDF each year; the Fiscal Year 2016 report is available here.