– RESOURCE EXPLAINED – VNRC Offers Energy Planning Assistance to Vermont Communities

– RESOURCE EXPLAINED – VNRC Offers Energy Planning Assistance to Vermont Communities

Planning is a powerful tool for combating Vermont’s energy and climate change challenges. Unfortunately, communities, regions and the state have not taken full advantage of available planning tools to help prepare for a carbon-constrained world. Laying the foundation for greater investment in renewable energy, innovative transportation and land use initiatives, and conservation and efficiency programs starts with planning


GUIDE TO MUNICIPAL ENERGY PLANNING, Vermont Department of Public Service, 1993. To download this publication in pdf form, click here

EARTHRIGHT INSTITUTE’S GUIDE TO TOWN ENERGY PLANNING IN VERMONT (with Model Town Energy Plan), 1992. To download this publication in pdf form, click here.

TOWN ENERGY PLANNING: A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION, Paul Markowitz. To download this publication in pdf form, click here.

TOWN ENERGY AND CLIMATE ACTION GUIDE, VECAN, 2007. Guides citizens interested in starting an energy or climate action committee in their Vermont town or city.  To download this publication in pdf form, click here.

Two key tools for energy planning are the municipal and regional plan. In Vermont, communities that adopt a municipal plan (as most have) are required to develop an Energy Plan that includes:

“an analysis of energy resources, needs, scarcities, costs and problems within the municipality, a statement of policy on the conservation of energy, including programs, such as thermal integrity standards for buildings, to implement that policy, a statement of policy on the development of renewable energy resources, a statement of policy on patterns and densities of land use likely to result in conservation of energy.”

Regional plans, prepared and adopted by the state’s 11 regional planning commissions, must include a similar plan to address the region’s energy needs.

With a growing number of Vermonters forming local energy committees to address global climate and energy concerns through local action, the energy plan has the potential to galvanize local and regional planning to effectively address today’s challenges. The Energy Chapter of the Waitsfield Town Plan and the Energy Chapter of the Thetford Town Plan offer a couple good examples.

To help communities make the most of this opportunity, VNRC can provide technical expertise communities to develop energy plans that promote the tools and programs for energy conservation, compact development, innovative transportation networks and renewable generation.  Depending upon the needs of the community, VNRC can:

  • Work with town energy committees, planning commissions and citizens to identify opportunities and priorities for saving energy resources and create a vision for community development that prioritizes energy-efficient, compact development to foster alternative transportation options, local food cultivation and renewable energy generation.
  • Review the strengths and weaknesses of existing municipal planning and zoning strategies to realize efficiency opportunities, foster renewable energy projects, expand pedestrian, bicycling and public transit options and protect increasingly important farm and forest lands for future food and fuel needs.
  • Develop incentive based policies for landowners and developers to cluster development, maintain rural settlement patterns and protect forest resources.
  • Inform municipalities of state and federal assistance for efficiency, alternative transportation and renewable generation efforts.

If your energy committee or town is interested in receiving planning assistance for energy-saving, carbon-reducing strategies, please contact Johanna Miller, VNRC Outreach Director at 223-2328 ext 112 or jmiller@vnrc.org.