Greetings from the Eaton House!
First, we’re happy to welcome Institute Director Michael Dworkin back from a couple of red-eyes across the Atlantic and four days in Oxford, where he presented at the 1st Annual Conference of the UK Energy Law and Policy Association.
The Europeans were so fascinated in the parallels between the mult-jurisdictional governance of electricity systems here in the Northeast and in the EU, that Michael has been invited to speak on the subject again in Finland in March. A copy of the “penultimate” PowerPoint draft is attached, for the curious among you. (The final, proofed version lies in the innards of Oxford’s IT department.)
The Energy Clinic
Energy Clinicians have wasted no time in getting into the swing of their various projects. Last Tuesday night, the Energy Clinic presented at a community meeting in Strafford about the Elizabeth Mine solar project. Deputy Director Kevin Jones and 3L Advanced Energy Clinician Gregg Freeman laid out why it is important to retire the projects renewable energy credits in order to ensure that Vermont can count the greenhouse gas reduction benefits. A quick overview of the main clinic projects.
Community Solar Project
Energy Clinicians Gregg Freeman, Heather Huebner, and Austin Cheeley are working with the Thetford Energy Committee as well as with community groups in Randolph and Bennington to develop community owned solar projects based on the clinic’s community solar model. Look out for more information soon about our potential new South Royalton Community Solar project. The Community Solar Team is also expanding its efforts across the Connecticut River and helping a NH legislator draft a community solar bill for the Granite State.
And then there’s the 500-kilowatt solar project already under construction on Gee Hill Road in South Royalton, which will meet over half of the VLS campus’ current demand. (See the press released sent out by the Communications Office earlier this week to learn more.) Through exhaustive efforts last academic year and throughout the summer, the Energy Clinic was instrumental in getting this Gee Hill Road project off the ground. What’s more, the solar array will be installed by our own Aaron Kelly, a MERL candidate and Energizer, who runs Tunbridge Solar. Thanks to Dean Mihaly, Lorraine Atwood, and Glenn Berger and all of the Board of Trustees for their strong support for VLS to go solar!
Low Income Solar Project
Global Energy Fellow Laura Schieb, along with Casey McKee, Lyanne Mendez, and Brandon Oldham are actively exploring the state and federal barriers to low-income solar ownership, and developing a set of detailed policy options to overcome these barriers. These include business models to support low-income solar ownership and regulatory and legislative actions that can be taken to enhance ownership opportunities to everyone in Vermont, regardless of income. Clean, distributed solar should be a resource that reduces, rather than increases, income inequality.
Anaerobic Biodigester Project
Paige Heverly and Doug Cortes are helping launch an exciting new project. Passed in 2012, Act 148 requires the separation of all food waste from municipal solid waste by 2020. This regulation creates a great opportunity for the utilization of Anaerobic Digesters, which can convert food waste into electricity, nutrient-rich compost and a liquid byproduct. The Clinic is working with Aegis Renewable Energy, Grow Compost, and Avatar Energy to research Vermont’s regulatory structure for food-waste fueled anaerobic digesters, and to help address some key challenges of how to best utilize the liquid byproduct.
In the next installment of IEE Fortnightly, we’ll highlight the work of the Institute’s research teams, along with all other updates.
Until next time,