Burlington, Vermont is Now 100% Powered by Renewable Energy

Burlington, Vermont, already considered to be one of the United States’s most environmentally progressive cities, has added another line to its impressive green resume. Just recently, the city finalized its transition to relying 100% on renewable resources for its energy.

Burlington is Vermont’s large city, though that in itself is no big feat – the city has a population of just 42,000. Then again, very few communities of even this size have managed to disassociate themselves from fossil fuels. In order to adequately tackle climate change, cities – big and small – need to prioritize finding and utilizing alternative energy solutions.

Burlington had expressed a desire to commit to 100% renewable energy for more than a decade, but it became a real possibility when analysts discovered that it was not only a smart environmental choice, but financially viable, too. In the long run, both the city and residents will not be paying more for clean energy than they were when buying fossil fuels.

The 100% mark was made possible when the Burlington Electric Department bought hydroelectric technology stationed on the Winooski River near Burlington’s border. The power created by water supplements the city’s existing wind technologies, as well as a biomass facility that harvests energy from leftover woodchips supplied by the region’s logging industry.

Vermont on the whole, however, intends to follow Burlington’s lead in adopting more renewable energy. The state has declared a goal of having renewable resources provide 90% of the energy before the year 2050. Residents are so supportive of this effort that utility companies are going out of their way to accommodate alternative energy to their customers.

In truth, Burlington does rely on some fossil fuels for energy when the renewable resources aren’t readily available – sometimes the wind is too weak to generate much power, for example. To cover these times, they will purchase energy created with non-renewable resources to provide the city with electricity. When the wind is strong, however, Burlington will trade the excess energy to other towns to make up for its deficits. Overall, Burlington energy authorities explain, the city sells more of its own (clean) energy than it buys from other communities.

For this reason, some environmentalists say that Burlington’s “100%” rate is a bit of stretch and deserves an asterisk next to it. Sill, an asterisk is better than the effort that most American cities have put in thus far. By turning its attention to cultivating energy from water, wind and biomass, Burlington is showing the rest of the country that renewable energy is not only possible, it’s affordable. As the rest of Vermont begins to follow suit, hopefully other states will catch on as well.


Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper

Julia R.
Julia R3 years ago

What a great example Burlington, Vermont is showing the rest of our Nation by taking climate change and the needs of all of us seriously by using renewable energy! We need this kind of leadership in all our cities and towns across America! What a difference this would make!
Thank you.

Dave W.
Dave W.3 years ago


Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim3 years ago


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Amy D.
Amy D3 years ago

Thank you!

John S.
Past Member 3 years ago

If it cost no more why do they have to prioritize?

Lady Kaira
None None3 years ago


Dale O.

heather g, Canada is not like a dinosaur, it just happens that Prime Minister Steven Harper is the dinosaur at the helm, unfortunately. Worry not, in the next election, he and his party will become politically extinct...aka out of power. It used to be that economically, it was not even feasible to develop the tar sands, but since oil prices have risen drastically over the years due to the greed of the oil companies, it now is 'feasible' to develop the tar sands. Not really logical when it comes to the environment, but the con-servative government is not interested in the environment over the profits of the oil companies. Corporate interests come first, the rampaging T-Rex dinosaurs of corporate feeding frenzy have been unleashed upon us all.

Good for Burlington, Vermont.

heather g.
heather g3 years ago

What a pity Canada is like a dinosaur with it's gigantic oil sands.
It's simply embarrassing.....

Burlington, you are very fortunate to have good leaders