- Opportunities For
It’s important that our region and our local communities have a voice in energy planning decision making, and now, thanks to Act 174, we do. We work to make sure towns have the information and resources they need to have their voices heard and that they’re saying what they mean to say.
We look at the whole picture of energy use and needs in the region as it’s painted by data and how that data overlay with current conditions: land use, transportation, electricity use, heating. We can plan for the future when we know where we are today. Much of this work is relayed in the Rutland Regional Plan’s energy chapter.
We work on a local level with municipalities to create energy chapters in municipal plans that shape development patterns to increase energy efficiency. This includes mapping, siting of energy generation infrastructure, drafting land use bylaws, and assisting with funding opportunities.
We work with towns to locate places where energy generation infrastructure would work. Considerations include sensitive wildlife habitats, proximity to existing infrastructure, wetlands, surrounding land use (the middle of a forest vs. the middle of an industrial park), migration patterns, flood plains, and potential neighbors.
Town plan language can play a role in a town’s ability to have—or not have-- energy generation infrastructure. RRPC can help towns incorporate language to improve their chances to achieve the town’s desired outcome.
In addition, we review all Section 248 applications at the regional and municipal level and assist of renewable electric generation project developers.
If your town would like to start an energy committee, please contact Barbara—we can help get a committee organized, facilitate or even provide meeting space.
Act 174 gives communities more say in energy generation facility siting decisions. The voice for this “say” is the municipal energy plan. These plans must meet standards established by the Vermont Public Service Department to receive a "determination of energy compliance" and to qualify for "substantial deference" in a Public Service Board review.
The region and its municipalities have the option to create “enhanced energy plans” that will carry more weight in the Section 248 process, which governs the siting of energy generation and telecommunication facilities.
Enhanced energy plans need a “determination of energy compliance” by the Public Service Department before the Public Service Board gives the plan “substantial deference”. Act 174 stipulates that regional and municipal plans must be consistent with the state’s energy goals and policies to obtain a determination of energy compliance.
Substantial deference means that the Public Service Board must consider the land conservation measures and specific policies contained in the regional or municipal plan unless there is a clear and convincing demonstration that other factors affecting the general good of the State outweigh the application of local policy.
Enhanced energy planning is not mandatory for either the region or municipalities, but we think it’s important so we’re currently writing a draft Rutland Region Energy Plan and we are here to help local communities with drafting a local enhanced energy plan.
Maps and data have already been prepared by our GIS specialist for each municipality in the region. Find your town on our website to get access to the data and maps you’ll need to address several sections of the standards. Even if your community decides not to pursue an enhanced energy plan, these materials can help you prepare your next Municipal Plan.
There are other required and detailed standards for both regional and municipal enhanced energy plans each with a set of guidelines that may be helpful.
The goals involve efficiency, conservation, and renewable generation. And there’s legislation to guide path to reaching those goals.
• Reduce greenhouse gases by 50% from the 1990 levels by 2028, and by 75% by 2050. 10 V.S.A. § 578(a)
• Supply 25% of all electricity with in-state renewable sources by 2025. This is something referred to as the “25 x 25” goal. 10 V.S.A. § 580.
• Make 25% of homes (or 80,000 units) energy efficient by 2020. 10 V.S.A. § 581
• Address energy efficiency, siting, and renewable energy development in regional and municipal planning. 30 V.S.A. § 202 and 202b.
• Electric utilities must meet renewable energy standards under 30 V.S.A. §§ 8004 and 8005.
MW by 2025
MW by 2035
MW by 2050
|Solar - Impervious & Rooftop||0||40||201|
|Solar - Ground Mounted||30||50||68|
|Residential & Commercial Wind||1||2||4|
|Biomass & Methane||0||2||5|
MWh by 2050
|Solar - All Impervious, Rooftop & Mounted||349,462|
|Residential & Commercial Wind||8,000|
|Biomass & Methane||30,500|
MWh by 2025
MWh by 2035
MWh by 2050
Total Renewable Generation Target
(for each municipality)
Renewable generation targets for municipalities were developed by the Rutland Regional Planning Commission. Preferred and non-preferred sites will be identified by towns in enhanced energy plans.