Accelerating the Development of Vermont's Green Economy

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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Renewable Energy Atlas

You've Got the Power

AtlasThe Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont is your tool for identifying, analyzing, and visualizing existing and promising locations for renewable energy projects.  You can click on your town (or several towns or county / counties) and select from a thorough suite of renewable energy options: biomass, efficiency, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind.  You can save your map and analysis as a unique URL or export to a PDF.

The Need:

Energy flows through nature into social systems as life support.  Human societies depended on renewable, solar powered energy for fuel, shelter, tools, and other items for most of our history. Today, when we flip on a light switch, turn an ignition or a water faucet, or eat a hamburger, we engage complex energy extraction systems that largely rely on non-renewable energy to power our lives.  About 90% of Vermont’s total energy consumption is currently generated from non-renewable energy sources. This dependency puts Vermont at considerable risk, as the peaking of world oil production, global financial instability, climate change, and other factors impact the state.

The Opportunity:

With the proliferation of energy committees in over 90 towns and cities, it’s clear that Vermonters want a renewable energy and efficiency based economy.  To support such efforts, a variety of new programs and funding sources have become available, including the Clean Energy Development Fund, Vermont Community Climate Change Grant Program and Community Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grants.  Two additional opportunities — the state’s new feed-in tariff program and the development of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program— will also result in the development of new renewable energy projects in the state.

Despite these opportunities, and the growing interest in taking advantage of them, Vermonters struggle with how to best navigate the process of moving projects from concept to reality. How, for example, can we assess the renewable energy and efficiency possibilities in our communities? How much local renewable energy generation is theoretically possible? How can Vermonters influence local energy planning and the decision making process?

Atlas blurb

The Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont was created to assist town energy committees, the Clean Energy Development Fund and other funders, educators, planners, policy-makers, and businesses in making informed decisions about the planning and implementation of renewable energy in their communities – decisions that ultimately lead to successful projects, greater energy security, a cleaner and healthier environment, and a better quality of life across the state. The new state-of-the-art GIS-based web application identifies, analyzes and visualizes existing and promising locations for renewable energy projects.

The Atlas is the first tool of its kind in the United States that enables end users to click on their town (or several towns or county/counties) and select from a thorough suite of renewable energy options: biomass, efficiency, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind.

ESRI GIS AwardThe Atlas is a collaboration between VSJF, Vermont Center for Geographic Information (Waterbury), Fountains Spatial (Montpelier), Overit Media (Albany, NY) and many helpful experts.  “Our Vermont office is particularly excited to be working on a project that supports the maturation of Vermont’s green economy,” said Mark Haberle, Senior Project Manager at Fountains. “The Atlas is a unique, forward-thinking, and important tool for analysis and review of alternative energy solutions.  It is our goal to create a solution that facilitates influencing the decision-making process at all levels through robust information discovery and dissemination.  It is our hope that the Atlas will cement VSJF’s position at the forefront of sustainable jobs development and innovation in Vermont and, through this effort, become a national leader in deploying pioneering solutions for responding to a carbon constrained future.” The Atlas recently received a "Special Achievement in GIS" award from ESRI, a world leader in GIS software and technology.

The launch of the Atlas on Earth Day was covered by many media outlets:

Lauren Ober. April 21, 2010.  A New, Online Atlas Maps Vermont's Renewable Energy Resources. Seven Days.

Joel Banner Baird.  April 22, 2010.  Atlas Maps Vermont's Renewable Energy Future.  Burlington Free Press.


Major funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, and the Vermont Community Foundation.