“Fuel sector” Climate Council rep has strong ties with renewable power industry

by Guy Page

The Vermont Speaker of the House has selected the general manager of one of the most pro-renewable power members of the Vermont fuel oil industry to serve on the Vermont Climate Council.

Brian Gray. Photo credit Energy Co-op of Vermont website.

Brian Gray is the general manager of Energy Co-op of Vermont, which sells fossil fuels but also has a strong market presence in wood pellets. He is also the author of a generally positive essay on the Global Warming Solutions Act, which created the Vermont Climate Council. Also, the home page for the Energy Co-op of Vermont:

  • Contains a testimonial about conversion to solar power.
  • Publishes a mission statement: “We help our members save money, use less energy and cut fossil fuel use for home heating and cooling.”
  • Proclaims its membership in Vermonters for Business Responsibility and Renewable Energy Vermont, two of the most active lobby groups supporting renewable power and pushing carbon taxation and other climate-change agendas.

The 23-member Climate Council was designed by the Vermont Legislature last year to plan and implement stringent carbon emission restrictions. The majority of its members are explicit backers of the renewable power industry and carbon reductions. However, legislators backing the Climate Council pointed to the presence of a a fuel sector representative as an attempt to offer some balance, or at least a voice, to Vermonters who do not share their zeal for enforced carbon reduction.

The following was received today from the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association:

“The Vermont Climate Council is holding their second meeting today. After a month long delay, the Fuel Sector position on the Council has been filled. Following the resignation of Michael Schmell of Junction Fuels in Woodstock, outgoing Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson appointed Brian Gray of Vermont Energy Co-op in Colchester to serve the role.

“The Energy Co-op sells heating oil, kerosene, and wood pellets, but does not sell gasoline, diesel fuel, off-road fuel, biodiesel, BioHeat, or propane. VFDA Executive Director Matt Cota will continue to participate as a member of the public during every meeting of the Climate Council and offer comments where appropriate.

“More information about the Fuel Sector representative on the Climate Council as chosen by Speaker Mitzi Johnson:
Brian Gray has served as the General Manager of the Energy Co-op since November of 2017. Previously Gray held the position of Energy Services Manager at Vermont Gas, the South Burlington based natural gas utility. The Co-op is a customer owned non-profit controlled by a Board of Directors. The current Chair of the Colchester heating oil company is also the Director of External and Government Affairs at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, which operates Efficiency Vermont.”

The identity of the Energy Co-op of Vermont Chair is Kelly Lucci. Here’s her bio from the co-op website:

“Kelly has a depth of experience in energy efficiency policy, legislative strategy and corporate communications. She is currently the Director of External and Government Affairs at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) where she formerly served as Public Affairs and Communications Manager. Prior to joining VEIC, Kelly was an outreach representative in the office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. She holds a degree in Political Science from Middlebury College, and resides in Fletcher, Vermont.”

4 replies »

  1. And again, the conspicuous absence of any mention to the green, sustainable and inexpensive electricity (half the cost of virtually every other power source) available from the 4th largest power producer in the world – our next-door neighbor, Hydro Quebec. Not a word in this article. Not in the referenced ‘generally positive essay’. Nowhere!

    Talk about silence being deafening.

  2. Brian Gray is also a Board member of the Energy Action Network. His appointment makes at least nine EAN members on the Council, and gives the renewable-industrial complex a 15-8 majority over the Scott Administration’s 8 ex officio members.