This study uses the synthetic control method to investigate the impact of a 2015 amendment to the renewable portfolio in Vermont on utility rates. Renewable portfolio standards mandate utility providers to supply a certain percentage of their electricity through renewable sources. The study finds that the new more stringent renewable portfolio standard holds utility prices high. However, the findings are not compelling due to poorly balanced synthetic and real Vermont.
Vermont is a state defined both by its sprawling, natural landscapes, and its year-round tourist economy and increasing presence of second homeowners. More and more people are traveling to Vermont with the hopes of forming strong connections to the greater area. The idea of “Sense of Place”, or one’s individual connection to a particular place, is strong in Vermont. This study delves into individuals’ definitions of sense of place in Vermont, in order to look at the conservation of land and the preservation of culture in a place where the natural landscape serves as a core component of identity. Are individuals’ connections with northern Vermont enough to protect the region from human-related land degradation? Is a healthy balance between maintaining the old, while introducing parts of the new, attainable? Through conversations with conservationists, foresters, historical preservationists, and others, I unearth what currently constitutes Vermont’s culture and image. It is clear that as increases in development continue to haunt Vermont and its landscapes, sense of place serves as a powerful force strong enough to protect what matters most in Vermont.