The ten new proposals focused on how to save Vermonters money and improve the Vermont economy while meeting the now legal requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act. The majority of ideas focused on equitable improvements to the transportation and heating sectors, where over 70% of Vermont’s climate pollution is generated and which also present the greatest energy cost burden to Vermonters.
The four most popular proposals were:
- “Invest in Vermonters,” a plan to weatherize 100,000 low and moderate income Vermont homes by 2030 to save money, improve health, and cut pollution (presented by Neale Lunderville, CEO of VGS, and Ludy Biddle, Executive Director of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont).
- The “Vermont Replace Your Ride” program, a plan to provide cash incentives to Vermonters to trade in older high-polluting vehicles for a range of clean transportation and shared-mobility options (presented by Sue Minter, Executive Director of Capstone Community Action and Linda McGinnis, EAN Sr. Fellow).
- “The Future of Rural Transit,” a long-term plan to combine public, Medicaid, and school transportation into a single electrified public transportation system (presented by Cara Robechek, Executive Director of the Vermont Energy Education Program; Jenn Wallace-Brodeur of VEIC; Jenn Wood of Green Mountain Transit; and Peggy O’Neill-Vivanco, of the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition).
- A “Renewable Heat Standard,” modeled on the “Renewable Portfolio Standard” approach that has helped clean up the electricity generation sector. Similarly, a Renewable Heat Standard (RHS) would help improve building stock, drive switches from fossil fuels to renewable fuels (e.g., heat pumps, biofuels, advanced wood heat), and support new business models for Vermont’s heating companies (presented by Richard Cowart and Rick Weston, Regulatory Assistance Project).
“The analysis and ideas presented at the Summit show that not only can Vermont meet its legally required emissions reduction commitments—we can do so in ways that will save Vermonters money and strengthen the Vermont economy” said Jared Duval, Executive Director of the Energy Action Network. “Far from a sacrifice, we have a generational opportunity to reduce energy costs, create jobs, build resilience, cut pollution, and improve public health by moving away from vehicles and heating equipment that require dirty, expensive, and 100% imported fossil fuels.”
EAN is a diverse network of over 200 members representing non-profit organizations and local businesses, utilities and energy service providers, institutions of higher education, and local, state, and federal public sector partners – all committed to achieving Vermont’s 90% renewable by 2050 total energy commitment and to significantly reducing Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions in ways that create a more just, thriving, and sustainable future for Vermonters.
The Network is supported by a backbone non-profit organization which serves as a neutral convener and an independent analyst and tracker of progress. The organization publishes an Annual Progress Report on Energy, Emissions, the Economy, and Equity. Videos of presentations, panel discussions, and proposals from the Summit will be available at https://www.eanvt.org/