News Release — The Nature Conservancy
Feb. 12, 2019
Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine Are Poised to Spark Transformative Investments in a Clean Energy Future
New Report from The Nature Conservancy and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. Lays Out Recommendations to Make Renewable Energy More Available, Accessible and Affordable Across the Region
Montpelier, Feb 12, 2019 – A study released today by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) identifies strategies to transition Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to a clean energy economy. Innovative public-private partnerships and new investments can spark a clean energy future that has the potential to catalyze the creation of new jobs, expand access to renewable energy and energy efficiency, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the report, transitioning to a clean energy future will keep more of the region’s energy dollars local and attract new investment from outside the three states. Northern New England spends $8.2 billion every year on imported fossil fuels that could be redirected toward local clean energy solutions to eventually meet 80% of the region’s energy needs with renewable heating and electricity, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle transportation.
“Our organizations are striving to create a vision for a clean energy future that is rooted in affordability, accessibility, and availability. This report is a first step in building that road map. We look forward to the dialogue that it will spur across private and public sectors,” said Phil Huffman, director of Government Relations and Policy for The Nature Conservancy in Vermont.
The transition to cleaner and more efficient energy will rely largely on private investment and leadership from businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Northern New England is poised to implement innovative clean energy finance projects due to the region’s aging building stock, and high utilization of heating oil and gasoline.
Investments in clean energy have proven economic benefits. Energy efficiency and distributed clean energy can reduce energy costs, hedge against volatile energy prices, and support local jobs. The report shows that improved policy approaches like expanded opportunities for community solar energy projects and innovative financing mechanisms can help overcome upfront cost barriers and allow businesses, consumers and municipalities to realize costs savings from day one.
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“Vermont and our northern New England neighbors have unique challenges to overcome as we work to address climate change. We have important work to do to help all Vermonters take part in the energy and savings that will stem from climate solutions,” said Peter Walke, the Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources and Co-Chair of the Vermont Climate Action Commission. “I want to thank TNC and CEI for commissioning this study to provide valuable information that will help Vermont and all Vermonters make progress in addressing climate change.”
The Nature Conservancy in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine and Coastal Enterprises Inc. commissioned the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to research and identify the opportunities and challenges to clean energy investment, the results of which can be found in the “Advancing Clean Energy Investment in Northern New England” report.
The Nature Conservancy and Coastal Enterprises are hosting a tri-state stakeholder forum to discuss the report findings, on February 25th in Concord, New Hampshire at the TNC office. Government officials, state legislators, clean energy advocates, and business leaders, are being invited to attend to help chart a path forward to a clean energy future for the northern New England region. TNC plans to convene additional dialogue among key players about the report and priority pathways for action over the course of this year.