Local Energy Committees and Coordinators
Many towns have chosen to create an Energy Committee or Energy Coordinator position—a volunteer person or group of people who can help establish and implement the community’s energy goals. To find out if your community currently has an Energy Committee, please see the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network’s (VECAN) interactive map. VECAN is an excellent resource and can help guide your Committee or Coordinator’s work.
If you don’t see your town on the list, but would like to establish an Energy Committee or Coordinator in your community, we suggest you read our publication “Why Should Your Community Form an Energy Committee?” and contact Harry Falconer ([email protected]) for more information.
At your request, our staff will help guide you through the start-up process of creating an Energy Committee or Coordinator. We can meet with interested community members and the local selectboard to explain how an Energy Committee or Coordinator is created, who might serve, how the body will function, and why your community might want one. Once established, our staff can advise that Committee or Coordinator on what their first steps or projects might be.
Why should your town engage in energy planning?
The financial and environmental costs of energy production and use are borne by everyone in a community, which is why municipal governments are expected to address this topic if they choose to develop a Town Plan.
Consider these facts:
- “Over the last decade, Vermont has spent an average of about $2 billion a year on fossil fuels, with 75% of those dollars draining right out of state. For context, Vermont’s entire Gross State Product was approximately $33 billion in 2018. For the Vermonters who take the efficient and renewable energy actions needed to meet the State’s energy goals, individual savings will vary but could be nearly $10,000 per household from 2020–2035, or over $650 per year.” (Energy Action Network, 2019 Annual Progress Report, p. 5)
- “After trending upward between 2010 and 2015, Vermont’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions finally began declining in 2016. However, as of 2016, we are still 13% above our 1990 levels.” (Energy Action Network, 2019 Annual Progress Report, p. 3).
- “Our two biggest sources of emissions come from how we get around (transportation) and how we heat and cool our homes and businesses (thermal), which together cause over 70% of Vermont’s climate pollution… Compared to a 1990 baseline, emissions from transportation, residential and commercial fuel use, and industrial processes have increased. Emissions from electricity consumption, waste management, and agriculture have declined. This data reinforces the point that as we continue our progress in the electric sector, we have to increase our focus on transforming our transportation and thermal sectors.” (Energy Action Network, 2019 Annual Progress Report, p. 9).
- In 2011, the State of Vermont developed a Comprehensive Energy Plan with the goal of obtaining “90% of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2050.” In order to meet this goal, municipalities and residents need to find creative ways to reduce energy use, conserve energy (or use it more efficiently), and produce and utilize more renewable energy. The updated 2022 version of the plan can be viewed here.
In 2020, the State of Vermont passed the Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), establishing greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements for the first time. The passage of the GWSA led to the creation and adoption of the Vermont Climate Action Plan.