Burlington utility officials are boasting that the Vermont city has become the largest in the United States to serve its citizens solely on renewable energy sources.
According to PBS News Hour
, Vermont has been known for its socially-conscious policies and Burlington, which has 42,000 residents, has worked to make renewable energy a focus of its electric grid, using sources like wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
"We're producing as much renewable energy as the city of Burlington uses in that year," Ken Nolan, manager of power resources of Burlington Electric, told PBS. "It's been a long road to get here. And as far as I know, we're the only city in this country that's actually reached this goal."
Taylor Ricketts, a professor of environmental science at the University of Vermont, told PBS that while Burlington is a small town compared to other U.S. cities, there is no reason that it can't be a case study in what can be done and expanded upon in other places.
"I think it's a big milestone for Burlington," said Ricketts. "But broader than that, it just shows that it can be done."
Sandra Levine, an environmental attorney, complained to PBS that the city's use of the old Maine hydro plant stretches the truth about it being 100 percent renewable.
"You're on the path, but, you're not really there," said Levine. "And I really look to Burlington Electric to provide some stronger leadership to really show how what they are doing is adding to the overall renewable supply for the region. Because that's where we need to be going."
Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, wrote in the Burlington Free Press
last month that the state's friendly renewal energy policy has led to positive renewal results all over Vermont.
"Thousands of Vermonters now have solar on their roofs – a development that created more local jobs and made Vermont No. 1 in solar jobs per capita in the United States in 2014," Stebbins wrote.
"We are also now leading the United States in farm methane projects (known as cow power)," Stebbins continued. "We are second only to Hawaii in solar hot water installations, and we have seen three new large wind projects start spinning since 2011."
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