Burlington Issues 2021 Net Zero Energy Roadmap Update

Burlington, Vt. – Mayor Miro Weinberger and Burlington Electric Department (BED) today announced the annual update to the City’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap, providing new 2021 data that show emissions in the thermal and ground transportation sectors in the City increased 1.5 percent in 2021 relative to 2020, but remain 12.5 percent lower than the Roadmap’s 2018 baseline. For comparison, emissions in the United States rose 6.2 percent in 2021.

In addition, the Mayor and BED highlighted, in a presentation planned for this evening’s City Council meeting, a number of key initiatives either already underway or planned for this year which will support additional progress toward the Net Zero Energy city goal, including:

New and expanded BED strategic electrification incentives for 2022;

-New policy development that will be possible with the passage of the City’s Thermal Energy Charter Change last week;
-Planned installation in 2022 of the first modern Level 3 fast chargers in Burlington, as part of BED’s Net Zero Energy Revenue Bond projects;
-Concluding Phase 3 of feasibility work on a Burlington District Energy System and reaching a “Go/No-Go” decision for the project;
-Expanded access to electric vehicles through a partnership with CarShare Vermont, including in the Old North End;
-Expansion of a successful pilot program for charging at rental and multi-family buildings from 14 chargers currently, to include 50 to 60 additional chargers.

“While Burlington avoided the significant emissions increase that we saw nationally in 2021, it is clear we can and must do more in 2022 to accelerate our progress toward our Net Zero Energy goal,” said Mayor Weinberger. “I am committed to taking additional steps, including with the new Thermal Energy Charter Change regulatory authority the City now has, to enact forward-looking policies that will cement emissions reductions in the coming years.”

"Many of the steps we're taking in Burlington are working, and the data shows that. Now, we need to double down on all of it, and more. We need to go bigger, faster -- and everyone in Burlington has a role to play,” said East District City Councilor Jack Hanson.

Natural gas use in the City was reduced by approximately one percent in 2021 compared to 2020, and is down nearly 11.5 percent since the Roadmap’s baseline year of 2018. Ground transportation fuel use (gasoline and diesel) is estimated to be up in 2021 by approximately 10 percent compared to 2020, driven primarily by increased miles traveled per vehicle as the economy more fully reopened in 2021. Gasoline and diesel use in Burlington, as of 2021, remains 10.5 percent below 2018 levels, according to Synapse Energy Economics which provides BED the Roadmap data updates.

“The 2021 Net Zero Energy Roadmap update provides a clarion call for additional climate action in Burlington, and we’ll need to ramp up adoption of electric vehicles, cold-climate heat pumps, and other clean technologies to achieve the pace outlined in the Roadmap,” said Darren Springer, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “Burlington Electric is ready to help our customers make the switch away from fossil fuels with strong rebates, technical support, and financing partnerships with local credit unions. We also are putting the Net Zero Energy Revenue Bond funds to work in 2022, adding new fast chargers and investing in our grid to enhance reliability and add capacity for strategic electrification.”

In January, BED announced new and expanded incentives for 2022, including increased rebates for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles, home chargers, and heat pump water heaters. BED also announced that it would continue into 2022 its strong Green Stimulus incentives for heat pumps.

“It is incredibly helpful for policymakers and the public to have access to up-to-date emissions and fossil fuel use data in Burlington as we track progress toward our Net Zero Energy goal year-by-year, “said Gabrielle Stebbins, Chair of the Burlington Electric Commission. “I am pleased we have been able to maintain much of the emissions reductions achieved in 2019 and 2020, even as the nation saw a rebound in emissions in 2021. Going forward, we have a great opportunity, including with the Thermal Energy Charter Change, for our City to lead on enacting strong and thoughtful policies that save Burlingtonians money on energy bills, improve air quality and community health, and make additional climate progress.”


To view General Manager Springer’s presentation on the Net Zero Energy Roadmap data,  click here

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Mayor's Office