The State Energy Plan: An Energy Committee Leader’s Perspective

The State Energy Plan: An Energy Committee Leader’s Perspective

The following testimony was delivered by Nancy Nottermann, of the Hardwick Energy Action Resource Team (HEART), to a joint legislative hearing on updating the state’s comprehensive energy plan – March 30, 2011

I have a farm, raising grass fed beef. In regards to the previous speaker, putting solar pv on farm buildings and then paying them for the electricity they produce would certainly help the ag sector, which is, as we all know, in need of help.  My in-laws live in Germany, and I know that what the Germans have done works and is amazing.

As co-leader of an active energy committee, HEART of Hardwick, I know that the development of a strong state energy plan is essential.  We follow state policy closely and proceed with projects on the ground based on those policies.  Energy Committees need the back up of that plan in working with their local governments.

In Hardwick, we are working on LED Street lighting conversion, and patiently await the passage of H155, PACE. (property assessed clean energy). Our town has been ready to move ahead since PACE was first proposed.

I admire the Legislature for taking on the fix for PACE since nationally it is apparently not happening. I look at the PACE bill as jobs bill, really, and that,  coupled with Strong Building Codes for efficiency should be included in the plan.  They need to be uniform and enforceable.  But there needs to be a concerted effort to bring the building industry up to speed in this realm of retrofits  and new construction with money and education.

I applaud the legislature for all of the legislation you have pushed, promoted and implemented about energy.

H 56 addresses net metering and as an example, Hardwick is up against the 2% maximum.  I do not know what the solution is, but we need to work on helping utilities to be in a position to be positive and welcoming about individuals adding on renewable energy projects.

Your Time of Sale bill was a terrific effort. Home buyers need to know what the energy efficiency reality is of their purchase. Please include this idea in the State Plan.

Our town has taken education as a high priority and succeeded in reducing our town’s electric consumption despite the fact that there have been new customers added.  Education has to be a strong part of this state plan.

I work with lots of grass roots groups who have ingenious ideas and the where with all to implement them, but all need the support of a State Energy Plan as a back up.  A strong comprehensive State Energy  Plan is long over due and I thank you and the PSB for bringing in the voices of all Vermonters. We need this path to move forward.

So, I think supporting municipalities in having  their buildings  serve as education models in weatherization, efficiency, conservation  and renewables, especially community owned Solar PV and small wind turbines is essential.  There should be  support for having data displays that can be observed and seen every day as communities pass their town buildings.

As with municipal buildings, school buildings need to be the model, involving students and thus parents in the education of the realities of efficiency, conservation and renewables and thus include the principles of the pilot project that   Efficiency VT / VEEP / Superintendants Assoc. have just launched, “Whole School Energy Challenge”.

Quickly, in my mind, the priorities should be:

* Solar hot water

* Solar PV on houses and farm buildings (accompanied by or with increasing incentives for accompanying efficiency investments)

* Efficient wood burning or pellet furnaces

* Geothermal for new homes

* And use all state buildings as models of efficiency.

Thank you for your time.

Nancy Nottermann,  Snug Valley Farm, 824 Pumpkin Lane, E. Hardwick, VT 05836  *  802-472-6185