Total Energy News February 2023
Your Update on Vermont and National Energy News
EAN is pleased to announce that we are currently taking applications for our 2023 paid Summer Internship Program. This will be the fourth year of this program, guided by EAN Senior Fellow Christine Donovan. Two Summer Interns will be selected for 2023. Each Intern will develop and carry out a research and writing project directly related to the ongoing work of EAN. Applications are due March 1, 2023 for college students (rising juniors and seniors in 2023) and 2023 college graduates excited by EAN’s mission of achieving Vermont’s climate and energy commitments in ways that create a just, thriving, and sustainable future for Vermonters. Please share this opportunity if you know students who might be interested!


While we are looking towards summer, EAN is also starting to plan our 2023 Network Summit. We would appreciate any feedback you may wish to share to help guide our planning, including whether to offer a half-day “pre-Summit” event again this year to brainstorm and discuss Network priorities and start planning pitches, and whether to expand our Annual Summit to two days. If you have thoughts about either of those questions, or other thoughts about venues and content of the Summit, we welcome those on this very brief survey!


Finally, the Affordable Heat Act (S.5) has been getting a lot of attention lately. If you are interested in learning more, the Clean Heat working group has put together a detailed FAQ.

Hope you are staying warm and dry on this gray February day,

Cara, Jared, and Lena
News from the World
Heat pumps are defying Maine’s winters and oil industry pushback
Fossil fuel industry groups say the technology isn’t ideal for the state’s climate. Mainers aren’t buying it.
The Washington Post
Minnesota House Democrats introduce ban on new gas lawn mowers for 2025
The bill introduced in the Minnesota House would also ban the sale of other gas-powered equipment like leaf blowers.
Minnesota Reformer
The EPA is updating its most important tool for cracking down on carbon emissions
The EPA is updating its social cost of carbon. The new number is more accurate, but is also raising ethical concerns.
National Public Radio
Network Action Team Profile:
Networked Geothermal
Networked geothermal is a promising but mainly unexplored solution for Vermont’s thermal sector. Unlike deep wells needed to heat an individual home, these systems use shallow boreholes and water-filled loops to both heat and cool an entire street or village center. The more neighborhoods are linked to the network the more affordable and efficient it becomes, offering an equitable way to transition off of fossil fuels and other polluting heating sources. 


Collaborating with the Vermont Community Geothermal Alliance, this EAN Network Action Team is working to enable a more rapid implementation of thermal energy networks by addressing known financial, ownership, and workforce barriers as well as creating the understanding and support needed to help this much-needed solution succeed at scale in Vermont.

The Network Action Team is hosting a lunchtime webinar as part of a series on Thermal Energy Networks for Vermont which will introduce the opportunities and benefits of adding geothermal and other kinds of thermal energy networks to Vermont’s clean energy solutions. 


This series includes:

Keeping Vermonters Warm and Cool: The potential of thermal energy networks

Hosted by VECAN Wednesday, March 1 at Noon

Putting Thermal Networks to Work: Achieving climate goals and policy solutions
Hosted by Energy Action Network Monday, March 20 at Noon 

The Benefits and Business of Thermal Energy Networks 
Hosted by Renewable Energy Vermont Tuesday, April 4 at Noon
Data Download: Role of Affordable Heat Act in achieving VT’s emission reductions
A main goal of the Clean Heat Standard (CHS) that would be established under the Affordable Heat Act is to reduce climate pollution in Vermont in line with Vermont’s legal obligations – 40% lower by 2030, 80% lower by 2050.


But the CHS doesn’t have to start from scratch to do this. Vermont already has, and will likely expand, several programs that reduce both monthly energy bills and fossil heating emissions. Those programs include the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), fossil reductions under the Renewable Energy Standard (“Tier 3”), rebates from energy efficiency utilities, and the Clean Energy Development Fund, among others.

All of these actions contribute towards meeting the overall emissions reduction targets of the CHS, and therefore would qualify to earn clean heat credits. This is an important feature of the CHS structure that promotes cost-effective use of existing programs in the energy sector. Creating the CHS as an “umbrella” policy that counts all eligible savings the same–regardless of who delivers them–will give Vermont the greatest flexibility in reaching the GHG reduction obligations, encourage action by many actors, and will lower the cost of meeting GHG obligations.


Some have asked: “But if a utility already has an obligation to deliver Tier 3 savings, or a CAP agency already has a budget to deliver low-income weatherization, isn’t it “double counting” to give the same actions credit under the CHS?” The clean heat working group responds: “Not at all. If an analogy helps, consider a school with a math requirement for graduation. If you take a math class it may meet the math requirement and will also count towards the credits needed to graduate. The class is satisfying two requirements, but the math credits only count once on your transcript. That’s not ‘double counting’.”


Events and Opportunities
Networked Geothermal Webinar Series
Join any of three webinars in the series Thermal Energy Networks for Vermont to learn from leaders from the rapidly growing world of thermal energy exchange on the potential of these systems for our communities and our state goals.
EAN Webinar: Retaining Climate Workforce
This webinar was hosted by the EAN Climate Workforce Network Action Team earlier in February. It is targeted at climate workforce employers, and provides an inspiring view of low and no cost retention techniques for keeping your workers in their jobs. Presented by Susan Loynd, M.A., SHRM-SCP, who is an accomplished, certified, senior human resource executive with over 25 years’ experience as a business leader. 
EAN Network Action Teams
EAN Network Action Teams meet regularly. If you are interested in joining meetings of the Weatherization at Scale Coalition, the Climate Workforce Coalition, or other teams, or if you want to learn more about their work, contact Cara:
Vermont Climate Council Meetings
All Vermont Climate Council meetings and subcommittee meetings are open to the public, with all details on the Climate Council website.
The Vermont Total Energy Ticker
How much does Vermont’s power grid depend on fossil fuels?
Brave Little State gives a deep dive into the question: “As electricity rates rise with gas and oil costs, to what degree does Vermont’s power grid depend on the burning of these fossil fuels?”
Vermont Public
Vermont gas utility sees geothermal as a part of its carbon-cutting portfolio
VGS is seeking possible sites for its first networked geothermal project, in which multiple buildings would be connected to a system that provides emission-free heating and cooling via underground pipes.
Energy News Network
Burlington files for state approval of district energy project at McNeil plant
Discussed since the early 1980s, a plan to harness steam heat from Burlington’s wood-fired power plant took a step forward earlier this month when project consultants asked for state approval.
VT Digger
Have an upcoming event or news story to share? Let us know.

Contact EAN

  • Jared Duval

    Jared Duval

    Executive Director
  • Cara Robechek

    Cara Robechek

    Deputy Dir. & Network Manager
  • Lena Stier

    Lena Stier

    Data Manager
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