That’s the message non-profit trade organization Renewable Vermont is spreading. The organization is putting its full weight and support behind the state’s draft comprehensive energy plan that calls for Vermont to get 90 percent of its power from renewable sources like solar by 2050.
While the year may sound so distant it conjures images of space suits, flying cars and light sabers, the 38-year plan is well crafted and timed, said Renewable Energy Vermont executive director Gabriel Stebbins.
And it’s just a little farther into the future than Jimmy Carter’s solar thermal panels, installed in 1979, on the White House roof are into the past.
Stebbins said the draft plan is exciting and has a lot of public support.
“Vermonters are really connected to their energy,” she said. “I suppose it could come from cord wood. We’ve been going out and chopping our wood for heat forever.”
With a goal to virtually eliminate Vermont's dependence on fossil fuel, the plan, drafted by the Department of Public Service, outlines steps for increases in electrical and heating efficiency for homes and businesses, calls for the development of plug-in electric vehicle infrastructure and plans for the deployment of Vermont-based renewable energy projects.
"The energy plan addresses the fact that our future approach to energy management must be coordinated, deliberate and involve all Vermonters in meeting the challenges before us," Stebbins said. "With the flooding events caused by Tropical Storm Irene, it’s clear that Vermont has to pay attention to the affects of global climate change.”
The plan focuses on four primary issues, including regulatory policies and structures, developing financing and funding mechanisms, maintaining Vermont's role as energy innovator and increasing public outreach and education.
“One of the things I like about the plan,” Stebbins said, “is that it’s very comprehensive and talks about how we need to get this message out. We have a pretty active public, and we really need to engage them.”
The plan is open for public review and comment until Oct. 10 with a public hearing scheduled for later this month.
Stebbins said one of the biggest questions she expects to come out of the public comment phase is: “If you’re going to go to 90 percent, why not go all the way?”
It’s a question she looks forward to discussing.
Image courtesy of Topicden.com.