– RESOURCE EXPLAINED – New Guidebooks Help Vermont Communities Comprehensively Address Energy
Planning is a powerful tool for addressing the climate change and energy challenges facing Vermont. Unfortunately, communities have not taken full advantage of available tools to help prepare for the state’s energy needs. Laying the foundation for greater investment in renewable energy, innovative transportation and land use policies that require less energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions, and conservation and efficiency programs starts with planning. The primary tool for local energy planning is the municipal plan.
A set of tools recently released by the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont League of Cities and Towns outline how communities can comprehensively, systematically and aggressively address energy use and consumption. They are:
The Energy Planning and Implementation Guide for Vermont Municipalities is a how-to tool for energy-interested Vermonters who want to work with local officials and community leaders to use the energy element of their town plan to comprehensively address energy issues.
Communities Tackling Vermont’s Energy Challenges offers a snapshot of the innovative, entrepreneurial and proactive approaches Vermonters are taking to help save money, reduce energy consumption, transition to renewables and combat climate change. This document overviews over three-dozen remarkable success stories where Vermonters are helping to lead the necessary transition away from a fossil-fuel based economy to one based on conservation, efficiency, renewable energy and innovation.
If you are interested in helping your community integrate energy into its municipal plan, please contact VNRC and VLCT for more information about using these tools or to see what technical assistance opportunities are available, please contact Johanna Miller, VNRC Energy Program Director at 802-223-2328 ext 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, VNRC has been working with the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund to highlight the opportunity to pair planning with the VSJF’s innovative and useful ‘Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont.’ This GIS-based web application identifies, analyzes and visualizes existing and promising locations for renewable energy projects. The VSJF created it as a tool for community energy committees, municipal officials and energy-interested Vermonters to get a first-gauge assessment of the renewable energy opportunities out their back door. Be sure to check out this amazing tool!
As always, if you are interested in helping your town start a town energy committee or want to join an active group already in existence, visit www.vecan.net to find out more or contact VECAN Coordinator Johanna Miller at email@example.com or 802-223-2328 ext. 112.
(Pictured in front of Waterbury’s Thatcher Brook Primary School are, from left to right: Waterbury Select Board Chair Rebecca Ellis; Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Karen Horn; Vermont Natural Resources Council Deputy Director Brian Shupe; and Waterbury LEAP energy committee members Jamie Ervin and Duncan McDougall (chair). Photo courtesy Vermont Natural Resources Council.)