Two Vermonters – State Representative Margaret Cheney (D-Norwich) and Bob Walker, director of the Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG) based in Thetford – will join eight other Americans on a week-long visit to Germany, organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, for policymakers and advocates who are engaged in the advancement of renewable energy at the local and regional level.
Cheney, vice chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, has co-sponsored many of Vermont’s recent renewable energy bills, including the country’s first state-wide feed-in tariff and the creation of Property Assessed Clean Energy districts. As director of SERG, Walker started the region’s first town energy committees and has promoted energy conservation, efficiency, and renewables in Vermont and New Hampshire, especially in the Upper Valley region, since 2002. The other Americans on the trip are from Colorado, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC.
In public and bilateral meetings, the group will gain practical insights on how the low carbon energy transition can create new business opportunities. Walker says he hopes to “share the lessons to be learned from Germany, where towns, villages, and rural areas are developing clean energy at the local level, with town energy committees throughout Vermont.” Cheney says she is particularly interested in financing mechanisms, job growth, and ways in which Germans have reduced carbon in other sectors such as heating and transportation.
The tour will begin in Berlin on September 23 with policy discussions with German legislators on the nation’s energy transition. Next, participants will share transatlantic perspectives at the 100% Renewable Energy Conference in Kassel. Meetings in the Bavarian region of Rhön-Grabfeld will highlight some of the pioneer projects initiated by rural communities. In Frankfurt, the group will learn about the key financing mechanisms for renewables in Germany. An overall focus of the tour will be the role that local energy cooperatives are playing in Germany in spurring business opportunities, jobs, and community involvement.
The Rural Clean Energy Tour is part of the Climate Network, a program by the Heinrich Böll Foundation that brings together opinion leaders, legislators, and policy experts from both sides of the Atlantic who are committed to achieving policy change in support of a low carbon economy.
For further information, please contact Margaret Cheney at firstname.lastname@example.org (802-649-3039), Bob Walker at SERG@serg-info.org (802-785-4126), or Rebecca Bertram, The Climate Network Program Director at Rebecca.Bertram@us.boell.org (202-464-4930). You can also follow the trip on: