The ESSEX Plan: An Economy-Strengthening Strategic Energy eXchange Ashley Orgain, et al, Seventh Generation, and Friends
A Vermont-specific, future-oriented economic development strategy to strengthen the economy, prioritize the most vulnerable, and harness the power of the market to reduce carbon pollution and help the state meet its climate and clean energy goals.
The ESSEX Plan is a Vermont-specific economic development strategy which will: 1) Provide the cleanest electricity at the lowest rates in New England, 2) Prioritize the most vulnerable and the middle class, and 3) Deploy the most efficient and effective tool to drive carbon pollution reductions: the market. The plan proposes a partnership between state government and Vermont’s electric utilities whereby all of the proceeds of a gradually rising fee on carbon pollution are returned to Vermonters and Vermont businesses on a monthly basis in the form of lower effective electric rates and per-person rebates. The ESSEX Plan is perfect for Vermont because the state is a national model for electric efficiency, already has one of the lowest-carbon electric portfolios in the nation, has utilities leading on a clean energy transformation and is on pace to decarbonize further due to the Renewable Energy Standard and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Few, if any, other states could consider such a strategic energy exchange. Under ESSEX, as the cost to pollute rises, conservation, efficiency and renewables all become spectacularly attractive. In addition, the ESSEX Plan defies labels; it can be considered both “revenue neutral” and a 100% investment in clean energy. Economic analyses of similar carbon pricing proposals completed by the Department of Public Service, Regional Economic Models, Inc., and the Congressional Budget Office indicate that the ESSEX Plan would create up to 6,000 new jobs, “make whole” Vermonters on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder, and reduce carbon pollution by 15%-25% by 2025 and 30%-50% by 2050.
Submitted by: Ashley Orgain, on behalf of Seventh Generation and friends