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Governor outlines his vision for a new energy model

BRATTLEBORO—Energy independence. Changing the utilities’ business model. Getting Vermonters off heating oil and onto renewables.

Governor Peter Shumlin uttered these phrases throughout his visit to Brattleboro on April 15.

He said he seeks to change the business model from the bottom up, for energy providers like Green Mountain Power (GMP) and heating oil providers.

Shumlin said, soon, GMP will ask homeowners, “how can we help you get rid of us.”

Right. But are utility companies on board with that?

In Shumlin’s opinion, yes.

Energy companies will work with residents to first weatherize their homes, then install renewable energy systems like solar panels or heat pumps, Shumlin said.

It’s a win-win, in his view. Happy homeowners will achieve energy independence. Happy energy companies will receive the excess power generated by the new renewable energy homes through the grid.

And the multitude of oil dealers across the state will do what?

Shumlin has an answer for this too. The new residential renewable energy systems will require maintenance, servicing, and instillation. Oil dealers will have the opportunity to shift their services from petroleum to renewables.

“It’s a huge jobs creator,” said Shumlin.

The renewable energy field in Vermont represents to him an example of Vermont entrepreneurs on the forefront of innovation and change.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #302 (Wednesday, April 22, 2015). This story appeared on page A5.

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