March 06, 2008
Administration seeks 25 Renewable Energy from Farms, Forests by 2025
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas today released an advisory report showing that Vermont can meet the goal of generating 25 percent of its total energy from renewable sources, principally from farms and forests, by 2025.
Under Governor Douglas’ direction, Vermont became the 14th state to join the 25 X ’25 Alliance in 2006, a coalition of more than 330 agricultural, forestry, businesses, labor, environmental and civic organizations working to advance renewable energy solutions originating from farms, forestry and other working lands nationally.
“In Vermont we have many natural resources that can be converted into renewable and responsible energy options,” Governor Douglas said. “Working toward, and meeting, our renewable energy goals will present Vermont new opportunities for economic growth and job creation,” said Governor Douglas. “This report lays the groundwork for Vermont to be a leader in the expanding farm, forest and field-based energy industries.”
The 25 x ‘25 steering committee conducting the work, first launched by Governor Douglas and later approved by the Legislature in 2006, is comprised of a broad coalition of agricultural, energy and policy professionals whose goal is to develop a plan to meet the 25 X ’25 objective. This report shows that that is indeed feasible. David Lane, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, chairs the committee in 2008.
The report, funded by the Department of Public Service, is a compilation of the work the committee has accomplished over the past year in its consideration of all possible opportunities for renewable energy sources in Vermont. At the Governor’s request, it offers one of many scenarios in which Vermont could achieve the 25 X ‘25 goal.
The committee’s report suggests using crop-based technologies, agricultural power sources such as anaerobic digesters, wood-based technologies, farm-scale wind power, and biodiesel, solar, hydro and geothermal technologies.
“Agriculture will play a key role in ensuring Vermont’s energy independence. Renewable energy offers many opportunities for our farmers, our economy and our environment,” said Roger Allbee, Secretary of Agriculture. “This report underscores the opportunities we have to produce energy while maintaining our working landscape.”
“The findings of the 25 x ‘25 committee echoes the recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change,” added George Crombie, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. “We need to keep our forests and farmlands working, both for Vermonters’ well being and the overall health of our environment.”
Next steps detailed in the report include:
Prioritizing strategies and implementation process
Setting a timeline
Identifying partners, collaborators and stakeholders
Developing a resource assessment and plan
Developing a communication plan
Identifying and procuring administrative support
Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien said there is widespread public support for this effort. “In 2007, almost 1,000 Vermonters participated in a public engagement process on energy. During those discussions, Vermonters expressed a strong desire to meet future energy demands through renewable sources of energy. The use of biofuels and sources such as wood are a natural solution for our state”, O’Brien said.
“I appreciate the collaborative effort of the members of this committee and the work they have done to put into place recommendations that have the potential to positively impact Vermont’s economy and our environment,” Governor Douglas said. “It is important for Vermont to make continued progress in these areas.”
The Vermont 25 X ’25 Initiative preliminary findings and goals can be downloaded from www.vermontagriculture.com.
Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: March 06, 2008 13:05:57