Spring is visibly on its way to Vermont, and with it we are looking toward new opportunities.
One opportunity comes from the Future of Rural Transit – Network Action Team. This project, which was selected by EAN members at the 2020 EAN Summit, is now looking for a partner school supervisory union and community in Vermont to study the feasibility of combined public transit and school transportation using electric buses. A brief application due April 16 is available for completion by interested supervisory unions. The application and background information is available on the Future of Rural transit webpage. Please feel free to share this application in your community!
Additionally, EAN is now accepting applications for our summer internship program for 2 college students (rising juniors or seniors) or graduate students. The program, run by EAN Senior Fellow Christine Donovan with support from EAN staff, gives the interns a broad introduction to the energy community in Vermont, while supporting them to do focused research. Last year’s EAN interns performed vital research on energy equity in Vermont. This year we are looking for interns who will develop and carry out a defined research, writing, or social media project directly related to the ongoing work of EAN. Examples might include:
Conducting a piece of research or analysis that could support the work of the Vermont Climate Council, expand the EAN Emissions Pathways Model, or be featured in the EAN 2022 Annual Progress report.
Researching and writing a series of case studies describing energy policies and initiatives in other states addressing issues of energy inequity or equitable GHG reduction strategies, and analyzing how they might apply in Vermont.
Writing, editing, and producing a series of 5-minute videos highlighting key findings in the forthcoming 2020/21 Annual Progress Report. Develop and helping implement a statewide dissemination strategy.
“Replace Your Ride” was one of the four pitches that was selected by EAN members at the EAN 2020 summit. A broad group of partners has since come together under the leadership of co-chairs Peggy O’Neil-Vivanco (VT Clean Cities Coalition) and Linda McGinnis (EAN Senior Fellow) to develop this idea. Replace Your Ride is intended to help low income Vermonters switch to clean transportation options affordably, while also accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. It offers cash incentives to retire older, high-polluting/low-MPG vehicles, and allows these incentives to be applied to a range of clean transportation or shared-mobility options (e.g., new or used EVs, transit vouchers, electric motorcycles/bicycles, shared-mobility vouchers). It is also designed to stack on top of existing incentives to ensure the highest incentives for more efficient and affordable transportation options are targeted to the lowest-income Vermonters.
The Replace Your Ride program has been included in Vermont House Transportation Bill 433 with a current budget of $1.5 million for fiscal year 2022. The Network Action Team has supported VTrans in developing the concept. Working groups are currently exploring how to support flexibility for participants, and administrative simplicity, in the portions of the project that allow for the purchase of a new or used bicycle or electric motorcycle, and the utilization of shared-mobility services. A group of Middlebury College students is also doing research to support implementation of this program. More details can be seen on the EAN website.
Data Download – Age of VT Vehicles
In Vermont, the transportation sector is our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Significant efficiency improvements in our transportation sector are needed in order to reach the requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, and these improvements must support the mobility needs of all Vermonters – including those with lower incomes. Data from the National Household Travel Survey in 2017 showed that the lowest income households in the rural Northeast drove cars that were much older than their higher income neighbors, with those earning less than $25,000 per year having cars that are more than 12 years old on average, and those earning over $100,000 having cars that were less than 8 years old on average. With the average Vermont car being almost 10 years old, most of the cars Vermonters buy in 2021 are likely to still be on the road in 2030 or beyond.
What’s Coming Up?
Vermont Climate Council Meetings
Did you know that all of the Vermont Climate Council meetings and subcommittee meetings are open to the public? Vermont’s official state website includes information about meeting times and topics for the meetings, as well as links to watch recordings of previous meetings.
Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN) is one of EAN’s newest Network members. They are hosting their Vermont Green Building Celebration on Wednesday March 31, 2021 from noon-1:30pm with a keynote by Congressman Welch and recognition of the 2020 Vermont’s Greenest Buildings Award Competition winners.
The Center for Research & Public Policy well be presenting the results of a statewide survey on weatherization in Vermont, conducted on behalf of Efficiency Vermont and VGS on April 13, 2021 at noon. The survey was designed to collect input from Vermont residents on their experience with (and perceptions of) weatherization. This research can be used to help all who work in the weatherization space to improve our understanding of potential gaps between actual opportunities for weatherization and customers’ perceived opportunities for weatherization.