The Energy Action Network will be holding its annual Network Summit Thursday and Friday, October 1-2, 2020. The annual summit is a time to:
- Get the latest data and analysis on where Vermont stands relative to our renewable energy and emissions reduction commitments.
- Hear visionary, strategic proposals about how we can rapidly, cost-effectively, and equitably reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas pollution.
- Connect and network with other leaders working on and passionate about energy and climate issues
To register for the 2020 Summit, please click the link below:
The Summit will take place virtually over two partial-day sessions, from 9:00 – 3:30 on Thursday the 1st and from 9:00 – 12:30 on Friday the 2nd. The first day will be open to all attendees, the second day will be limited to network member organizations and public partners.
- A presentation from EAN Executive Director Jared Duval on the status of our energy and climate progress, impacts on the Vermont economy, and energy inequities
- Small group discussions about building energy equity in Vermont
- Three rounds of pitch presentations of exciting ideas to rapidly, cost-effectively, and equitably reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas pollution, followed by Q&A
- Dedicated virtual networking time during breakfast, breaks, and lunch
- A panel of Vermont leaders reflecting on the pitch proposals from Day One and our path forward on energy and climate
- Small group workshop discussions with pitch presenters to strengthen their ideas and identify resources and next steps
- Presentation of the Anne and Arthur Berndt Award
- Network-wide vote on pitches to receive support from EAN, from organizing and facilitation of meetings to financial resources, to form Action Teams.
EAN is using a virtual platform called Hopin to host the Summit. Watch this brief video to help orient you to the platform:
Once again, we put out a call for promising opportunities to help Vermont rapidly, cost-effectively, and equitably reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas pollution, especially from the transportation and thermal sectors and especially with public policy, public engagement, and workforce development/workforce transition, and energy equity-building strategies.
Pitches Selected for the 2020 Summit
“Foundational Research: Mapping Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Vermont’s Energy Sector; and Public Sector Spending on Climate Change: Where are we?”
- Presented by: Kelly Lucci (Efficiency Vermont); Dan Quinlan (SolaVida)
- Summary: This pitch combines two foundational research questions: 1) In addition to income, how do demographic factors such as race, age, gender, and homeownership status impact participation in Vermont’s energy programs? What can be done to make these programs more equitable and accessible? 2) Implementing a smart and comprehensive plan for growing Vermont’s clean energy sector, while also dealing with the unavoidable impacts of climate change, is going to present enormously hard state budget allocation decisions. The first question will be – how much is Vermont spending today?
“Regenerative Workforce Housing Development Plan”
- Presented by: Alison Low and Nicole Gratton (Northeastern Vermont Development Association)
- Summary: Regenerative Housing (RH) is well positioned to address thermal energy burden, workforce housing shortages, and energy inequities. RH combines smart growth principles with energy efficiency and technology innovations. RH provides reliable, safe and affordable renewable sources of energy for house and vehicle energy systems. This pitch is looking to create a development plan for Regenerative Housing on a brownfield site in a NEK downtown setting.
“Renew Vermont: Building a Movement for a Just and Equitable Future”
- Presented by: Kiah Morris and Kate Logan (Rights & Democracy)
- Summary: It is well understood that people from the global majority are consistently the bearers of the most brutal impacts of our rapidly increasing climate crisis. Most attempts to address or mitigate these impacts bear little benefit to and are not reflective of the needs, hopes, and demands of those that this work should rightfully be in service to. The Renew Vermont Alliance project will activate the wisdom and expertise of those constituencies to build out a robust platform and policy demands that will prove restorative and reparative for generational harm enacted in the name of profit over planet and people. As a part of a region-wide effort, Renew New England, the Renew Vermont Alliance will establish a policy advisory entity that is representational of impacted communities, and work in concert with other organizations across New England on collectively developed and shared regional strategies towards our climate and energy goals. We’re developing policies and programs, conducting public education and building grassroots power to achieve a region wide Jobs Guarantee, universal healthcare, affordable housing, racial justice, and bold climate action – led by and in service to those who are consistently left behind in Vermont’s remediation efforts.
“Vermont Replace Your Ride Program”
- Presented by: Sue Minter (Capstone); Linda McGinnis (EAN Senior Fellow)
- Summary: Low-income and rural Vermonters face higher transportation costs in terms of share of household income and vehicle miles travelled. They often can’t afford to replace older vehicles that are both higher polluting and require more maintenance. In the wake of COVID-19, transportation will play a critical role in getting people back to school, services and work. We have an opportunity to build a more affordable and cleaner transportation sector for the long term, but without direct assistance, disadvantaged Vermonters risk being left behind from the start. Vermont Replace Your Ride provides cash incentives to disadvantaged Vermonters to trade in their older high-polluting vehicles for a range of clean transportation and shared-mobility options. The highest incentive amount will be allocated to participants with the lowest income, living in a disadvantaged community (highly inaccessible to public transit), and choosing the cleanest vehicle technology. Incentives can be stacked on top of other EV and EV Charger incentives.
“The Future of Rural Transit: Combining and Electrifying School and Public Transportation”
- Presented by: Cara Robechek (VEEP); Jenn Wallace-Brodeur (VEIC); Jenn Wood (GMT); Peggy O’Neill-Vivanco (UVM – Vermont Clean Cities Coalition)
- Summary: We propose addressing environmental, equity, and economic challenges in transportation by combining public, medicaid, and school transportation into a single electrified public transportation system. This project will include a detailed study looking at the opportunities and barriers of combining services, evaluating right-sizing vehicles, optimal service routes, and fleet sizes, while drawing from what Vermont and other states are learning about fleet electrification. It will also include a demonstration pilot deploying small electric (cut-away) buses to serve 1 or 2 rural school systems and surrounding communities, incorporating managed charging to increase local resiliency.
“Statewide, State-Funded Fare-Free Transit”
- Presented by: Jack Hanson (Sustainable Transportation VT); Chris Harrell (UVM)
- Summary: To increase equity, ridership, improve operations, and allow for social distancing, the State should provide additional funding to transit agencies to eliminate the need for those transit providers to charge fares. This cost is currently shouldered entirely by bus riders, who are disproportionately people of color and low-income Vermonters, and who are contributing less to the climate crisis in their transportation habits. By shifting this cost burden into the State budget, we are supporting vulnerable Vermonters while attacking the climate crisis.
“A Vehicle Feebate Program for Vermont”
- Presented by: Senator Andrew Perchlik
- Summary: Provide Vermonters that are buying a new vehicle a rebate if the vehicle has a rated MPG above average for its vehicle class, and include a fee on the purchase if it has a rated MPG below the average.
” Vermont’s Clean Heat Strategy (Part 1): the Renewable Heat Standard”
- Presented by: Richard Cowart and Rick Weston (RAP)
- Summary: Heating buildings and hot water is expensive, imported fossil fuel is a drain on the economy, and fossil heat is now the second-largest source of climate pollution in Vermont. It will be impossible to meet our climate goals while still relying on fossil heating fuels. But we do have a model to work from: Renewable Portfolio Standards on electricity providers have led the transition to renewable electricity. Shouldn’t we now have an equivalent requirement on the providers of heating fuels? A Renewable Heat Standard (RHS) would ensure continuous improvement in the building stock, drive fuel-switching to renewable fuels (e.g., heat pumps, biofuels, advanced wood heat) and support new business models for Vermont’s heating companies. Details matter but we know it can be done.
“Vermont’s Clean Heat Strategy (Part 2): The Light at the End of the Pipe”
- Presented by: Don Rendall (VGS) and Richard Cowart (RAP)
- Summary: Because fossil gas is cleaner than coal, it is often called the bridge fuel to a low-carbon future. But climate science tells us that this bridge must be both short and narrow. Gas companies and their regulators must now create transition plans to decommission gas systems, convert customers to alternative fuels, and protect consumers and public safety as they make the transition. Vermont Gas Systems (VGS) is committed to a low-carbon future, and should be covered by the Vermont Renewable Heat Standard along with other heating providers. But managing costs and protecting customers in a network utility also requires regulatory innovations. Working with Vermont’s regulators and policy-makers VGS can create a model for the nation, showing how a gas company can switch from being a fossil fuel provider to a low-emissions energy service company. This initiative aims to create that model.
“Invest in Vermonters: A Plan to Save Money & Improve Health for Low and Middle Income Households”
- Presented by: Ludy Biddle (Neighborworks of Western VT) and Neale Lunderville (VGS)
- Summary: A warm home should not be a luxury, but for too many low and moderate Vermonters, under-insulated homes keep thermostats low, fuel bills high, and fossil fuel use unchanged. The framework of State’s ambitious climate goals is built on the foundation of energy efficiency, yet we have not mobilized the funds required to invest in weatherization at scale to shift the trajectory of our greenhouse gas emissions. We propose a massive recapitalization of Vermont’s Weatherization Trust Fund to fund more than 100,000 home retrofits for low and moderate income households over the next decade. The plan calls for an all-of-the-above funding plan to include: green bonds funded by a “pay as you save” approach and backed by a thermal fuels efficiency fee; direct investment by utilities, municipalities, and federal grant funding; and Freedom & Unity Bonds to allow ultra-low interest borrowing for eligible homeowners. In addition to the obvious direct customer and climate benefits, our proposal will improve health outcomes for customers, provide a measure of energy justice for often overlooked customers, and put Vermonters to work in good-paying energy jobs.
NEW! Action Teams
In order to ensure that selected pitches lead to concrete action, EAN staff will provide network members with support, from organizing and facilitation of meetings to financial resources, to form Action Teams. Those who submitted a pitch are committing to work on moving it forward throughout the year, with support from EAN staff.
Summit attendees who represent EAN member or public partner organizations will have the opportunity to vote on which pitches should receive resources and support from EAN at the end of Day Two.
Find out more about pitches and action teams, by clicking below.