Vermont to implement wood pellet heating incentive

By Lisa Gibson | April 27, 2011

Out of concern for energy independence and a desire to boost the use of locally sourced fuel and equipment, the governor of Vermont has called on Efficiency Vermont and the state Department of Public Service to create a program that will incentivize a switch to wood pellet heat.

The request from the office of Gov. Peter Shumlin specified that the incentives become part of the state’s comprehensive energy plan due out this fall. “This makes sense for Vermont’s economy; it makes sense for Vermont’s environment; and it makes sense for Vermonters’ pocketbooks,” he said. “This would be a great use of wood and pellets, and a strong integration of our energy goals with our economic interests.”

No firm timeline is in place for rolling out the new incentives program, but Efficiency Vermont hopes to launch it this summer, according to George Twigg, the group’s deputy policy director. The state already provides direct financial incentives to consumers for fossil fuels, he said, and this program will be similar, although the specific amount has yet to be determined. The incentives will essentially be a rebate for purchasing wood pellet-burning equipment and will apply to residential, as well as commercial applications.

Efficiency Vermont and the Department of Public Service are currently working with equipment manufacturers and suppliers in Vermont to hash out the details of the program, Twigg said. “The governor wants to send a signal about making sure this is a priority and now we have some work to do,” he added.