Arlington Energy Committee Minutes 12.7.22

Arlington Energy Committee


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

7:00 to 8:30pm


Present: Mardi Crane, Karen Lee, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Jenny Murtaugh

Absent: Mary Ann Carlson, Alexandra Ernst, Garret Siegel

  1. CALLED TO ORDER at 7:07pm
  2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING Karen moved to approve; Mardi seconded; motion passed

3.1 Status report from Nick on efficiency efforts, etc.: postponed, as Nick was out with his new baby Zeke, born on Monday! Congratulations Nick and Aly!

3.2  VCRD Update:  Steph related conversation Nick and she had with Lauren Cavin Bailey of the VCRD which resulted in our putting our hat in the ring to be a Climate Economy Resilient Community.  The VCRD should be making their decision soon.  If we are chosen, they could be a fantastic resource for the energy committee in its effort to complete the emissions analysis.

3.2 Status on Arlington’s Energy/CO2 Emissions Analysis/ Arlington Community Carbon Bank/Next steps

  • Spreadsheet updates:  Karen shared her latest spreadsheet which now includes many more columns.  Some of them will provide places where we can forecast how much consumption there will be after the efficiencies are included.  There are two categories for each target: one which includes GMP’s RECs and another which does not.  The reason for both is to acknowledge two very different ways of assessing true emissions.  With the RECs, we include GMPs claim that its energy is at net zero; without the RECs, we take into account the fossil fuel emissions that GMP actually does emit.  To better understand RECs, all committee members are urged to do their own homework.  Jim Hand is also a good resource. (A renewable energy certificate, or REC, is a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. – Investopedia)

IMPORTANT:  Karen needs the help of each of us to move this project forward.  She would like each of us to contact her to set up a time when we could work with her to analyze one piece of the template and figure out how to complete it.  She cannot do this alone and has gone as far as she can on her own.  If we each work with her on smaller bites, we will be able to devour the whole thing eventually. She is generally not available on weekends, but can Zoom on weekday evenings or any time during the weekday (except for early mornings).  Please pick a couple of dates and reach out to her.  She will then help to identify the next steps to pursue together.  If the VCRD does choose to help us, our being that much better prepared will give them a clearer sense of how to add support.

  • Reaching out to Holmes & Watkins: MaryAnn and Mardi are still working on this
  • Reaching out to Merck Forest: Steph contacted Rob Terry and he would be happy to join us for one of our meetings to talk about the commercial E-mower they have, as well as to discuss how they view their forest management plan in terms of carbon sequestration.  This will most likely be at our February 1st meeting.  Stay tuned!
  • Carbon Sequestration: report on presentation by Standing Trees, Nov. 16: Steph gave a very brief report.  She will share the link to this presentation which included a very clear list of myth busters about carbon sequestration.  The argument was very clear on the need to leave mature and old growth forests alone as the greatest way for forests to sequester carbon.

Karen studied a spreadsheet from an organization in Maine which provided a calculation we might use: forests sequester .3 tons of carbon/acre/year.  

  • Field Trips: MaryAnn & Steph accompanied Nick on a visit to the W. Arlington fire house as well as the town garage.  Steph took lots of pictures and noted what has been updated and what Nick hopes to upgrade regarding energy efficiencies.

3.3 Meeting with BCRC’s Bill Colvin, Dec. 5: Steph and MaryAnn attended a meeting at the Sunderland town hall with the BCRC’s new director.  The meeting was attended by representatives from the energy committees of Dorset, Manchester, Sunderland, Arlington and Sandgate’s select board, as well as Callie Fishburn.  They learned a lot about how the BCRC is standing ready to help towns with applying for funds from Act 172 and identifying projects for the money.  The rules will probably not be finished until January.  The Act 172 funding will be administered by the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS), but we will most likely go through our RPC to apply for the grants.  Jennifer Fitch is the BGS commissioner.  She and others from the Scott administration made a presentation at the MCL earlier in the day which was well attended.  Unfortunately, nobody from Arlington was in attendance, however.

Additionally, the Sunderland energy committee would like the AEC to consider various ways in which we can collaborate on various projects. 

  • Town Report:  Steph will send Garret all of the minutes from 2022 and highlight the major themes for him to write about.
  • Steph reminded folks that this is actually a great time to be doing the work we are doing, as there are lots of funds available for us to make a real impact.  It’s important, tough work.  But it’s essential.  Onward!

There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 8pm (Karen moved; Jenny seconded; unanimous).

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, January 4, 2023!  7-8:30pm

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