Act 174 – Enhanced Energy Planning
With the passing of Act 174 in 2016, communities have the opportunity to revise their municipal plans for the purposes of getting a “determination of energy compliance.” A determination of energy compliance will elevate municipalities standing in the Section 248 permitting process, which applies to most renewable energy generation facilities. Plans that seek this certificate will need to meet a higher level of standards for energy planning that is currently required for municipal plans. The Regional Commission has been conducting a significant amount of education and outreach around this law. For more information, contact Steven Bauer at [email protected].
Act 174 Materials
The Department of Public Service maintains a web portal where municipalities can find much of the material below regarding standards, mapping requirements, etc. – PSB Act 174 Portal
Statutory requirement for an Energy Plan if seeking a determination of energy compliance – 24 V.S.A. 4352
The Department of Public Service released an overview of the Standards required to get a determination of energy compliance – Standards Overview
The Department of Public Service released complete standards for a municipality seeking a determination of energy compliance – Determination Standards for Municipalities
Frequently Asked Questions relating to Act 174 Training – Act 174 Training FAQ
TRORC Act 174 Training (12/3) – TRORC Act 174 Best Practices and Resources Webinar (12/3/2019)
TRORC Act 174 Training (12/7/16) – TRORC Act 174 Training Presentation (12/7/16)
TRORC Act 174 Training Video (12/7/16) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t52HLeBiDUM
TRORC Act 174 Training Video (05-15-17) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvqBhuQfEVM&feature=youtu.be
Year 2 Energy Information Meeting (10/12/2017) – Year 2 Energy Presentation
Best Practices and Resources – Municipal Enhanced Energy Planning in Vermont – Best Practices and Resources
PACKETS for Town Energy Projections and Targets: Barnard, Bethel, Bradford, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Chelsea, Fairlee, Granville, Hancock, Hartford, Hartland, Newbury, Norwich, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Pomfret, Randolph, Rochester, Royalton, Sharon, Stockbridge, Strafford, Thetford, Topsham, Tunbridge, Vershire, West Fairlee, Woodstock.
Act 174 Standards
Overview document (please read first)
The detailed standards for regional plans, in checklist form with instructions and guidance, are available here. A form-fillable version that can be completed and submitted to the Department is available here. An abridged version containing the standards alone (with no narrative) is available here.
The detailed standards for municipal plans, in checklist form with instructions and guidance, are available here. A form-fillable version that can be completed and submitted to the Department or regional planning commission is available here. An abridged version containing the standards alone (with no narrative) is available here.
Recommendations & Guidance
The recommendations from the 2016 CEP that are relevant to regions and municipalities are available here. In addition, the Department has created guidance documents and various workbook aids for regions and municipalities, available below.
- Guidance for Regional Plans
- Guidance for Municipal Plans
- Workbook Tools README
- Municipal Consumption Template
- Analysis & Targets Aid Region Bottom Up
- Analysis & Targets Aid Region Top Down
- Analysis & Targets Aid Municipality
- Generation Scenarios Aid
Enhanced Energy Determination
Towns that have developed their municipal plan with the elements that are consistent with the provisions of Act 174 may submit their plans to TRORC for a determination of energy planning compliance. If a town obtains an affirmative determination of energy compliance, the Public Utility Commission shall give substantial deference to the land conservation measures and specific policies within the municipal plan. Under Act 174, the plans submitted by municipalities must:
- Be adopted by the Selectboard;
- Be approved under 24 V.S.A. § 4350;
- Include an energy element that has the same components as described in 24 V.S.A. § 4302(f)(1); and
- Meet all state standards for issuing a determination of energy compliance
According to Vermont statutes, after a town has submitted all the required documents to TRORC, the RPC will schedule a public hearing noticed at least 15 days in advance by direct mail to the requesting municipal legislative body, on the TRORC website, and in a newspaper of general publication in the municipality.
TRORC will normally hold the public hearing for discussion of the determination of energy compliance directly following the public hearing for the Town Plan approval and confirmation action. Under statute, TRORC is required to issue a determination in writing within two months of the receipt of a request. If the determination is negative, TRORC will state the reasons for the denial in writing and, if appropriate, suggest acceptable modifications.
Submissions for a new determination following a negative determination will receive a new determination within 45 days.
For a complete submission the town must send the following to TRORC:
- A digital copy of the municipal plan and all accompanying maps;
- Completed Energy Planning Standards for Municipal Plans Checklist: Municipal Determination Standards (word version); and
- Completed and signed Energy Planning Resolution Template
All submittals should be sent to Peter Gregory at [email protected].