On May 26, 2021

Does Brandon need an energy committee?

By Neil P. Allen

On Monday, the Brandon Select Board agreed to provide goals and responsibilities for the Energy Committee now that the board has completed the preferred solar siting project.

“We have been on hiatus for a few months,” said Jack Schneider, a member of the energy committee. “We are looking for direction forward – should we be absorbed back into the Planning Commission or add one member to the Planning Commission to bring them to nine members?”

Select Board member Tim Guiles stated that he had been doing some hunting around for what the Energy Committee could be. “[The committee] could be profoundly useful to monitor goals and help the state to achieve the goals and guide us along the way,” he said. “Data gathering would be a big piece of it as well as [continuing] public outreach events.”

“One of the great things is that we became very proactive with a profile for people to take energy seriously,” said Energy Committee member Edna Sutton. “A weakness is that we have no way to go forward.

“The profile events make a big impact on Brandon,” she continued. “Amazing work has been done by others, it would be a shame to lose that valuable information and work that has been done.”

Selectboard Chair Seth Hopkins said, “It looks like the committee is looking for direction and not have their work go nowhere.”

Guiles said he would be willing to look around to see what other energy committees do around the state and come up with goals.

“There’s a good base already in the Energy Committee,” said Sutton.

The Select Board agreed by consensus that Guiles should work with Schneider to collaborate and come up with goals and responsibilities to bring back to the board at a future meeting.

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