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U.S. Energy Secretary Addresses Vermont Energy Summit

MIDDLEBURY, Vt., May 16 – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz spoke at a Vermont Energy Summit today as part of a first-hand look at how Vermont is on the cutting edge of transforming its energy systems from fossil fuels to sustainable energy.

In remarks at Middlebury College, Moniz focused on the need to reduce the cost of clean energy. Vermont, he added, “really looks unique” in terms of public and private cooperation on energy issues.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) welcomed the energy secretary to the state. The department Moniz heads, the delegation said, is an “indispensable partner in almost all of Vermont’s clean energy success stories,” including the first-in-the-nation statewide smart grid, Montpelier’s district heat project and Rutland County’s path-breaking efforts to improve energy efficiency at homes and businesses.

During the 90-minute energy summit, Moniz was joined by the congressional delegation and Gov. Peter Shumlin for the wide-ranging discussion of energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change. The delegation highlighted Vermont’s role in leading the nation in developing advanced energy storage, smart grid integration and resiliency, cold weather heat pumps, efficiency retrofits, clean energy research, and agricultural methane digester technologies.

“I believe this small state can lead the nation, which can lead the world. And that is, in fact, what we need to do,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate energy and environment committees.

“The Third National Climate Assessment shows the fast-evolving impacts of global climate change – effects we have already felt in Vermont,” Leahy said. “The Secretary’s strong comments make it clear that not much time remains for us to get this right.  We’ve made a strong case this weekend for the strengths that add up to make the City of Rutland, our dairy farms and Vermont as a whole ideal partners for the Energy Department on a variety of energy solutions.”

“The secretary’s visit today demonstrates that Vermont is a model for the nation in our approach to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change,” said Welch. “I applaud his strong leadership on these issues and am confident he will be going back to Washington with some practical Vermont ideas to make progress for the country on these issues.”

After the summit, Moniz and the congressional delegation went to Rutland, where energy efficiency improvements, such as comprehensive weatherization and the installation of LED lighting, have been combined with solar power and cutting-edge heat pump technology.

Contacts:

David Carle (Leahy): 202-224-3693
Michael Briggs (Sanders): 202-224-5141
Ryan Nickel (Welch): 202-225-4115

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