– by Josh Schlossberg, October 14, 2016, The Vermont Independent
Vermont’s 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) aims for a statewide transition to ninety percent renewable energy by 2050 while “virtually eliminating reliance on oil.”
To help reach these goals, the state seeks to cut energy consumption by fifteen percent by 2015 and by over one-third by 2050 through efficiency and conservation measures.
Within ten years Vermont hopes to procure twenty-five percent of its energy from renewables, with forty percent by 2035. For 2025, the breakdown would include sixty-seven percent renewable electricity, thirty percent renewable heating, and ten percent renewable transportation fuels.
A significant component of renewable energy would come from bioenergy, mostly sourced from forests, with a small percentage of agricultural crops such as willow and grasses.
The CEP outlines eight principles to guide the further development of bioenergy in the state.
[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Wood Pellets: Modern Wood Heating Making Inroads Across Northeast,” by Charlie Niebling of Innovative Natural Resource Solutions]
– by Janet Sinclair, Founding Member, Concerned Citizens of Franklin County
The Franklin and Berkshire Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG and BRCOG), in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), Massachusetts Forest Alliance, Franklin Land Trust, and others have formed a coalition to leverage up to $25 to $30 million of mostly public funds to create a National Forest designation in Western Massachusetts. Claiming ample public input, the project needs state and federal legislation for it to happen, and the FRCOG and BRCOG are in the process of writing the state law, hoping to get it passed in the coming months.
The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) is defined as “A Plan for Forest-Based Economic Development and Conservation.” At this juncture, it is a vaguely defined set of activities with an advisory committee made up largely of commercial forestry interests. The centerpiece of the plan is to pay $5-6 million for a wood pellet manufacturing facility that would take “waste wood” out of the forest, and increase the demand for pellets by using a state funding agency (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center) to pay to install wood pellet boilers in the schools, as well as other buildings and residences.