Chinese delegation learns about Vermont’s energy efficiency programs

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(Host) A delegation from China is in Vermont this week to learn about the state’s energy efficiency programs.

The group of 17 high-level officials came to the Statehouse for a briefing with Vermont politicians and energy policy makers.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The news conference with the Chinese officials was long on diplomatic niceties and short on details.

The Vermonters expressed hope that China – one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies – could learn from one of the smallest states in the country.

David O’Brien is the commissioner of Public Service.

(O’Brien) We think that this is our way of contributing to the relationship between China and the U.S. and our way of contributing towards a real healthy future for China.

(Dillon) O’Brien was referring to Efficiency Vermont, a program administered under a contract with the state Public Service Board.

The program helps utility customers save electricity and money through investments in energy efficiency. The Douglas Administration has recommended less money for Efficiency Vermont than some lawmakers and environmentalists wanted to see.

But those differences didn’t come up in this setting, as O’Brien addressed the Chinese delegation.

(O’Brien) We really look forward to the next couple of days here with us that as our guests you’ll learn truly from the innovators.

(Dillon) The Chinese delegation will study efficiency programs in Vermont, New York and California.

Lu Junling is director of the power department of the national development and reform commission, an agency of the Chinese Central Government.

He spoke through an interpreter.

(Junling) (Chinese spoken… "I believe these meetings and exchanges will be beneficial to both sides.."

(Dillon) Timothy Hui is with the China office of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental group. His organization helped bring the Chinese delegation to the U-S.

(Hui) And we’ve been working with Chinese partners in promoting energy efficiency and trying to help to facilitate developing a mechanism to incentivize energy efficiency.

(Dillon) On Friday, the delegation is off to the Vermont Law School for a day long session on climate change and energy efficiency.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.


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