Selectboard discussing REC proposal, take 3!

From Nick:

The Regional Energy Coordinator proposal is back on the Thetford Selectboard’s agenda for Monday, December 2nd at 7:45pm (weather willing). Thank you to everyone who showed up and emailed before – please, can you do it again?

Under a 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan, Vermont is required by 2050 to have a 90 percent renewable energy portfolio and an 80-95 percent reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas levels. Local communities can cut emissions on multiple fronts, however it is unrealistic to expect meaningful progress without accurate information, focused guidance, and leadership.

Many towns have Energy Committees or similar (including Thetford), but volunteers are often at capacity. Municipal employees work diligently for our communities, but often lack the time and expertise to go above and beyond their current responsibilities and develop and implement energy policies, projects, and programs. Hiring additional staff for smaller, rural towns is cost prohibitive. 

Regionalization is Vermont’s likely future due to rising costs and shrinking populations. West Fairlee is already contracting with Thetford for light duty patrol services instead of investing in their own police department – energy services are no different. We can gain more benefit for lower costs by partnering with neighboring towns; we can reduce emissions and taxes as a region.

The Regional Energy Coordinator proposal is all-inclusive. Thetford would pay a one-time service fee that includes salary, benefits, and overhead, and a specialized professional would be provided to our town with no additional legwork required by Town employees. And, unlike a municipal employee, this Coordinator would be free to work with our schools. And our residents. And businesses. The potential savings is greater than what we’d see in our municipal property tax bill – does that sound like a good deal to you? 

We can track emission and cost reductions, we can tally the number of homes weatherized or the number of residents that benefited from an incentive program, but an Energy Coordinator’s value is more than just a number on a report or a reduction on a tax bill. They could provide resources, guidance… hope. They could shift how we think about local government.

What would a Coordinator mean to you? Will you email the Selectboard and tell them why YOU would be grateful for a Regional Energy Coordinator?

Let the Selectboard know how you might be impacted by your town investing in energy solutions. Remember, we’re in a climate emergency and the path forward requires all of us.

Nick Clark