BENNINGTON — State Rep. Joseph L. Krawczyk Jr. was honored Thursday by a renewable energy advocacy group for his work on recent legislation.
Renewable Energy Vermont presented Krawczyk, R-Bennington, with the Renewable Energy Champion Award, given annually “to individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership and commitment to advancing renewable energy initiatives to better Vermont’s overall energy, environmental, and economic well-being.”
Krawczyk received the award at the group’s eighth annual Conference and Expo in Burlington.
“This year, Rep. Krawczyk was a legislative champion and led the Vermont Legislature in the first-of-its-kind policy,” said Lawrence Mott, chairman of REV’s board of directors. “The renewable energy bill and the standard offer component are accelerating the growth of this sector in Vermont, bringing the state back as a leader in energy policy.”
In his eighth year as a legislator, Krawczyk is the current vice chairman of the Natural Resource and Energy Committee, enabling him to help pass the Energy Act of 2009, develop the clean energy fund and facilitate wind tower siting and cow power programs. He has also worked successfully to open state lands for development of renewable energy.
First â€˜feed in tariff’ program
The renewable energy bill, passed in May, made Vermont the first state in the nation to pass a “feed in tariff” program, also known as a standard offer. The program requires utilities to purchaseÂ a set amount of power from renewable sources at above market rates. It is intended to encourage development of solar, wind and biomass energy. The program has increased interest among potential renewable energy developers, according to Mott.
The bill also establishes clean energy districts, allowing small towns and rural incorporated villages to use bonds to finance residential renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.
“Joe was a real champion of this bill. He focused on working to ensure that the best policies and practices were incorporated. These policies are now in place, and we are seeing real action from Joe’s insistence on specific language in the law,” Mott said.
Krawczyk, a Bennington native, said his 28 years in the U.S. Army, including 14 years in Germany where he witnessed that country’s renewable energy programs, has encouraged him to push for more renewable energy in Vermont.
“I don’t believe that Vermont should rely on only two large generators, in this case Vermont Yankee and Hydro-Quebec, to provide two-thirds of our base load of energy,” Krawczyk said.
The renewable energy bill is having a local impact. A solar project in Pownal was chosen to take part in the state program, he said. He said the state needs to continue the transition to new forms of energy, and embrace new technology, such as smart meters.
Krawczyk said he is working with a local resident on legislation to streamline the permitting process for small hydro projects. “The one part where we’re not where I want to be is small hydro,” he said.
REV provides renewable energy education to schools and communities of Vermont, raising consciousness about the many benefits of hydropower, wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy. The group is composed of renewable energy companies, institutional and academic partners, and concerned citizens of Vermont.
Contact Neal P. Goswami atÂ email@example.com
Reprinted with permission from The Bennington Banner