Vermont plans 25%

An advisory report shows that Vermont can meet the goal of generating 25 percent of its total energy from renewable sources, principally from farms and forests, by 2025.

Under Gov. Jim Douglas' direction, Vermont became the 14th state to join the 25 X '25 Alliance, a coalition of more than 330 agricultural, forestry, businesses, labor, environmental and civic organizations working to advance renewable energy solutions originating from farms, forestry and other working lands nationally.

"In Vermont we have many natural resources that can be converted into renewable and responsible energy options," Douglas said. "Working toward, and meeting, our renewable energy goals will present Vermont new opportunities for economic growth and job creation. This report lays the groundwork for Vermont to be a leader in the expanding farm, forest and field-based energy industries."

The 25 x '25 steering committee conducting the work is comprised of a coalition of agricultural, energy and policy professionals whose goal is to develop a plan to meet the 25 X '25 objective. This report shows that that is indeed feasible. David Lane, deputy secretary of agriculture, chaired the committee last year.

The report, funded by the Vermont Department of Public Service, is a compilation of the work the committee has accomplished over the past year in its consideration of all possible opportunities for renewable energy sources in Vermont. At the governor's request, it offers one of many scenarios in which Vermont could achieve the 25 X '25 goal.

The committee's report suggests using crop-based technologies, agricultural power sources such as anaerobic digesters, wood-based technologies, farm-scale wind power, and biodiesel, solar, hydro and geothermal technologies.

"The findings of the 25 x '25 committee echoes the recommendations of the Vermont Governor's Commission on Climate Change," George Crombie said. "We need to keep our forests and farmlands working, both for Vermonters' well being and the overall health of our environment."

A public service official said there is widespread public support for this effort. "Almost 1,000 Vermonters participated in a public engagement process on energy. During those discussions, Vermonters expressed a strong desire to meet future energy demands through renewable sources of energy. The use of biofuels and sources such as wood are a natural solution for our state," the official said.

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