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Bray, Housing Vermont and Audet Honored at RE 2015

Leading the Energy REVolution.

REV_Logo_SmBurlington, VT — Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) recognizes a Vermont real estate development company and two Vermonters for their outstanding contributions to the progress of a sustainable energy future at Renewable Energy 2015: “Leading the Energy REVolution”, an annual conference hosted by REV taking place on October 8-9 at the Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in Burlington. The 2015 Renewable Energy Awards are generously presented by VLITE as part of their continuing commitment to building an energy secure Vermont.

This year’s awardees include:

The Renewable Energy Legislative Award, awarded to an elected official who worked to advance energy policy in the state in the prior year, is awarded to Senator Christopher Bray from Addison County. In his first year as Chair, Senator Bray passed a Climate Change Resolution, initiated a Water bill that did become law, and – critically – oversaw the passage of Vermont’s Act 56, the Renewable Energy Standard.  Act 56 focuses on the balance between rate impact, renewable goals, alignment with regional policy, helping Vermonters lower their total energy costs, economic development and greenhouse gas emission reductions. This Act brought Vermont into compliance with the regions’ RPS policies thereby preventing a $40 million rate increase, set forth renewable energy requirements through 2032, and also made significant changes in solar siting requirements while also establishing a Solar Siting Task Force.  For those who experienced the last three weeks of the 2015 Legislative Session, Chair Bray provided a fair and balanced approach to governing and an example of true leadership. Not surprisingly, this will not be the first energy-related honor for Senator Bray, who was the recipient of the Vermont Natural Resources Council’s Legislative Leadership Award in 2009.

The Renewable Energy Industry Award, celebrates a Vermont company who went above and beyond its core mission to increase the deployment of renewables. This year the recipient is Housing Vermont, a non-profit real estate development company that creates permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through public-private partnerships.  Since its founding in 1988, Housing Vermont has produced almost 5,000 affordable apartments for Vermonters. For the past five years Housing Vermont has been involved in trailblazing work to integrate renewable energy in their buildings.  Housing Vermont has installed solar hot water in 650 units, solar electric in over 120 units and modern wood central heating systems serving 342 affordable apartments throughout the state. By the end of 2016, Housing Vermont will have developed 650 kW (AC) of photovoltaic system that will be net metered to over 300 affordable housing units.  As noted by Housing Vermont, “in order to be good at our core mission of providing affordable housing, we have to be great at this energy work.”

The 2015 Jim Grundy Award, is named for Jim Grundy, one of the founders of REV, a renewable designer and businessman, and beloved husband, family and community member.  Jim was known for his integrity of spirit, kindness of soul and ingenuity and craftsmanship in renewable energy technologies, as well as a willingness to personally invest in advancing renewable energy in Vermont through his daily actions and throughout his community. This year’s Jim Grundy award will be presented to Marie Audet and the Audet Family of Blue Spruce Farm and Audet’s Cow Power in Bridport, Vermont. Marie Audet and the team at Blue Spruce farm are true pioneers in what they refer to as “Cow Power” on their third-generation farm that produces milk for Vermont’s famous Cabot Cheeses. Producing almost 4,500,000 gallons of milk each year and with 3,000 acres of land to feed the cows, Blue Spruce Farm generates electricity by feeding cow manure into an anaerobic digester which produces a biogas which in turn spins an electric generator creating electricity. The farm also boasts a Northwind 100 Turbine and hosts a solar array.  Marie and her family are truly a model for many, opening their farm to thousands of tourists annually to show visitors what a true working Vermont landscape looks like – from food to renewable energy to community.

“For REV members and the Board, it’s a sincere pleasure to take a brief moment out of every year to thank a few of the Vermonters that quietly work towards making renewable energy and efficiency happen in their communities, homes and businesses.  These awards show the breadth and scope of who makes energy work here in Vermont – from housing entities to farmers, to legislators and town energy committee members. Truly, this works takes all of us collaborating together”, says Jeff Forward, Chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont board.

To learn more about the Renewable Energy Awards, the recipients and RE2015: Leading the Energy REVolution visit, www.revconference.org/.

About Renewable Energy Vermont (REV)

REV is Vermont’s only non-profit, non-partisan renewable energy trade association working to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and expanding the availability of renewable sources of energy throughout the state and region.

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