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Renewable Energy Atlas
You’ve Got the Power

On April 22, 2010, The Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont will be unveiled. The new state-of-the-art GIS-based web application identifies, analyzes and visualizes existing and promising locations for renewable energy projects. The Atlas was developed in collaboration between the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Vermont Center for Geographic Information (Waterbury), Fountains Spatial (Montpelier), and Overit Media (Albany, NY).

The Atlas is the first tool of its kind in the United States that enables end users to click on their town (or several towns or county/counties) and select from a thorough suite of renewable energy options: biomass, efficiency, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind.

With the proliferation of energy committees in over 90 towns and cities, it’s clear that Vermonters want a renewable energy and efficiency based economy. To support such efforts, a variety of new programs and funding sources have become available, including the Clean Energy Development Fund, Vermont Community Climate Change Grant Program and Community Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grants. Two additional opportunities — the state’s new feed-in tariff program and the enablement of ‘clean energy assessment districts’ — will also result in the development of new renewable energy projects in the state.

Despite these opportunities, and the growing interest in taking advantage of them, Vermonters struggle with how to best navigate the process of moving projects from concept to reality. How, for example, can we assess the renewable energy and efficiency possibilities in our communities? How much local renewable energy generation is theoretically possible? How can Vermonters influence local energy planning and the decision making process?

The Atlas will assist town energy committees, the Clean Energy Development Fund and other funders, educators, planners, policy-makers, and businesses in making informed decisions about the planning and implementation of renewable energy in their communities – decisions that ultimately lead to successful projects, greater energy security, a cleaner and healthier environment, and a better quality of life across the state.

The Atlas is a collaboration between VSJF, Vermont Center for Geographic Information (Waterbury), Fountains Spatial (Montpelier), and many helpful experts. “Our Vermont office is particularly excited to be working on a project that supports the maturation of Vermont’s green economy,” said Mark Haberle, Senior Project Manager at Fountains. “The Atlas is a unique, forward-thinking, and important tool for analysis and review of alternative energy solutions. It is our goal to create a solution that facilitates influencing the decision-making process at all levels through robust information discovery and dissemination. It is our hope that the Atlas will cement VSJF’s position at the forefront of sustainable jobs development and innovation in Vermont and, through this effort, become a national leader in deploying pioneering solutions for responding to a carbon constrained future.”