Sustainable Energy Summit
US Department of Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz visited Vermont last week to learn about our leadership in clean energy. While here, he met with the Vermont Congressional delegation and had several opportunities to meet with Vermont’s energy leaders.
On the evening of Thursday May 15, Ellen Kahler, Executive Director of Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), joined 40 other invitees for a briefing with Dr. Moniz at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) in Burlington. The Vermont Bioenergy Initiative is a program of VSJF. The event was organized by Senator Bernie Sanders, who meets regularly with many of the invitees to discuss shifts in US energy policy, based on what has worked here in Vermont. During this briefing, Dr. Moniz heard about the many innovative initiatives underway to reduce non-renewable energy use and increase energy efficiency throughout the state. Examples of these initiatives include Green Mountain Power‘s investments in renewable energy projects, Washington Electric Cooperative’s 100% renewable portfolio, SunCommon‘s impressive residential solar energy installation program, Energy Action Network‘s efforts on making Montpelier the first net-zero state capital in the US, and the state’s commitment to achieve 90% renewable energy by 2050, to name just a few.
On Friday May 16, Dr. Moniz was one of eight panelists to speak at the Sustainable Energy Summit at Middlebury College. Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin represented the Vermont delegation and comprised half of the panel. The second half were four Vermont energy leaders: Dr. Jack Byrne from Middlebury College, Mary Powell from Green Mountain Power, Scott Johnstone from VEIC, and Jamison Ervin from Waterbury LEAP, the Waterbury-Duxbury energy committee.
The Summit was open to the public and was attended by citizens, energy program leaders such as Vermont Bioenergy Initiative, and students. All panelists were invited to speak to the importance of clean energy to Vermont, and there was time for questions from the audience.