Two Regional Public Meetings Focus on Renewable Energy Resources Planning
The September meeting of the BCRC will include a public presentation and discussion of the region’s energy future. The regular September meeting will be held on Thursday, September 17, at the Manchester Town Offices on Route 7A. The meeting will begin at 6:00 PM with several short BCRC business items, and the public meeting will follow immediately upon completion of those items. A second public meeting, covering the same energy planning topics, will be held on Wednesday, September 30, at the Bennington Museum on West Main Street (Route 9) in Bennington. The Bennington meeting will begin at 6:30 PM.
Each of the energy meetings will begin with an overview of the energy planning project the BCRC is working on in collaboration with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and the Vermont Public Service Department. The state’s energy goals will be reviewed, including the objective of obtaining 90% of our energy across all sectors—transportation, space heating and cooling, and electricity from renewable sources by 2050. A computer model showing how that energy transformation might look in Bennington County will illustrate the dramatic conservation and efficiency gains needed, a transition to alternative forms of energy (for example, gasoline to electric and biodiesel powered vehicles and heating oil to wood-based heating systems and cold climate heat pumps), and a significant amount of new renewable energy generation in Vermont and in our region.
Much of the time at the meeting will be reserved for a presentation and discussion of the siting of renewable energy resources. The BCRC has prepared a series of maps showing areas where wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass (primarily wood) energy resources exist, as well as areas where environmental constraints limit the potential for use of those resources or development of electrical generating facilities. For the plan to be complete and effective, however, local input is needed to identify specific sites that may either offer outstanding potential for the use or development of renewable energy (including both electricity generation and large-scale use of biomass for “district heating” applications) or which should not be considered for development because of local concerns and resources that are not reflected in statewide data.
The information gathered at these public meetings will be integrated into the planning study and will help determine what the mix of energy supply and demand in the Bennington Region will look like in the future. Subsequent public meetings will focus on strategies for improving thermal efficiency, alternative transportation systems, and efficient delivery and use of electricity.