What if Vermont were to produce more energy than it consumes?

Bill Maclay on February 12, 2010

Should we, as Vermonters, be congratulating ourselves for leadership in the green economy and creating a renewable energy future?

Van Jones, former green jobs czar of the Obama administration, thought so when speaking at the 2009 Vermont Business Expo. But is this deserved? I am not so sure.

Yes, we all can point to great green projects, businesses, and individuals. And many of our towns, companies, and citizens are reducing their carbon footprints and are working toward carbon neutrality in the future.

But is this enough? Will this get us to where we need to be?

What about if Vermont as a state were to produce more energy than it consumes? And that energy was renewable for at least a billion years or so? And that this would be accomplished at a date certain, that is say 20 to 40 years from now? And there was a clear plan with measurable milestones that were achievable?

It’s been done in individual buildings, and even in small communities and islands. Heck, the entire human population did it for over 99% of its existence. And up until the 20th century, almost all energy used was still renewable. So wouldn’t this seem like a viable possibility for our future and our children’s future?

This seems like a goal that would make Vermont a leader with something truly valuable to offer our nation, and even the world. It seems to me that Vermont is at a size and scale where this is possible. Vermont has an incredible depth and diversity of green talent, knowledge and experience. We have a strong agricultural base with many natural resources and healthy ecosystems. We have long traditions of community service, thrift and hard work that can help to make the transition from overconsumption less burdensome. And this seems like a goal worth living and working for.

So what do you think? If there are others who are interested, I think the time is ripe to make this happen. This blog is a space where this can begin to happen. We invite and welcome others to join with us in making net zero energy-and more-begin to happen in Vermont and help the world move as well.

Post written Bill Maclay on February 12, 2010 in Behavior change,Buildings & Environment,Renewable energy

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