Act 174 Energy Planning

Act 174 encourages comprehensive energy planning on the regional and town levels throughout the state of Vermont.  As a result of Act 174, the Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) throughout the state have been tasked and received funding to generate regional energy plans.  These plans will be a tool for the implementation of the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), which sets a goal for the state of 90% of all energy used in Vermont to be sourced by renewable energy by 2050.  The regional plans are also intended to inform future iterations of the CEP.  The RPCs will receive technical support, especially data, from the Department of Public Service, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), and the Energy Action Network.

Windham Regional Commission will be offering technical assistance to the towns in the region by providing current use data and target use data to each of the towns.  The WRC has also received funding to assist at least 3 towns with custom technical assistance in which the WRC will aid the towns in going through the comprehensive energy planning process and ensure there is internal consistency with the rest of the town’s plan.

On this page is background information on the statute as well as current updates as the WRC works on the energy planning process.  The first draft of the Regional Energy Plan will be developed for May 31, 2017 with the final expected to be accepted in February 2018. 

What's Current:

(updated 3/7/2018) Regional Energy Plan Hearing Draft, 2/27/2018:  PDF
WRC will be hosting two public meetings: April 9th at 6:30 pm at the Townshend Town Hall and April 12th at 6:30 pm at the Westminster Institute.  Public hearing notice, click here.

Changes/Edits Approved at 1/23/2018 Joint Committee Meeting

  • Pg 8 footnote correction
  • Pg 37 text added: “As a matter of policy, utility-scale energy generation projects are considered regionally-significant. and therefore are subject to the review of the WRC Project Review Committee.”
  • Pg 37 text added: “Additionally, the WRC recognizes the need to update the Proposed Land Use map as is currently appears in the 2014 Regional Plan. In consultation with its member-towns, the WRC will prioritize the update of the Proposed Land Use map and policies with the next update of the Windham Regional Plan.”
  • Pg 48 added implementation step: “Increase and improve public transit and amenities.”
  • Pg 28 POLICY MODIFICATION: “as will be discussed below, the Windham Regional Commission is adopting a policy that restricts additional utility-scale wind energy generation in Resource Lands (see land use policy definition on page 34), and that the new capacity be developed through primarily solar generation and appropriately scaled biomass generation (digesters and combined heat-power generators as well as wood fuel production), small hydro (run of river facilities on existing safe and stable dams), and residential- or community-serving (owned by municipality with generated credits allocated to community buildings) wind.”
  • OVERALL POLICY CHANGE: Removing the policy of no further utility scale wind development in Windham Region.

Summary of Draft Updates since first release on 1/2/2018:

  • Pg 28 language on impacts of conventional energy extraction was added
  • Pg 33 an analysis of wind energy generation capacity was added
  • Policy encouraging energy generation development added to Renewable Energy Generation Policy section (pg 45)
  • “community-serving” was removed from the utility scale policy section and added and defined within general generation policy section (pg37)
  • Utility Scale Wind definition was changed from “hub height above 75 meters and 2 megawatt capacity” to “hub height above 70 meters”. This is consistent with the GIS analysis of the resource availability.

(updated, 2/6/2018) Compiled Regional Energy Plan Public Comments:  PDF

Town Energy Planning: WRC has received funding to work with 6 region towns to develop their enhanced energy element in their town plans.  The participating towns are: Grafton, Jamaica, Rockingham, Wardsboro, Weston, and Windham.  The three towns which participated in the pilot round of technical assistance for their enhanced energy elements, Londonderry, Westminster, and Vernon will receive assistance in adopting the elements into their town plans.  The towns' draft elements can be found here:

  • Londonderry draft energy plan, PDF
  • Vernon draft energy plan, PDF
  • Westminster draft energy plan, PDF

Municipal Enhanced Energy Planning in Vermont - Best Practices and Resources:  PDF  

Link to Town-Specific Energy Data

Guideline Documents for Municpal Energy Plans:  PDF

Guideline Documents for Regional Energy Plans:  PDF

Draft discussion on current energy use and projected use for Windham Region, posted Feb. 23, 2017:  PDF  (2 Mb)

Regional Energy Planning Work Maps, posted Feb. 21, 2017:  PDF  (3.8 Mb)

Solicitation of Towns to Participate in Town Energy Planning Element Pilot:  PDF

Power Point Presentation from WRC Municipal Energy Planning Meeting, December 7, 2016:  PDF 

Background and Resources:

Act 174, full text of the Act:  click here

Act 174 FAQ:  PDF

Act 174 Flow Chart:  PDF

Act 174 Regional and Municipal Planning Standards Overview, from the Public Service Department:  click here 

Final Energy Planning Standards from the Public Service Department:  click here   

Public Service Department Energy Planning Page:  click here


WRC will be hosting two public meetings: April 9th at 6:30 pm at the Townshend Town Hall and April 12th at 6:30 pm at the Westminster Institute.  

Last Updated on 07 March 2018
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