Assessing Vermont’s climate responsibility: A comparative analysis of per capita emissions

by Leigh Seddon, EAN Senior Fellow

January 2023


Vermont’s electric power portfolio (generation and purchases) has the lowest carbon intensity of any U.S. state. How Vermont regulators and state agencies calculate GHG emissions from electricity currently follow EPA and IPCC protocols, but is incomplete since “pre-generation” emissions (fuel-cycle) are not considered. Part 1 of this paper addresses ways that a fuller and more consistent perspective on electric emissions could supplement our current inventory.

Part 2 of the paper addresses the fact that our current estimates of emissions due to future load growth are often incorrect and understate the GHG reduction potential of beneficial electrification. Forecasting electric emissions over time (using a long-run marginal emission rate) is necessary to reflect how Vermont’s and the regional electric grid are evolving and will become less carbon intensive. It is also necessary to measure emissions on an hourly basis to understand the time-based impacts of new electric loads such as heat pumps and electric vehicles.