The Energy Coordinator is a Town officer appointed by the Select Board in accordance with Vermont statute Title 24, Chapter 33. The Energy Coordinator is charged to “coordinate existing energy resources in the town and cooperate with the municipal planning commission and with those federal, state and regional agencies of government which are responsible for energy matters.”
In May 2017 Harry Van Meter was appointed by the Select Board to succeed Sue LaPorte as Energy Coordinator for the Town of Pawlet. Harry has served on the Town of Pawlet Energy Group (PEG) since the group was formed in 2010. The PEG was originally formed to support the Town Energy Coordinator in advising the Pawlet Planning Commission and the Select Board on energy issues and helping with periodic updates to the Energy Section of the Town Plan.
Pawlet Energy Group, 2010 – 2017
During the term of Sue LaPorte’s service as Town Energy Coordinator and under the leadership of Elizabeth Gibson and Nancy Morlino the Group completed a number of significant projects to benefit the town. Briefly, they included:
- The Town of Pawlet’s first Energy Fair celebrated Earth Day on April 22, 2017 with a series of programs to help area residents be aware of cost-effective and sustainable energy technology and systems. The Pawlet Energy Group, together with Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont, hosted the fair at the Town Hall. In addition to representatives from Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont, and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, several speakers offered expert perspectives. Steven Letendre of Green Mountain College discussed the economics of residential solar systems. Climate scientist and former Pawlet resident Alan Betts explained what’s happening to the climate of Vermont. Consultants and installers of renewable energy systems, including Grassroots Solar, and Power Guru were also present to offer their expertise and advice. More than 60 people from the local community attended.
- PACE Program: The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program was developed as financing mechanism to help Vermonters make energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to their homes through the creation of a special municipal assessment district. On March 15, 2016, the Pawlet Select Board formally adopted the PACE program for our Town.
- Municipal Streetlight Study: From 2014 – 2015 the energy group, led by Nancy Morlino, conducted a study to see how the Town’s streetlights could be more efficiently operated. As a result, 20 streetlights, which represent about one-third of the town’s lighting demand, were eliminated and the remaining 41 streetlights were converted to more energy-efficient LED fixtures. The detailed cost analysis is available here: Pawlet 30% fixture reduction scenario. Consequently the Town of Pawlet is now saving more than $5,000 annually on its streetlight costs.
- Pawlet Town Plan Update – The PEG assisted the PPC in revising the Energy Section of the 2015 Town Plan. The next update to the Energy Section of the Plan is scheduled for review by the PPC by the end of 2020 and the entire Town of Pawlet Town Plan will be due for review by the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) in 2023.
Minutes of the Pawlet Energy Group monthly meetings from 2011 to 2017 are available here: Energy Group Minutes.
Energy Coordinator’s Advisory Group, 2017 – Present
As of October 2017, the Pawlet Energy Group decided to discontinue its regular monthly meetings and function instead as an advisory body on an an-needed basis to assist the Energy Coordinator with future and on-going projects. Now known as the Energy Coordinator’s Advisory Group, it will be advising the Energy Coordinator on such matters as:
- evaluating the feasibility of solar PV installations for the Town at potentially suitable sites, including the Mettawee Community School and the former Town landfill;
- implementing a formal energy compliance procedure by working with the Town Zoning Administrator to review pre-construction zoning applications and to enforce the Vermont Energy Code (Vermont Residential Building Energy Standard (RBES) – 30 V.S.A. § 51) and (Vermont Commercial Building Energy Standard (CBES) –30 V.S.A. § 53) on all new and renovated buildings;
- studying the feasibility of incorporating inexpensive passive energy modifications to existing dwellings within the Town; and
- keeping informed on relevant regional and state resources, including Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, and the Vermont Council on Rural Development.
The Energy Coordinator will make periodic reports to the Select Board on the activities of the ECAG.
The Pawlet Fuel Assistance Fund is a local resource that helps community members facing emergency fuel shortages. Please send donations payable to “Pawlet Community Church Fuel Assistance Fund” to: Pawlet Fuel Assistance Fund, Attn: Tim Bryant, Treasurer, 337 Milaura Road, Pawlet, VT 05761. To get confidential help locally from the Pawlet Community Church Fuel Assistance Fund, call Pawlet Town Clerk Deb Hawkins, 325-3309 or Pawlet Community Church Pastor Melissa O’Brien, 325-2345 (cell) or 325-6314 (landline).