Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP)

MERP’s Municipal Building Energy Assessments are still underway as of July 2024. All site visits are expected to take place before the end of August. Project Implementation Grant applications are expected to open this summer and close in October, in time for awards to be issued before the end of 2024.

The Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP) is coming to a town near you! MERP is a $45,000,000, ARPA-funded state program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from public buildings while helping towns save money on their utility bills. There are three separate funding opportunities available through MERP: Community Capacity-Building “Mini-Grants” of up to $4,000 each (this opportunity closed on 5.31.24), Municipal Building Energy Assessments, and Project Implementation Grants of up to $500,000 each. For more information on program requirements and deadlines, please visit the MERP website or contact our MERP Coordinator Harry Falconer at [email protected].

Shared Energy Coordinator

The Shared Energy Coordinator (SEC) works closely with participating TRORC towns to promote actions and programs that support the energy goals defined in each town’s adopted energy plan. The program provides Energy Coordinator services to towns that do not have the resources on their own to implement and manage energy efficiency and electrification projects. Additionally, SEC towns benefit from information and knowledge shared by the other participating towns and energy committees.  

As of FY2025, the six Towns participating in the SEC program are Bradford, Norwich, Sharon, Strafford, Thetford, and Woodstock. Any project that works towards Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan goals by increasing energy efficiency or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is within the scope of the SEC program. The SEC Steering Committee, comprised of one representative from each of the six towns, helps to further define the direction of the program and assigns specific tasks. 

Value is provided to the SEC towns by documenting energy savings and bringing in grant dollars to fund energy-related projects. SEC services include: developing, procuring, and managing town level energy projects such as energy audits, community solar, replacing fossil fuel heating systems, and building EV charging stations; as well as conducting community outreach and education.  

Planning for the SEC program began in FY2019 when six towns in the region approached TRORC requesting staff support to provide a shared Energy Coordinator. The original six towns were Barnard, Fairlee, Sharon, Strafford, Thetford and Woodstock. Voters in each of these six towns approved funding to support this work, and the program was founded under the name Intermunicipal Regional Energy Coordinator (IREC). The first locally funded, shared service of its kind was off and running. In FY2024, the Steering Committee opted to rebrand IREC as the Shared Energy Coordinator, or SEC, program. 

For more information about this program, please contact Harry Falconer at [email protected]. 

Energy in the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Region

The choices we make about energy planning at the regional and local level affect our health, our environment, and our economy. Our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contribute to global climate change, which drives higher temperatures and more erratic weather patterns across the globe and throughout our region, including both droughts and heavier precipitation events that cause flooding. In addition, the volatile cost of fossil fuels is a financial drain on our towns and their residents. In short, our energy systems are unsustainable and need to be transformed. Thankfully, the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Region has the resources to help make this transformation possible in our region. From our buildings to our transportation system, to our electric generation systems, clean, efficient alternatives to existing technologies are available today, and in many cases are cheaper to operate and install than their fossil fuel counterparts. If done correctly, the transition to clean energy and more energy-efficient systems will benefit all members of our communities in the form of lower costs, a cleaner environment, and a stable climate. For a complete picture of our approach to energy planning at the regional level, please see our Regional Plan, Chapter 11: Energy.

How Can We Help You?

The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission is committed to working with our communities on their energy planning efforts. We can assist towns with the drafting of energy or climate action plans, the implementation of energy-conscious land use regulations, and the creation of internal policies aimed at reducing municipal energy use. As a regional organization, we are also involved in the review of proposed energy generation facilities and generally support them whenever they are appropriate for the community in which they will be located. Our staff can help you:

  • Incorporate Energy into Your Town Plan & Zoning
  • Create an Energy Committee or Coordinator Position
  • Find Data on Energy Use & Existing or Potential Energy Production in Your Town
  • Implement Your Energy Policies & Actions at the Town Level
  • Find Funding for Implementing Energy Actions & Projects

Staff Contact:

Harry Falconer, Shared Energy Coordinator