Energy

Draft Energy Element of the Addison County Regional Plan

The Energy Element of the Addison County Regional Plan outlines regional goals and policies for energy conservation and renewable energy generation. It includes specific implementable strategies appropriate to the Addison Region to accomplish these goals and a mapping component that identifies areas with the potential for renewable energy generation.

The Vermont Department of Public Service funded the Energy Element of the Addison County Regional Plan. The Addison County Regional Planning Commission (“ACRPC”) created the Energy Element of its plan to comply with the Department’s regional standards enabled in Act 174, the Energy Development Improvement Act of 2016, described below. The Energy Element of the Addison County Regional Plan constitutes one of eleven, one for each region of the State. ACRPC completed the plan to guide energy usage and development within the Region. By funding and completing in-depth energy planning within each region, the Department intends to enable Vermont to achieve state and regional energy goals – most notably, the goal to have renewable energy sources meet 90% of the state’s total energy needs by 2050 (90 x 50 goal).

Please note the Energy Element of the Addison County Regional Plan is still in draft form. ACRPC will be following up and finalizing the Energy Element prior to adopting it around June 2018 and then submitting the Energy Element to the Department for a determination of energy compliance.

Energy Planning & Act 174

The Department of Public Service has released the final energy planning determination standards and recommendations called for in Act 174, the Energy Development Improvement Act. These standards will be used by the Department and Regional Planning Commissions to make determinations as to whether regional and municipal plans are consistent with state energy policy. Plans that receive an affirmative determination will receive substantial deference for their land conservation measures and specific policies when the Public Service Board considers orderly development in its review of siting applications. Act 174 details a set of planning requirements to receive a determination, including consistency with Vermont’s energy and climate goals and the inclusion of energy analysis across the building, transportation, and electrical sectors.

The standards consist of a checklist of required analyses, goals, and actions. The checklist approach is intended to enable municipal and regional planners to conduct planning with a determination of energy compliance in mind. Act 174 establishes three pathways for a plan to receive a determination of energy compliance:

1) regional plans will be evaluated by the Department;
2) once their region’s plan has received an affirmative determination, municipal plans will be evaluated by their regional planning commission; and
3) until July 1, 2018, a municipality in a region that has not received a determination may apply to the Department for evaluation.

The standards build upon regional energy planning work already underway at all Regional Planning Commissions under contract with the Department. Regions will furthermore be providing analyses and maps that will enable municipalities to easily meet the Analysis & Targets and Mapping standards. Regions will also conduct at least two trainings in each region, will each be offering in-depth technical assistance to at least three municipalities, and will be compiling best practice language from those efforts, which will aid future municipalities in meeting the Pathways standards.

The Department has also issued guidance documents for regions and municipalities to use as they write their plans, which offer standard-by-standard guidelines, resources, and potential language, and incorporate the Recommendations as excerpted from the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan. The final standards and recommendations, along with an overview and regional and municipal guidelines, can be found here.

Addison County Regional Planning Commission | 14 Seminary Street Middlebury, VT 05753 | 802.388.3141 |

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