Act 174 and Municipal Energy Planning
Under Act 174 of 2016, towns and regional planning commissions have the opportunity to submit enhanced energy plans to the Vermont Public Utility Commission that, if approved, recieve “substantial deference” (essentially, they carry more weight in the minds of decision makers) on issues of permitting for energy projects. Getting these plans right will help determine whether Vermont will reach its goal of getting 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Addressing energy in the town plan involves an analysis of energy use, identifying efficiency opportunities, including land use and transportation strategies, and identifying potential renewable energy resources.
Regional Planning Commissions can provide direct technical support and assistance to municipalities engaged in energy planning. They have data and maps to support planning in municipalities in their region. Follow this link to find your Regional Planning Commission.
A list of resources to assist your municipality in energy planning is below. Questions about energy planning can also be sent to: PSD.PlanningStandards@vermont.gov.
- Vermont Department of Public Service Act 174 Overview – The official state page with an overview of the planning process and guidance for municipalities
- Act 174 Flow Chart – Outlines the process for an energy plan to receive “substantial deference”
- Energy Standards Overview Document – An extended description of the standards that are used to evaluate energy plans
- Instructions for Municipal Energy Plans – Checklist of the requirements to complete a municipal energy plan
- Recommendations from the 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan – Excerpts from the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan that pertain to energy planning
- Guidance for Municipal Energy Plans – Best practices for developing an enhanced energy plan
- Northwest Regional Planning Commission Best Practices Guide – A condensed guide to best planning practices based on the experience of Vermont’s Regional Planning Commissions
- Vermont Center for Geographic Information – Downloadable GIS shapefiles will all known constraints listed in the standards
- Energy Planning and Implementation Guidebook for Vermont Communities
- A list of towns that have received determinations of energy compliance directly from their regional planning commissions as of January 2021, is available from the Vermont Association of Planning & Development Agencies (VAPDA).