Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) have announced $629,966 in grants to support efficient and renewable energy initiatives in the Green Mountain State.
The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of $5 million in funding to 13 states to advance innovative approaches for local clean energy development through the State Energy Program. The program aims to reduce energy bills for families and businesses, reduce carbon emissions and increase energy security.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said, "Vermont continues to lead the way in clean and efficient energy development. This investment in that effort will make it easier for Vermont business and families to conserve energy and reduce their electric bills. By improving how we connect renewable energy to the grid and increasing efficient energy practices, we can further reduce our carbon footprint and protect Vermont into the future."
Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.) said, "Today's announcement that the U.S. Department of Energy has selected Vermont for two competitive grants recognizes our leadership in energy innovation. With these funds we will build on our national model for energy efficiency by focusing on ways to increase investment in efficient technologies for our buildings. We will also enhance our efforts to connect more solar and renewable energy to the grid. I thank Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch for their support of these projects, and their dedication to fostering collaboration between the Department of Energy and Vermont."
The grants will fund two projects in Vermont. The first project, receiving a grant of $249,966, is a partnership between the Vermont Department of Public Service and Green Mountain Power to standardize and streamline how Vermont interconnects and distributes the generation of renewable energy into the grid. The grant will also develop a single online application for permitting and connecting small energy projects to the grid and tools to monitor and better understand the electric distribution grid.
The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation received $380,000 to be shared with the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning to build on the experience developing the Vermont Home Energy Score to expand to a multistate approach to building benchmarking and labeling that will lead to greater investments in energy efficient upgrades to homes and businesses. Vermont will focus on partnerships with the real estate industry to encourage efficient upgrades to homes, and the project will develop tools to enable other states to learn from Vermont and New Hampshire's collaboration and to follow their lead.