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A new consortium in Vermont aims to capitalize on the state’s compact size and collaborative culture to make it a national role model for clean energy innovation.
The Vermont Clean and Resilient Energy Consortium will pursue federal grants to fund any number of projects related to clean energy delivery, renewable energy, decarbonization and energy resiliency.
“We’re sort of an interesting laboratory for some of this because of our small size,” said Julia S. Moore, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, which is a member of the consortium. “We have the opportunity to build these networks that I think would be challenging in larger jurisdictions.”
Kirk Dombrowski, the University of Vermont’s vice president for research, said the consortium came together after he began “cold calling” the heads of utility and energy companies, state agency heads, and energy-related nonprofits.
“I have a new grant-writing shop here at the university, and we work with a consulting and lobbying firm in D.C. that can give us lots of good intelligence about research opportunities and programming coming out of federal agencies,” Dombrowski said. “So I put this value proposition in front of them — we have a lot more infrastructure than we did in the past to handle some of these partnerships.”
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The consortium is run by a steering committee made up of one person from each of the roughly 20 member organizations. Members who want to get in on a project have to pick up some of the cost, Dombrowski said.
“If the DOE says, here’s an opportunity around, say, energy sheds, we will take it to the consort …