Weinberger presents plan for net zero energy city, lake clean-up

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Weinberger presents plan for net zero energy city, lake clean-up

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 12:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, standing with environmental and community leaders, announced Tuesday a three-year environmental plan that prioritizes making Burlington a net-zero city, creating a stormwater authority and expanding efforts to combat climate change. The mayor presented the plan under the banner of his re-election campaign.

Mayor Weinberger presents his environmental plan Tuesday on the Waterfront. Courtesy photo.

The goals include:

  • Taking steps to help Burlington become a Net Zero Energy City across electric, thermal, and ground transportation sectors over the next 15 years by implementing a district heating system, strategic electrification, and investing in e-buses and e-bikes.
  • Advocating to create a new Vermont Stormwater Authority through leadership on the Vermont Mayors Coalition and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
  • Expanding the impact of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition by hosting an annual summit to track climate pledges and by creating a system for tracking and reporting cumulative progress towards pledged goals.

“In 2014, Burlington achieved a remarkable milestone by sourcing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable generation,” said Weinberger. “We have had an overwhelming response to that achievement, and now we are doubling down on that effort by taking major steps to becoming a Net Zero Energy City over the next 15 years and by championing bold action to clean up and protect Lake Champlain.”

The following state and local environmental and community leaders attended the announcement and shared the following thoughts:

Gabrielle Stebbins, Chair of the Burlington Electric Commission and Senior Consultant at Energy Futures Group, stated: "Mayor Weinberger follows up his words with action. During his tenure as Mayor, I've been impressed with his call for the Burlington Electric Department to lead on energy innovation by specifically taking steps to transition Burlington into a net zero energy city. And his net zero call has been coupled with his push for strategic electrification throughout our City. The Mayor has challenged our community to use electricity instead of fossil fuels, leading BED to offer innovative electric vehicle rebates and financing programs helping more Burlingtonians drive electric, to help Green Mountain Transit secure enough funding to order its first four electric buses, and to offer electric bike incentives to help our community members move away from gasoline-powered vehicles.

Scott Johnstone, CEO of Packetized Energy and immediate past Executive Director of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, said, “Mayor Weinberger has an impressive record on the environment and energy. The progress has been both incredible and accomplished with an eye toward affordability. Best yet, he understands there is still much to do and offers the vision needed for Burlington to remain livable and a champion of sustainability moving forward.”

Chad Nichols, Director of Project Development and Construction at Encore Renewable Energy, stated: “As someone who has chosen to live and work in Burlington for nearly 10 years, I have witnessed under Miro’s leadership the establishment of Burlington as an environmental, sustainability-focused leader in the 21st century restoration and climate economies, raising the bar for cities across the region and our nation. At Encore Renewable Energy, we have worked with Burlington Electric, the Airport, and the City on unique efficiently scaled solar projects, which serve both our community and our planet, as well as create local jobs and municipal revenues. We hope to see Miro continue to position Burlington as a magnet for other young folks who want to find meaningful work in a City that values its environmental and energy resources, all while being a cool place to live. Thank you, Miro, for your leadership.”

Burlington State Representative Mary Sullivan, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife, was unable to attend today’s announcement but stated: "Mayor Weinberger consistently has exhibited strong leadership on legislative issues in Montpelier through his leadership of both the Vermont Mayors Coalition and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. Miro's support of a statewide stormwater authority to meet Vermont's water quality standards demonstrates his understanding that the time to get moving on water clean-up is now, or Vermont will start to see our clean, green reputation go down the tubes fast."

Matt Moore, Chair of the Burlington Conservation Board, who was also unable to attend today’s announcement, stated: “Miro has been steadfast in his support for open space conservation and increasing public access to recreation and the outdoors. He understands the importance of conserving and preserving open space, and the link between economic development and our ability to afford conservation. Miro has led a successful effort to lay much groundwork toward our conservation goals through use of the City’s Conservation Legacy Fund. For example, use of the Fund has helped preserve the 12-acre corridor on the former Catholic Diocese property permanently protecting public recreational access from the Old North End to the bike path and waterfront. The next three years offer incredible conservation opportunities that depend on leadership continuity in City Hall.”

Source: Weinberger campaign 2.27.2018