If the weather where you are is anything like the weather that we have been experiencing here in Vermont, summer is definitely heating up. Last week we had record high temperatures for the region, and Burlington was the hottest city in the country, not normal! And as we continue to feel the effects of our changing climate firsthand here in the Northeast, our families, friends and colleagues across the U.S. are bracing for a new season of hurricanes, floods and wildfires.
It’s critical to remember that we have the means at hand with wind, water, solar and storage to meet these challenges, but it will take more than just technology to mitigate the climate crisis. According to a report out last week from the International Energy Agency, we need to significantly alter our energy investment strategy. In order for the global energy industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we must stop investing in new oil and gas projects immediately and complete the EV transition by 2035. We also have to work to drive down the “soft costs” associated with delivering the renewable energy we need in the most time and cost-efficient manner possible. It shouldn’t be the case that the cost of renewables in America is three times that of other countries such as Australia, and permitting, inspections and other costs beyond direct equipment and labor are largely to blame.
The good news is that transformation is happening, just last week Ford released plans for the all-electric F-150 Lightning truck that will also be able to charge your home. In just 12 hours, over 20,000 people (myself included) put down $100 to reserve one of these exciting new electric trucks. And just the other day, three of the world’s largest oil companies (Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil) faced unprecedented pressure from the courts and shareholders to slash emissions, including scope 3 emissions which are caused by the customers who purchase their products.
While public pressure grows and technology advances, we also need public policies that accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Unfortunately, there remain unnecessary roadblocks that continue to delay and in many cases halt our ability to build the 21st-century energy infrastructure we need to address climate change. A recent opinion piece in the Addison Independent Report outlines the current unfriendly and unreasonable regulatory environment here in Vermont towards solar development.
At Encore, we strive to deploy clean energy solutions that offer social, environmental and economic benefits for the community-at-large. We have a successful track record at optimizing land used for energy generation by incorporating multiple land uses including pollinator-friendly habitat and agrivoltaics (solar grazing) and will continue to deploy the most environmentally and aesthetically benign projects possible.