VERA specializes in bringing together local and regional stakeholders in cooperative forums to clarify, inform, and stimulate solutions to potential development obstacles. Building community trust while making the process efficient and cost effective is the overall goal.
VERA organized Vermont's first Collaborative Wind Planning Process by bringing together more than 30 local, state and regional stakeholders to guide the proposed Searsburg/Readsboro Wind Expansion project (Deerfield Wind) to permit. Our work with Georgia Mountain Community Wind, focused on creating a community-oriented effort using local businesses and experts. We also worked on the Kingdom Community Wind Project outreach effort by engaging Lowell residents in neighborhood meetings and door-to-door conversations. As a result, the Lowell community voted its support of the Project by a wide margin on Vermont's Town Meeting Day 2010.
We bring experience conducting public information meetings, providing presentations, and developing and disseminating outreach materials that provide the public with factual information and answers. Throughout, the purpose of VERA’s outreach program is to build the local support needed to move projects favorably through the regulatory process.
VERA monitors and communicates regularly with local media and editorial boards for consistent messaging and media control. Early on, the VERA team builds strong relationships with select boards, planning commissions, town clerks, and other local officials and keeps them informed of Project developments . Our boots on the ground approach to community organizing allows us to to build a web of supporters locally, who will then share and promote Project information with their friends, relatives and neighbors. Through door-to-door visits to a representative percentage of households in host and participating communities, community members are able to share their thoughts and we are able to identify and address community challenges before they arise.
The most successful renewable energy projects share information and listen to the ideas and concerns of the community.