Bennington Banner: Benefits of solar power discussed at Rotary meeting

Aug 19, 2013 No Comments by

Reposted from the Bennington Banner. By Elizabeth Conkey. August 17, 2013.

BENNINGTON — Bennington Rotarians were treated to a presentation Friday by Executive Director of Energize Vermont Luke Snelling, who discussed the pros and cons of various renewable energy solutions.

Energize Vermont, a 100 percent member-supported nonprofit organization, works to educate and advocate for establishing renewable energy solutions in the state, while focusing on maintaining the beauty and well-being of Vermont as a whole.

“We put emphasis on resources with the highest resource potential but the lowest environmental impact,” said Snelling.

According to Snelling, Energize Vermont hopes to ensure that any path taken in the renewable energy plan will be done in the cleanest possible manner.

Snelling said estimates predict that by 2050, 90 percent of Vermont’s energy could be renewable.

A variety of renewable energy solutions were discussed, including biomass energy, localized hydropower, wind power, and solar power.

“Local hydropower,” he said, “can be great but is very hard to build, and biomass must be closely monitored.”

Power by way of methane conversion was also discussed in the presentation, however, according to Snelling, “there just isn’t enough to create the amount of energy the state would require.”

Snelling noted that wind power and the installation of wind turbines on various mountaintops throughout the state have resulted in a plethora of noise complaints by nearby residents.

Solar power, Snelling explained, would be Vermont’s “safest bet,” as it is the most affordable technology, has no noise associated with it, and is vastly more efficient.

“It can be put anywhere,” he said. “It’s definitely the most advantageous technology for our state.”

Although he did not have the time to discuss at greater length the benefits of solar power during his presentation, Snelling later explained a fairly recent “affordable solar power initiative” launched by both Energize Vermont and American Clean Energy Supply LLC, which would allow interested Vermonters to purchase, rather than lease, solar panels to power their homes.

“The Power Up program brings an affordable renewable energy solution to Vermonters that benefits the planet while also respecting their community and natural resources,” Snelling said.

Snelling encourages Vermonters to rely less on utility companies and to “take back the power.”

“Just because utility companies say their energy is renewable, doesn’t mean that it’s also sustainable,” he said, “Let’s bring back the focus of community, and think about what would be best for the well-being of our state.”

Snelling frequents organization and club meetings to educate members on renewable energy solutions available to Vermont. “I enjoy advocating for the wellbeing of our state,” he said. “I would love all small organization to support a plan like ours that supports our communities and natural resources, while also bringing us closer to a renewable and sustainable energy future.”

Snelling will visit Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom Saturday to meet with energy activists from throughout the state to discuss similar energy solutions.

To learn more about Energize Vermont, visit www.energizevermont.org. Shelling can be reached by phone and by e-mail at luke@energizevermont.org or 802-778-0660.

Contact Elizabeth Conkey at econkey@benningtonbanner.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey. 

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