Connecting & Activating Vermont Communities

15th Annual VECAN Conference 2022

Climate, Energy and Environmental Justice – An Opportunity to Build an Equitable Transition Together


This year’s Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action (VECAN) Conference was hosted virtually for the third year in a row. This conference aims to support and grow the statewide network of town energy committees and build the capacity and expertise of any Vermonter interested in being part of the solution to the climate crisis. Thanks to all involved!

You can download this full page of resources, recordings and materials here.

Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are clear – it’s now or never when it comes to acting on climate. Both in Vermont and globally, however, we continue to fall behind in accelerating the equitable transformation required to avoid the worst consequences of a warming world.

There is tremendous opportunity, though, and we need your help to seize it! With the development of the state’s Climate Action Plan, the state’s legal obligation to equitably reduce pollution, historic federal investments in climate and more, together, we can chart a new course for Vermont. This year’s virtual conference was intended to ground us in what’s happening, what’s needed, and some of the exciting opportunities Vermonters can help advance and access to cut costs, cut carbon and build an equitable clean energy transition. If you missed it, or just want to recap, all of the recordings from each day of the conference, as well as presentations, resources and anything else that was shared, are all below!

All sessions were made accessible for free, thanks to our generous sponsors.  Read more about our amazing sponsors and the critical role they play in helping us move to a more sustainable energy future in this Resource Provider Summary and below.

Saturday, December 10th – Climate, Energy and Environmental Justice – An Opportunity to Build an Equitable Transition Together

We were joined by a robust lineup of speakers who are experts and leaders in Vermont’s work to advance an equitable clean energy transition in the face of climate change. Panel topics included:

  • Grounding in Vermont’s emissions reduction progress by sector, and the work left to do in our three largest emissions sectors – transportation, thermal, electricity – and beyond.
  • Update on the ongoing implementation of the Climate Action Plan, including the state’s progress in establishing a Vermont Climate Office, and ongoing efforts to ensure we’re building a Just Transition and helping our communities adapt and become more resilient in a warming world.
  • The landscape of Vermont’s work on climate and energy post-enactment of the Act 154, the Environmental Justice Law, how this has created a framework for all of the work we’re doing on mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and opportunities for communities to support advancement of these efforts.
  • A legislative look-forward for the 2023 Legislative Session in Vermont, including progress in finding sector-wide solutions for the transportation and thermal sectors, continued investments in climate and clean energy, modernizing Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard, and more!
  • Opportunities for small group reflection and discussion with other energy committee members, state officials, sponsors and other attendees.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
Jared Duval, Executive Director, Energy Action Network
Jane Lazorchak, Director of the Climate Action Office, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Karla Raimundi, Civil Rights Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, Chittenden South East District

Representative Gabrielle Stebbins, Chittenden 6-5
Senator Andrew Perchlik, Washington District


Monday, December 12th: Understanding and Identifying Strategies for Addressing Energy Inequities

What is Energy Equity? And how does it apply to Vermont’s approach to addressing the climate crisis? First we heard an overview of how energy policies in Vermont address energy vulnerability and energy justice, learned some key concepts related to this work and then heard from practitioners in both the thermal and transportation sectors about what works at various scales (and what to avoid). We ended the session with a rich, robust conversation how energy committees can best support advancing energy equity in their communities. This was a can’t miss webinar – so if you missed it, we hope you can watch the recording and check out all of the great resources shared below!


  • Dr. Bindu Pannikar, Assistant Professor, University of Vermont
  • Elaine Wang, City Manager, City of Winooski
  • Marisa Houlahan, Executive Director, Milk With Dignity Standards Council


Tuesday, December 13th: Act 172 – Vermont’s Opportunity to Achieve Municipal Energy Resilience and How Your Community Can Support Success

Vermont’s municipalities own and operate over 2,000 municipal buildings, and heating our buildings is our state’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, our municipalities have a massive opportunity to invest in clean energy because last legislative session, Vermont enacted Act 172. An act relating to municipal energy resilience. This workshop explored progress underway at the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services to stand up the law’s new program, which brings millions to Vermont’s most energy-burdened municipalities to support transitions away from fossil fuel heating. Learn how Regional Planning Commissions will be a resource for municipalities in the grant funding process for assessing their energy needs and accessing clean energy technology, and how the program offers opportunities to support broader energy and climate resilience conversations in our communities.


  • Representative Laura Sibilia
  • Commissioner Jennifer Fitch, Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services
  • Jim Sullivan, Bennington County Regional Commission


Wednesday, December 14th: Transforming Transportation – Maximizing the Short Term While Planning for the Long Term

Transportation – our rural state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions – is a critical sector to tackle not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, but also to ensure that we build a mobility system that is accessible and affordable for everyone. This workshop covered the latest on vehicle electrification, electric vehicle charging incentives, and other programs available via new state and federal funding opportunities, including the Inflation Reduction Act. Also, hear how our state can be looking ahead and planning for a cleaner, more diversified and accessible transportation system with strategies like Transportation Demand Management, Smart Growth, Complete Streets, and creative micro transit solutions to support rural residents in getting where they need to go.


  • Dave Roberts, Drive Electric Vermont Coordinator, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
  • Kati Gallagher, Sustainable Communities Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council
  • Randy Schoonmaker, CEO of Southeast Vermont Transit


Thursday, December 15th: Powering Our Lives – New Opportunities for Additional Local Renewable Energy Generation & Creative Community Ownership Models

Vermont’s electricity sector has made important progress to date in reducing climate pollution. As we continue to electrify the transportation and thermal sectors to reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels, additional, local renewable energy generation will also be essential. As will ensuring all Vermonters can access and enjoy the benefits of renewable power. Join this workshop to learn how new federally-supported programs and investments can provide greater access to clean renewable energy for more Vermonters. Hear first-hand from energy committee leaders and experts who are working hard to establish and advance innovative community solar projects in Vermont, and hear about what is happening – and what more might be needed – both programmatically and policy-wise to make more, needed progress.


  • Molly Smith, Vermont Law School Institute for Energy & Environment, Hartford Energy Commission
  • Doc Bagley, Strafford Community Solar Project,  Strafford Energy Committee
  • Chris Heine, Affordable Community Renewable Energy (ACRE) Program, Vermont Public Service Department


Friday, December 16th: Tackling the Split Incentive – Addressing Weatherization in the Multifamily Sector to Create a More Just Energy Transition

Addressing home energy efficiency for low- and moderate-income Vermonters, and especially renters, presents some of the greatest opportunities and challenges for Vermont. Join this workshop to learn why serving renters is pivotal to meeting our state’s energy and equity goals and why serving this sector can be complicated. Hear from partners who are leading the charge to protect tenants, support landlords in weatherizing their rental units, and ensure that keeping our homes warm all winter is affordable and possible for all Vermonters.  



Made Possible By Our Generous Sponsors

Check out our Resource Provider Summary to learn more about all of the fantastic sponsors of the 15th Annual Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network Conference, the services they offer, and how climate-concerned Vermonters can tap into their efforts! 

Gold Sponsor

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Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Other Sponsors