Last week Vermont's capital city was one of 16 communities the White House named Climate Action Champions for Leadership on Climate Change. In addition to the superhero-sounding designation, the honor comes with exclusive U.S. Department of Energy funding opportunities and technical assistance only available to the designated Climate Action Champion communities.
In March, Montpelier officials launched the “Net Zero Montpelier” initiative. The goal is to make Montpelier the first net zero capital city in the country by the year 2030, meaning the city will meet all its energy needs through renewable energy sources. This includes electricity, heating and transportation energy uses. In addition to switching over to renewable energy sources, promoting energy efficiency is a big part of the city's plan.
Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont are among Montpelier's partners in its net zero effort. Efficiency Vermont Director Jim Merriam said, "Time and again, the citizens of Montpelier have shown the value, and results, of local community action to help reduce energy costs. This special designation as a Climate Action Champion opens new and exciting opportunities to help take that work even further – and Efficiency Vermont will look forward to helping support and advance those efforts in any way we can."
This fall Montpelier entered the federal Climate Action Champions competition, launched by the Obama Administration "to identify and recognize local climate leaders and to provide targeted federal support to help those communities reach their goals," according to a press release. The Department of Energy led the effort to select the 16 communities that make up the first cohort of Climate Action Champions.
The other 15 communities to receive the Climate Action Champion designation are:
- Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe in Calif.
- Boston, Mass.
- Broward County, Fla.
- Dubuque, Iowa
- Knoxville, Tenn.
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (DC, Md. and Va.)
- Mid-America Regional Council (Kan. and Mo.)
- Minneapolis, Minn.
- Oberlin, Ohio
- Portland, Ore.
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Mich.
- Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (CA)