Melanie Needle, Senior Planner, CCRPC

Regarding “Stop the new energy plan”

Hans Ohanian’s recent letter (Jan. 10 Charlotte News) , titled “Stop the new energy plan,” pointed out a mistake in the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission’s (CCRPC) June 2017 draft Municipal Energy Data Assumptions and Methodology report. There was indeed a math error in the graphic on page 19 from the Bennington County Regional Commission’s draft energy plan. Bennington County has since corrected this graphic in its final plan. CCRPC was unaware of the error and used the graphic to explain how regional renewable energy generation targets are developed.

First, CCRPC apologizes for the confusion this may have caused; the document that included this graphic has been removed from our website and replaced with the draft 2018 ECOS Plan. Second, the arithmetic as presented in the graphic included data for Bennington County, not Chittenden County. Further, the CCRPC methodology report was watermarked with “DRAFT” and included a disclaimer that data were subject to change as the planning process evolved.

Over the next six months, CCRPC will work with Charlotte’s Planning Commission and Energy Committee to update the proposed 2018 Town Plan to be consistent with the state’s energy planning standards and the county ECOS Plan. The Selectboard, Planning Commission and Energy Committee intend to make these updates in 2019. The updated municipal energy data guide for Charlotte will be available next month. To meet the state’s energy planning standards (available on the Department of Public Service (DPS) website), the Town Plan must include targets for renewable energy generation and estimates of existing and future energy use for heating, transportation and electricity. The town can use CCRPC-provided data or conduct its own analysis.

Hans stated he disagreed with the proposed formula to develop regional renewable energy targets based on a region’s share of the state’s population and the land available. He claimed that the plan applies the state’s goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 uniformly. This is not true. CCRPC’s methodology follows DPS’s approach for estimating renewable energy targets, which accounts for the wind and solar resources available locally. The methodology is part of the state’s Act 174 recommendations for developing an enhanced energy plan at both the regional and town levels. CCRPC is following the state’s guidance with input and oversight from the CCRPC Board, Long Range Planning Committee, and Energy Sub-Committee. CCRPC’s board comprises municipal representatives, including Charlotte. On January 22 the ECOS Plan (the regional energy plan) will be out for public comment and can be viewed on the ECOS Project website.

Melanie Needle
Senior Planner, CCRPC