Since 2014, 100% of Burlington energy comes from renewable sources. The city executed a Net Zero Energy Plan in 2018 to get rid of all fossil fuels for heating and transportation by 2030. Burlington has extended a program that is intended to offer incentives to all households and businesses who want to shift to renewable power.
In June 2020, the city developed the Green Stimulus Program to give incentives for water heaters, heat pumps, electric vehicles, and other renewable technologies. Mayor Miro Weinberger said that Burlington Electric Department will still go on with the Green Stimulus Program until the funds allocated have been depleted. Weinberger also said that strategic electrification would help fight against climate change. This will help save the planet and improve people’s standards of living. He added that the city would extend this program throughout 2021, adding that they will do anything possible to ensure that every Burlingtonian gets an equitable share of recovery resources through the Green Stimulus Program.
Darren Springer, Burlington Department General Manager, said that since the Green Stimulus Program’s announcement last summer, heat pumps’ installation has increased five times. He added that the heat pumps are essential since they help to get rid of 40-thousand tons of carbon dioxide per annum in Burlington. Springer said that the program is also playing a significant role in ensuring that the Net Zero Energy goals are achieved.
Olivia Campbell-Anderson, Renewable Energy Vermont Executive Director, said that last year, around 10500 heat pumps were fixed all over the city, which led to the creation of 1275 jobs. He added that many people could not have installed the heat pumps because it was not the incentives provided, saying that this is the leadership type they want to have on climate.
The Green Stimulus Program is led by Burlington Electric Department on a three-year-budget cycle. Springer said that the utility into the first month and they would continue providing incentives to the residents. Many people have adopted heat pumps and other energy technologies because of the incentives given. The Green Stimulus Program also offers loan grants and incentives for weatherization, electric vehicles, appliance purchases, and energy efficiency projects. Green Stimulus Program officials say that over 75% of the residential heat pump’s cost is funded by incentives and rebates for low and moderate-earners.
Many people have praised the program and said it is more beneficial to vulnerable and low-income customers. Johanna Miller, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Climate Action Program Director, said that the program would help reduce the use of fossil fuels, hence decreasing greenhouse gas emission. He said this is the best climate strategy.