Last week Acadia Center hosted a Community Energy Forum in Westport, Connecticut. The forum raised awareness and helped educate participants about Acadia Center’s three reports EnergyVision, UtilityVision, Community|EnergyVision, and the clean energy revolution currently taking place.
The new ways we generate, deliver, and use energy offer communities and neighborhoods exciting opportunities to benefit from clean, efficient, and affordable energy at the local level and move away from increasing their overreliance on fossil fuels. However, reforming our existing and outdated utility model is necessary to enable these transformative community energy projects to flourish.
Speakers at the event included: Jamie Howland, Director, Energy Efficiency and Demand-Side Initiative, Acadia Center; Peter Boyd, Founder & CEO, Time4Good, and Member of the Green Task Force; and Mark Robbins, President, MHR Development, Clean Energy & Infrastructure Solutions. The panel of speakers discussed Acadia Center’s Community|EnergyVision publication – a comprehensive framework that outlines a pathway for communities to take control of the energy system, community energy efforts in Westport, and challenges of developing clean energy projects at the local level. Boyd, a Westport resident, talked about the importance of Net Zero, producing as much energy as you use, and Westport’s recent goal to become a Net Zero community by 2050. Robbins, a Westport businessman, spoke about his experiences developing community clean energy projects and the policy challenges he faced.
After learning about community energy and the importance of investing in local clean energy initiatives, participants engaged with a map of Westport helping to visualize these local, clean energy innovations within their community. Participants placed stickers representing various community energy initiatives (e.g. Community Solar, Microgrids, Storage, etc) onto the map of Westport at locations within the community like schools, the Town Hall, and the train station.
Westport Now, a local news outlet also covered the event with a great piece here.
The Westport Community Energy Forum is the first in a series of Community Energy Forums Acadia Center is planning to hold throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island seeking to educate and increase support for energy issues at the local level while working towards state level policy changes needed to enable community energy.
Tyler Soleau is Acadia Center’s Energy and Climate Outreach Director working from the Boston office. He focuses on raising awareness, network building and advancing Acadia Center’s clean energy program goals in Massachusetts and the Northeast. Tyler came to Acadia Center from the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served most immediately as Staff Director and Counsel for the House Committee on Climate Change.