Renewable Energy Vermont, what does this title entail? How many solar panels and wind turbines will I be working on? In fact, the job description is much more difficult than installing a field of panels or climbing 250 + feet inside of a turbine. Olivia Cambell Andersen, the Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont, is tasked with long, complicated meetings where everything she stands for becomes a twisted tornado of paperwork, rules, and jurisdictions.
Thankfully, Olivia is not alone on her journey. There are multitudes of other Clean Energy organizations that rally for the same cause as Renewable Energy Vermont. I was introduced to state representatives from respective northeastern states other than Vermont, such as Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire at the North Eastern Clean Energy Conference (NECEC) in Boston, Massachusetts. Every Representative prepared slides divulging new progress, and a few shortcomings each state faced in their fight for Clean/Renewable energy. All in all, the conference was lighthearted and very informative. It seems that all the states involved in the NECEC are making progress, no matter how slow or how many setbacks they faced.
Traveling northward to Vermont, the scenery was like no other I have ever laid eyes upon. Though the cities are spread far apart similar to the majority of the houses around the area, this is the perfect region to promote Renewable Energy because of all the open fields and untouched resources. Renewable Energy Vermont has been moving on the fast track for the last year or so now, but has recently been hindered by many obstacles in their plan to reach 90% renewable energy for the state of Vermont. A very significant factor are the NIMBYs, or the “Not In My BackYard” citizens who want to preserve the aesthetics. At the Public Service Board meeting, the aforementioned were particularly vocal with concerns about how disruptive and harmful the wind turbines in particular have been to them personally and to others not present they felt the need to represent. Additionally, Environmental issues are a very big concern in the current primary race for Vermont’s next Governor. I was granted the opportunity to work in the campaign office of a strong candidate, Sue Minter, and realized that her views of the environmental issues Vermont is facing coincides accordingly with the plans Renewable Energy Vermont intends to implement. While I had the opportunity to call potential voters, many of them had questions about where she stands on the Green Revolution and not much else. Needless to say Vermont is heading in the right direction, and the people leading the charge are those who fill out the paperwork, propose ideas, and sit for hours on end waiting for a short 5 minutes of time to speak in meetings led by state legislators and opposed by citizens of the common public. Kudos to all they do because without them, solar panels would see no sun light.