Leahy, Sanders And Welch Huddle With Energy Secretary To Underscore Support For Vermont’s Smart Grid Application

WASHINGTON -- The Vermont Congressional Delegation – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) – Wednesday met with Energy Secretary Steven Chu to underscore their support for Vermont’s application for “Smart Grid” investments under this year’s economic recovery act.
Meeting in Leahy’s office in the U.S. Capitol, they discussed Vermont’s work on several energy and “green economy” initiatives, in which Vermont is emerging as a model for the nation – policy areas in which the Vermont Delegation has been especially active and well positioned.
Leahy, who organized the meeting, said, “We recognize that this is a crucial turning point, and that we have a White House whose ideas about laying the groundwork for the coming green economy dovetail with Vermont’s.  We want to amplify that connection.  We made the point that while other states are still talking, Vermont is doing and leading.  We are well along in building a low-carbon energy portfolio.”
Sanders said, “I strongly support this application by Vermont’s utilities to take advantage of the economic stimulus plan and take a major step forward in moving our state toward a greener economy.  Smart Grid technologies improve reliability and service quality while allowing consumers more control over their energy use – thus improving the state’s energy conservation and efficiency.  This is an opportunity for Vermont to once again take the lead in energy efficiency and the green economy.” Sen. Bernie Sanders is chairman of the Senate green jobs subcommittee.
Rep. Peter Welch, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said, “I appreciated the opportunity to discuss with Secretary Chu Vermont’s leadership in developing a green energy economy. Vermont’s efforts to promote energy efficiency and develop renewable energy sources have created jobs, saved money for consumers and businesses, and reduced our state’s contribution to climate change. Vermont’s unique Smart Grid application will further strengthen our state’s commitment to developing a smarter, more reliable and more efficient energy infrastructure.”
Among other issues, they discussed Vermont’s statewide Smart Grid investment application for investment funds under this year’s economic recovery program – possibly the first such statewide application (as opposed to metropolitan or regional application) in the nation.  On Sept. 10 the Vermont Delegation sent a strong letter of support for the Vermont application to Secretary Chu.  Vermont’s plan – called eEnergy Vermont – is a blueprint for using Smart Grid technology to create jobs and boost efficiency and energy conservation, while complementing the drive to expand broadband internet access throughout Vermont.

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