Scott, VCRD, utilities look to develop 'climate smart' communities

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Scott, VCRD, utilities look to develop 'climate smart' communities

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 1:44pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) joined with Governor Phil Scott and partners including Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Electric Coop and Washington Electric Coop today to launch the Climate Economy Model Communities Program. VCRD will join with the utilities and other partners to facilitate a process in two communities annually to help them build and implement locally developed plans modeling state-of-the-art rural development in an age of climate change. The ultimate goal is to create more economically sustainable and “climate smart” communities throughout Vermont. This coordinated rapid approach will include implementing comprehensive efficiencies efforts, transportation system improvements, energy generation, entrepreneurship and business incubation to spur economic progress.

From left: Paul Costello, Ted Brady, Liz Gamache, Mary Powell, Governor Scott, and Jon Copans. VCRD photo.

“This program represents an excellent opportunity to think differently to facilitate the development of innovative community-led climate economy initiatives, driven by partners like VCRD, Vermont utilities and subject-matter experts,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I look forward to seeing what initiatives emerge through this program, and potential impact for Vermont communities and our economy.”

“Vermont exports over $2 billion annually for the purchase of fossil fuels. Vermont towns that capture even a tiny fraction of that outflow can take big steps to secure their economic vitality,” said VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello. “We are thrilled to be partnering on this program with Vermont’s nation-leading electric and efficiency utilities who will work to deliver efficiency and energy transformation services to homes and businesses in the participating communities. Over 17,700 Vermonters work in fields related to clean energy and efficiency, up nearly 5% from last year. When you add the opportunities for smart growth, downtown business incubation, and transportation systems change, we see an enormous opportunity for economic renewal for Vermont communities.”  

“Vermonters are innovative, creative, and committed to a lower carbon future and Green Mountain Power is excited to work with this team to bring our collective expertise to bear for the benefit of communities all across the State,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power.

“Economically strong communities require clean, reliable and affordable energy and this collaboration will help get us there.” “At Efficiency Vermont we see what’s possible when local businesses, non-profits, residents and others come together to reduce energy use and strengthen the economy. It can transform the vitality of a community. We’re excited to be part of this new program to take that work even further,” said Efficiency Vermont Director Liz Gamache.

As part of today’s launch, Project Director Jon Copans of VCRD released a Request-For-Proposals soliciting applications from communities that are interested in participating in the Model Communities Program. Communities will have until March 22 to apply. A copy of the RFP and more details about the program can be found here: http://www.vtrural.org/model-communities

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit organization charged by the federal farm bill to act as a neutral convener at both the local and policy level supporting the progress of Vermont communities.

Source: Vermont Council on Rural Development 2.17.2017