Arlington Energy Committee meeting minutes
January 11, 2021 via Zoom
Next meeting: February 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Present: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Mary Ann Carlson, Mardi Crane, Bryan Dalton (minutes taker), Alexandra Ernst, Karen Jernigan, Rich Lederer (Zoom host), Karen Lee, Garrett Siegel.
Guests: Arlington Town Administrator Nick Zaiac, BCRC Emergency Program Management Officer Allison Strohl
Town Administrator – Nick reported:
– Highway Supervisor Siclari has asked for permission to begin transitioning Town Garage lighting to LED. Won’t save a lot of power but in winter, they’re working indoors a lot. There is money for it.
– insulation of Town Hall is funded for 2021.
– bridge at Pickering Crossing: Mardi noted that, with the bridge out, residents are burning a lot of gas to drive around. A new bridge is subject to multi-year financing. Town can’t borrow yet. Getting Town books audit-ready, will be at least a year from now.
– sidewalk project with $350,000 in Federal funding is at 85% engineering, will improve walkability through town and connect to Rec Area and Rt. 313. VT marble first block or two as mandated, then standard concrete. This year sometime. Some storm water improvements needed first. Has to get out the RFPs, and hopes to begin work this summer.
– Karen Lee, supported by Mardi and Karen J. and consulting with BCRC/Allison, will explore creating an AEC website which can be linked to Town and BCRC websites. Nick can help us get access to the Town site so we can post our meeting notices and agendas on just like other Town bodies; but can’t support extensive uploads. We want to easily inform people in town of what AEC is, does, has proposed to the Select Board, and offers residents as resources; and report other energy news, such as the fact that ours is to be the first State capitol with a backup battery: https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/vt-state-house-is-nations-first-to-install-batteries-as-backup-power-source/2272603/
– Karen L. will draft a press release about the Town street lights/solar public/private project.
– Karen J. has had good experience for her solar company with videorankme.com, which gets one’s website noticed. Usually costs $250 for 4 websites but they might do it pro bono for an entity like the AEC.
– Fliers: Chris Anderson, of Regenerative Agriculture subcommittee of Earth Matters, sent along three fliers, as promised:
· What Can I Do About Climate Change?
· Glyphosate: A Closer Look at America’s Favorite Pesticide
· Support Regenerative and Organic Agriculture
– Glyphosphate: Earth Matters has it on their agenda to get the word out about an eventual ban. May not be an immediate AEC action item, but we did discuss educating people on the importance of nurturing healthy soils (without toxins) and the intersection between healthy soil and carbon sequestration – which in turn will help to reduce global warming.
– AEC Page in Town report: Steph, Garret and Alex will draft 3 paragraphs, circulate to AEC for review, and submit to Bill Budde ASAP. Steph will send past meeting notes to Garret and Alex to cull. The page will introduce the AEC, its mission linked to the Vermont goal to go 90% carbon-free, and the work we already have done and plan to do.
– Mission statement: Steph will clean up the draft. Other ECs in VT are developing clear mission statements. Ours needs updating. The “Energy Coordinator” role is in Nick’s job description. Mardi, with help from Karen L, will flesh out our by-laws and guidelines, perhaps consulting Dorset and VECAN.
The mission of the Arlington Town Energy Committee is to assist Arlington residents, businesses, schools and Town government in reducing energy consumption and costs through conservation, increased energy efficiency, conversion to renewable energy sources, and the promotion of energy education and awareness. The committee will assist the Town (Energy Coordinator) in planning and carrying out projects to advance these goals and will serve as a resource to the town on energy-related issues.
– Steph participated in today’s VECAN conference, focused on state’s 5-year energy plans, now underway along with the Climate Council. Public input is sought. Four areas: renewable energy, transportation, thermal & heating, and centering equity in climate action. She will keep looking for concrete items from VECAN to benefit our work, as VECAN sees the most important work is that which is happening locally.
– Steph, Mary Ann and Rich attended Edward Cameron’s Moonshot/climate shot event. Mary Ann suggested inviting our State Rep. Kathleen James, to meet with us so we can hear what the Climate Solutions Caucus is working on and she can provide us with direction. Steph will invite her.
– Karen J. reported:
– – she was on a private call for energy companies with VT Senator Chris Bray, Chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee and member of the Joint Energy Committee. Learned about the net-metering rate change from 17 to 15 cents per kilowatt as of Feb. 3; Vermont’s expansion of broadband, with COVID funding, for COVID/weather/emergency response; incoming tariffs; new incentives to encourage transition from heating oil; and the need for energy storage.
— on January 13, she will attend the meeting of the Manchester Select Board as they pick one out of 3 possible sites for a community solar array.
– Mary Ann noted that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be on Biden’s climate committee.
– Steph will attend the Earth Matters meeting January 12.
– Bryan will close the loop with his young relative who will calculate the energy savings of converting the Town Hall lighting.