Energy Experts Vision a Path to Renewables

Energy experts Tim Maker, Beth Sachs, Leigh Seddon, and David Blittersdorf gathered on Thursday, July 7, at 6:00 PM at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Middlebury for a practical, clear-eyed look at what the transition to renewable energy may actually entail.

There is a growing realization among elected officials and the general public that as much as 80 percent of the remaining oil, gas, and coal must be left in the ground in order to head off catastrophic climate change. The implications of this for energy use, renewable energy growth, and a restructuring of our energy systems are vast.

While it is possible to identify the kinds of energy technologies and systems that will take us where we need to go, it is much harder to envision how this will actually play out.

What level of efficiency do we need to achieve and how much renewable energy do we need? Will society at large be able to afford this technological change? Will economically disadvantaged people be left behind? Can we do it fast enough? Will only wealthy nations have the resources to change quickly? Are our political institutions up to the task?

This is a Vermont conversation about a global vision for what technologies are required and how quickly we must adopt them at scale, but it is also a conversation about the barriers that stand in the way of full, rapid adoption.

Panelists included: Tim Maker founding director, Biomass Energy Resource Center; Beth Sachs founding director, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation; Leigh Seddon, founder, Solar Works, Inc; and David Blittersdorf, president/CEO, AllEarth Renewables.

This was the second of two programs organized in conjunction with the Vermont Folklife Center exhibit, “Portraits in Action: Pioneers in Renewable Energy, Environmental Conservation, and Land Use Planning,” which was on display summer 2016. This program is co-sponsored by the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society.

For more information about the exhibit and program series visit our Web site at or call (802) 388-4964.

The Vision & Voice Gallery program is generously underwritten by our season sponsor, Main Street Landing, with additional support from our membership at large. The gallery is ADA accessible on the first floor of the Vermont Folklife Center headquarters at 88 Main Street in Middlebury.

The Vermont Folklife Center’s mission is to broaden, strengthen, and deepen our understanding of Vermont and the surrounding region; to assure a repository for our collective cultural memory; and to strengthen communities by building connections among the diverse peoples of Vermont.