Energy and Our Communities
On a hot July day in 2003, I was sitting with a number o riends and acquain-tances at SolarFest, an annual renewable energy and sustainable living airheld at the time at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.
One ortwo in the group were small-scale biodiesel producers, but all o us wereconcerned about peak oil and climate change, about our nation’s addictionto ossil uels in general and to oil in particular. We were bemoaning the lack o any organized liquid biouels initiatives in the state at the time, and atera lot o complaining about the complacency o state government, someonesaid, “Well, why don’t we do something about it
?” This was a radi-cally dierent view o energy policy, which up to that moment we assumedwas someone else’s responsibility. At the time, I don’t think any o us ullyunderstood what we were getting ourselves into.Nevertheless, two months later about twenty-ve people gathered in the basement o a church in nearby Middlebury or our rst meeting about “doing something” to start a biouels organization in Vermont. Among the partici-pants were armers, engineers, and biodiesel producers and users; MiddleburyCollege aculty, sta, and students; several local legislative representatives; andinterested members o the local community. Although the initial ocus waslocal, we soon recognized that it needed to expand to include the entire state(Vermont is so small that even a statewide initiative is still basically local). Ater several additional meetings and a lot o discussion, the VermontBiouels Association (VBA) was ocially organized in November 2003. I wasinitially a co-director o the group and later served as president o the board. Ater ve years o actively promoting biouels in Vermont, the VBA wasmerged into a larger statewide group known as Renewable Energy Vermont(revermont.org), where some o its initiatives continue to this day.