Current News

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Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing The US General Services Administration (GSA) is holding a public meeting this evening, January 12, at 5:30 pm in St Albans to discuss expansion of the Highgate border crossing that sits at the northern end of Interstate 89. This first public meeting is to discuss the project timeline and the process for public feedback. GSA will consider three project alternatives and seek public input multiple times over the next 18 to 24 months. No project plans or designs are currently available for review or being decided on at this meeting. As more information on the project becomes available it will be updated at the GSA website.

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Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power (GMP) announced today it is launching two programs to connect income-qualified customers with solar energy that has too often been out of reach for them. The Shared Solar Program (SSP) unlocks incentives in the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to create a qualified low-income program that saves participants money. Another program, the Affordable Community Renewable Energy (ACRE) Pilot, will use a state grant so eligible customers can take part in new Vermont solar projects, providing them discounts for five years. Together, these new programs will help thousands of eligible GMP customers save money while growing new Vermont community solar.

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Vermont Business Magazine ISO New England system operators used steps from a well-established operating procedure to balance supply and demand on the regional power system during the evening peak hours of December 24, 2022, when unexpected generator outages and reductions and lower-than-expected imports led to a shortfall in operating reserves. The ISO’s actions came during a period that saw challenges to the electric grid across North America, as extreme weather caused different issues to different power systems, including necessitating controlled power outages in parts of the United States. Penalties for the Christmas Eve event are estimated to be approximately $39 million, based on initial data. Charges for underperformance are paid by the underperforming resources, not electricity ratepayers.

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Northeastern Vermont Development Association Drafty, inefficient homes in need of weatherization will soon have a new affordable program available to them with the launch of the Weatherization Repayment Assistance Program (WRAP). WRAP will allow Vermont households to pay for qualifying weatherization projects like insulation and air sealing, as well as heat pumps, through a monthly charge on their utility bill that can be paid back over time. Both homeowners and renters can participate in the program. WRAP’s on-bill payment mechanism intends to address challenges commonly encountered in weatherization, including high upfront costs and limited access to credit. WRAP will not run credit checks on customers, instead verifying a clean utility bill payment history.

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Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Electric Co-op (VEC) has recently added two new incentives to make it more affordable for members to move to electric powered devices for their energy needs in their homes and businesses. A new program for no-cost Level II electric vehicle chargers was launched January 1, and last year the co-op added induction cooktops to the list of incentives that qualify for a bill credit. VEC’s incentive program, known as the Energy Transformation Program, is designed to benefit the entire co-op membership over time - not just those who take advantage of the program – because VEC calibrates the incentives to pay for themselves through additional electric sales for the co-op.

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Vermont Business Magazine How can responsible forest management be part of building a more functional, beautiful, and equitable world? Join Ethan Tapper, the Chittenden County Forester, Audubon Vermont and Pride Center of Vermont for a Pride Hike at the Hinesburg Town Forest. We’ll walk an area of the HTF which is currently being managed and talk about forests, forest management, birds, and forest ecology.

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Vermont Business Magazine Saint Michael’s College students planning careers focused on the environment – or those hoping to better understand humans’ impact on the natural world – will directly benefit from federal funding included in the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, thanks to the hard work of alumnus and now-retired Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (‘61). The approximately $6.5 million funding – the largest direct grant ever received by the College – will fund the continued growth and development of the College’s Center for the Environment. The Center, which was officially launched in 2019, creates and supports interdisciplinary, project-based, and place-based education in, for, and about the environment.

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Vermont Business Magazine Mayor Miro Weinberger and Burlington Electric Department (BED), joined by partners from Rewiring America, the nation’s leading electrification nonprofit, Key Motors of South Burlington, and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), today announced new and expanded Net Zero Energy incentives and an innovative, on-bill financing program for home weatherization and cold climate heat pumps. BED continues to offer substantial rebates up to 75 percent of the installed cost on ductless mini-split heat pumps and, new for 2023, is offering a $500 rebate for a second heat pump. Also, BED has introduced a new tier of higher rebates for centrally ducted heat pumps offering up to 75 percent of installed cost for more heating-efficient systems, as well as incentives for EV, weatherization and even lawn mowers and e-bikes.

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Vermont Business Magazine Vertek Corporation, an industry-leading telecom operations and managed security services provider, announced today that Jorge Reis has succeeded Brad Soutiere as President as part of a long-planned succession search and that Ron Hruby has been promoted to COO. Reis will be taking on the President role after serving as the Company's Chief Strategy Officer since March of last year. Prior to joining Vertek, Reis had spent 19 years with Telstra, a $28B communications carrier headquartered in Australia, the last 5 of which were as COO of Telstra Americas.

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Vermont Business Magazine The 2023 US Good Food Award Finalists have just been announced and Blake Hill Preserves has once again been honored across multiple categories. Blake Hill’s NEWEST Botanical Shrub Collection has two Finalists in the Elixirs category with their Wild Mint Shrub and Spicy Jalepeño Shrub, and their Fresh Tomato Savory Jam is a Finalist in the Preserves category. Winners will be announced at the Good Food Awards Ceremony in Portland, Oregon, in April, 2023, and so there are many jam-making fingers crossed at the Windsor-based artisan jam company until then.

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Vermont Business Magazine The ACLU filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of Andrew Cappello, who City of Newport officials served with a “notice against trespass” in August 2021, barring Mr. Cappello from city property. The “no trespass” order was issued at the request of the City’s Public Works Director with an apparent grudge against Mr. Cappello, a former Newport employee. He was told the notice would expire after one year but received no additional information. And, when Mr. Cappello requested an opportunity to petition the city council to lift the notice, the mayor refused.

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