Connecting & Activating Vermont Communities

13th Annual VECAN Conference 2020


The 13th Annual Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network Community Energy and Climate Action Conference took place virtually this year. This event centered and celebrated the critical role that Vermonters in every community play in moving our state to a more clean, efficient, affordable and equitable energy future. This four-day event featured an overview of the federal, state, and local context for climate action, and big, timely, potentially transformative opportunities.

  • Saturday, December 5th – New federal, state, and local opportunities for climate action
  • Monday, December 7th – Five concurrent workshops on The State of Solar, Weatherization & Efficiency Funding, Transportation Opportunities, A Legislative Look Forward and Organizing and Communicating Virtually and Beyond
  • Wednesday, December 9th – A deep dive on energy equity co-hosted with Renewable Energy Vermont
  • Friday, December 11th – A special video message from VECAN Partners, regional networking roundtables, and a closing keynote from Congressman Peter Welch

Keynote From Congressman Peter Welch

Congressman Peter Welch closes out the 2020 VECAN Conference, sharing his hopes and expectations for climate action under the Biden Administration.

Community Partners Celebrate Energy Committees

Organizational partners from the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network share their appreciation and support for the work of Vermont’s Energy Committees during a challenging year.

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Local Vermont Leaders Share Their Climate Action Stories

Local Energy Leaders from across Vermont talk about the importance of local action to address the climate crisis, and share their motivation for getting involved.

Click here to view full video submissions

Welcome, Federal Climate Action Opportunities, and State of the State Overview

Opening Slideshow

00:00 – Welcome 
Johanna Miller, VNRC/VECAN

06:24 – A New Day Dawns: Federal Climate Action Opportunities and Challenges 
Darren Springer, Former Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Burlington Electric Department (current)
Katie Thomas, Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

1:02:10 – Where Do We Stand? An Update on Vermont’s Energy and Climate Progress
Jared Duval, Energy Action Network

The State of Solar in Vermont


The once-bustling job-creating solar sector in Vermont has quieted dramatically. In this workshop, get an update on what’s happening in the solar sector in Vermont, what’s not, and why. Also hear about some creative strategies to bring solar to more vulnerable, lower income-earning Vermonters, as well as approaches to realize multiple benefits by advancing pollinator-friendly solar opportunities.


Olivia Campbell Andersen, Renewable Energy Vermont
Alex Depillis, Vermont Agency of Agriculture
Jim Merriam, Norwich Solar Technologies


Solar Savings in New England report by Synapse Energy Economics
Guide to Farming-Friendly Solar
What is pollinator-friendly solar and how does it work?
VT Interactive Map Viewer

The Legislative Look Forward and Opportunities in the Global Warming Solutions Act

In this workshop, get an overview of the potential landscape for climate and clean energy progress in the upcoming 2021-2022 legislative biennium and how new, challenging realities might influence what’s possible — and when. Also, hear from a newly appointed Vermont Climate Council member about the overarching climate action framework of the Global Warming Solutions Act — and ways you might be able to get involved.


Ben Edgerly Walsh, VPIRG
Representative Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, Chair, Government Operations & Co-Chair of the Legislative
Climate Caucus
Senator Chris Pearson, member of the Senate Agriculture and Finance committees & Co-Chair of the
Legislative Climate Caucus
Lauren Oates, The Nature Conservancy and Vermont Climate Council Member


Official Climate Council website
Sign Up for VNRC’s weekly Climate Dispatch here
MileageSmart: Incentive funding for electric, hybrid, and low emission vehicles

Local Levers to Transform Transportation

Whether you look at greenhouse gas emissions, relative energy use, or household spending on energy, the transportation sector poses among the biggest challenges for Vermont. It can be hard to know where to start to address this issue, especially at the community level. This workshop will allow participants to learn about some of the challenges, significant opportunities and inspiring examples of solutions for transforming Vermont’s transportation system to meet our climate goals. Get an update on state and regional initiatives and hear about specific ways that local communities can be involved in this work.


Linda McGinnis, Energy Action Network Senior Fellow
Dave Roberts, Drive Electric Vermont
Jenn Wood, Green Mountain Transit
Sandy Bender, Local Motion
Samantha Hurt, Capstone Community Action


EAN 2019 Annual Progress Report
Electric Vehicles in Winter
MileageSmart: Incentive funding for electric, hybrid, and low emission vehicles
Ford reveals the 2022 E-Transit – an all-electric version of the world’s best-selling cargo van
The Vermont Clean Cities Coalition: Promoting Alternative Fuels and Energy Independence
Press Release: Governor Phil Scott Signs Multi-State Agreement to Electrify Trucks and Buses
VW Environmental Mitigation Funds
Latest EV registration data in Vermont
Transportation Toolkit for Town Volunteers

Investing in Efficiency and Weatherization Work

Weatherization and efficiency investments save money, reduce energy burdens, benefit public health and put people to work in well-paying jobs. There are dollars to do this work, though understanding the funding sources available in Vermont for weatherization, energy efficiency, and transportation can be confusing and frustrating. In this workshop, hear from experts about existing funding sources, how they are generated, regulated, implemented and how you might access them. Also, hear potential ideas for expanding these investments to support local efforts and make more, much-needed climate progress.


Michele Boomhower, Vermont Agency of Transportation
Daniel Reilly, Efficiency Vermont
Julia Leopold, Vermont Public Power Authority


MileageSmart: Incentive funding for electric, hybrid, and low emission vehicles
VT Agency of Transportation Mobility and Transportation Innovation Grant Awards
Electric Vehicle Information and Incentive Details
The Agency of Commerce Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Grant Program
VW Settlement Funds and associated investment opportunities
Weatherization DIY projects

Tools, Tips and Strategies for Community Organizing and Effective Communications - Virtually and Beyond


This workshop will provide an overview of tools and approaches to engage your community, both virtually during this pandemic and beyond. We will also discuss strategies for organizing in communities, informed by recent experiences with volunteer mutual aid networks. Then, hear examples of effective online communication around climate and strategies for reaching beyond the choir in your communications. Finally, experts will help you identify clear action opportunities for consistent messaging in the coming year, and offer ideas about how to utilize the unique power of storytelling to advance critical climate work in your community.


Jon Copans, Vermont Council on Rural Development
Rebecca Sanborn Stone, Community Works
Michael Shank, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance


12 Principles for Climate-Centric Behavior Change Communications
Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance COVID-Climate Messaging Document
12 Ways to Improve Climate Change Communications and Campaigns 
TED Talks That Go Viral Have One Thing In Common

Wednesday, December 9th

Equity & Recovery Plenary Conversation


Coreina Chan, Rocky Mountain Institute
Stephan Roundtree, Vote Solar
Eleanor Stein, Albany Law School

Equity and Recovery Federal Recovery Update


Tom Berry, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Equity & Recovery Concluding Remarks


Johanna Miller, VNRC/VECAN
Olivia Campbell Andersen, Renewable Energy Vermont