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Institute for Energy and the Environment

Events, Conferences & Training

Events, Conferences and Training

Lawyers practicing in this field, experts seeking to further hone their skills, and public officials searching for a balance among competing interests, can step away from day-to-day cases, come together to hear the most important facts about key issue areas, and then debate proposals for improvements. With first-class facilities in central Vermont and at commissioned presentations in major urban areas, the Institute offers a bridge between enlightened energy policy and pragmatic environmentalism.


Current Events

  • May 19 - 25, 2013 and October 6 - 12, 2013: Legal Essentials for Utility Executives
    This rigorous, two-week course will provide electric utility executives with the legal foundation to more fully understand the utility regulatory framework, the role of federal and state energy regulatory commissions, and how to operate effectively within these structures. Learn more...
  • March 20-23, 2011: Matthew Stern attended the IEEE Power Systems Conference and Exposition. The conference, largely focused towards electrical engineers, included industry members and academics from around the globe. Matt attended the conference to gain a better understanding about the current developments of smart grid technologies including Demand Response at the wholesale level, cyber security, microgrids, and transmission automation. While in Phoenix, Matt met with several members of the Salt River Project (the Nation's third largest public power entity) to discuss the Institute's ongoing smart grid case study research, which is funded by a two year Department of Energy research grant.
    Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • January 27-28, 2011: Matthew Stern and Laura Colangelo presented and exhibited at the Midwest Value Added Conference. The goal was to educate the audience about opportunities for using efficiency, biomass, wind, solar, and radiant heating systems on farms, with a focus on finding local and national incentives, tax credits, and other subsidies. Attendees numbered around 300 and were primarily from this important agricultural region (Wisconsin and surrounding states). This conference provided the opportunity to create personal contacts with people working in the area as well as with UDSA Rural.
    Location: Madison, WI
  • January 19-22, 2011: Christopher Cooper exhibited at the 2011 Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference. The conference drew nearly 500 participants, mostly sustainable and organic farmers and representatives of companies providing and promoting implements for sustainable agriculture. Participants were highly receptive to the Farmers' Handbook for Energy Self-Sufficiency and asked many questions concerning energy efficiency measures they could take that would not require substantial additional outlays. Many participants requested information on how to access additional information about state and federal subsidies for farmers to install energy efficient equipment.
    Location: Chattanooga, TN
  • January 15, 2011: Laura Colangelo presented and exhibited at the NOFA-Mass Winter Conference. There were over 900 conference attendees, most of whom were farmers or were involved in the processing and sale of local produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, and related value-added products. As the conference was sponsored by NOFA, the attendees tended to be interested in organic agriculture and environmental stewardship in general. It was an excellent opportunity for expanding their understanding of how to incorporate efficiency, biomass, wind, solar, and radiant heating systems on farms.
    Location: Worcester, MA
  • December 10, 2010: Zhen Zhang had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the "The Infrastructure Security Partnership - 2010 Annual Infrastructure & Regional Resilience Conference." The conference had a broad range of presentations on critical infrastructure resilience. Many presenters and attendees were from the Department of Homeland Security and the military. The conference presentations fell into three categories: government contractors with products looking for sponsors, government organizations on their programs and technical and science based research. The conference presented a good overview of the entities interested in reliability and their work. Zhen's presentation focused on cyber security standards for the bulk power system which was one of the few on the electricity industry.
    Location: Dallas, TX
  • November 19, 2010: Zhen Zhang had the pleasure of participating in the final expert workshop for the "EU Arctic Footprint & Policy Assessment." The assessment is produced by researchers from the Ecologic Institute (Germany), the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (Austria), the Arctic Centre/University of Lapland (Finland) and the Stockholm Environmental Institute (Sweden). The audience was composed of mainly government representatives (EU, Greenland, Norway, Netherlands, Canada & US) and research organizations (Institute for Environmental Security of the Netherlands and the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge).
    Location: Brussels, Belgium
  • November 15, 2010: Kevin B. Jones, Ph.D, Smart Grid Project Leader for the Institute for Energy and the Environment participated in a Seminar on Energy and the Environment at Universidad Finis Terrae in Santiago, Chile. The focus of the seminar was to explore options for dealing with the environmental impacts of thermal electric generation in Chile and there were panels on both local and international experience. Kevin participated in the international panel and presented on Experience in Mitigating the Environmental Impacts of Thermal Generation in the US. The seminar was organized by the Finis Terrae Law School in its ongoing efforts to explore interest in developing a specialization on energy and the environment.
    Location: Santiago, Chile
  • November 12-14, 2010: Carey Rosser exhibited at this year's Washington Tilth Producer's Conference. Conference participants came from across the state of Washington and Oregon. Participants attended discussions on topics ranging from policy considerations to pollination. Conference exhibitors provided information on topics ranging from organic practices to water conservation and energy independence to success stories. Most participants were farmers, gardeners, or land managers in Washington who are interested in organic and sustainable practices. One interesting point of discussion was the new Port Townsend biomass facility. The Port Townsend Paper Mill proposed a 25 MW biomass co-generation plant. These co-generation plants are common to the pulp and paper industry, because their pre-existing infrastructure is compatible with generation requirements, and electricity is often more profitable than paper. However, the general public is skeptical about whether to classify this as "green energy." The IEE recommends biomass as a potential electricity generation option for farmers, however we recognize that there are many factors to consider. (Our definition of biomass includes projects that use plant or animal matter as fuel, but does not include burning fossil fuels). Farmers who opt to burn plant matter to generate electricity or heat choose not to use that plant matter as compost. This is a difficult choice, especially for organic farmers. Using biomass as a heat source has the highest potential for efficiency, because you eliminate the energy losses from converting heat to electricity. Overall, there is no uniform answer, but rather choice must be made on a case-by-case basis. If you're interested in exploring biomass as an option, check out and for financial incentives, check out
    Location: Port Townsend, WA
  • November 13, 2010: Lisa Campion attended the "American Agri-Women National Convention" as a presenter on "Profit out of Thin Air: How Energy Effieciency can improve your bottom line and the Environment." Lisa promoted the Institute’s “The Farmer’s Handbook for Energy Self-Reliance” and conversed with the attendees about how to incorporate energy efficiency measures on their farms. The conference was attended by more than 150 American Agri-Women members from around the country.
    Location: St. Louis, MO
  • November 4-6, 2010: Rebecca Wigg attended the "National Small Farm Trade Show & Conference" as a presenter and exhibitor to promote the Institute’s “The Farmer’s Handbook for Energy Self-Reliance” and conversed with farmers about how to incorporate energy efficiency measures on their farms. The conference was attended by more than 4,500 members from around the country.
    Location: Columbia, MO
  • November 4, 2010: The IEE was honored to participate in the anniversary celebration for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (75 years) and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (70 years). Attendees came from all over Vermont to hear panel discussions on various agricultural topics and also to celebrate years of progress in Vermont and the United States as a whole. The IEE's 'Agricultural Energy Independence' team member, Carey Rosser, presented on the "Energy Panel." Carey provided an overview of energy efficiency and renewable energy options that are available to farmers in Vermont. See Additionally, she provided guidance on sources of financial aid for energy improvements. The participants asked questions and highlighted the technical difficulty of constructing and maintaining large renewable energy structures such as anaerobic digesters. Especially for smaller-scale (less than 500 heads) dairy or cattle farmers typical to Vermont, maintaining an effective anaerobic digester can be difficult. Although a communal digester or a coop model would help accumulate sufficient manure, raw manure is not easily--or efficiently--transported. Unfortunately, financial limitations (both in terms of up-front and maintenance cost) make anaerobic digestion very difficult for small farmers, who would, in most instances, be better served using the manure directly as fertilizer, etc. On the bright side, as highlighted by fellow panelist Steve Letendre, solar is a viable option for a large portion of vermont. When considering solar, be certain to check out government and utility-specific financial incentives (see DSIRE) and remember that Vermont allows for Net-Metering and Group Net-Metering (see Vermont Public Service Board).
    Location: Green Mountain College, Poutney, VT
  • October 25-26, 2010: IEE Director Michael Dworkin and Research Associate Jess Reiss took part in a workshop to evaluate the model legislation for Carbon Capture and Sequestration drafted by the CCSReg team. Workshop attendees included congressional staffers and representatives from industry, environmental NGOs, and the Department of Energy. Over the two days, six separate sessions each focused on a separate title of the model legislation. A CCSReg team member began each session with a brief summary of the solutions proposed in the model legislation. Then specific attendees commented on the model legislation, followed by an open discussion. The workshop afforded a vigorous assessment and critique of the model legislation. The CCSReg team will reconvene shortly to begin redrafting the model legislation. More information about the CCSReg project can be found at
    Location: Washington, DC
  • October 21-22, 2010: RenewElec Team (Danielle Changala, Matt Stern, Colin Hagan and Jonathan Voegele) will have a workshop with the team from Carnegie Mellon. The group will be discussing current project status and future project goals as we work to figure out how to successfully integrate renewable electricity onto the electricity grid in a reliable, cost-effective, socially equitable and environmentally benign manner.
    Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • March 31, 2010: Matt Stern and Javier Gago Louisa Yanes attended the Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit. The theme of the summit was Delivering on the Promise, discussing how the Northeast has worked to meet the goal of capturing all cost-effective efficiency measures. The message was clear: there has been a great level of success and the Northeast is a national leader, but there are still many opportunities left on the table.
    Location: Boston, MA
  • February 7-9, 2010: Johnathan Hladvik, Matthew Stern, David Contrada and Danielle Changala attended the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Forum on Energy Efficiency and Agriculture. The conference focused on energy efficiency in the agricultural sector. Panel topics included: life cycle assessments of the US food system, energy supply and demand on the farm, the challenges and opportunities of global warming for farmers, energy demand on conventional compared to organic farms, sustainability on farms, and energy-efficient farming systems. Attending the conference were representatives from state agricultural departments, universities, agricultural organizations (National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Association, National Association of Milk Producers Federation), energy efficiency organizations, and various other organizations.
    The Institute gave a presentation on reducing demand on the rural grid titled “Efficiency: Good for the Farm, Good for the Grid.” Johnathan and Matt presented while Michael moderated the panel. The presentation discussed how efficiency and demand-side management in the agricultural sector could reduce the energy needs in rural areas. Lowering demand decreases the need for additional transmission lines in rural areas. This is especially beneficial because the cost of transmission per customer is exacerbated in rural settings because fewer customers are served by the transmission. The presentation also explained specific methods that can be taken on the farm to reduce energy needs.
    Location: Madison, WI
  • February 4-6, 2010: Louisa Yanes attended the annual "Farming for the Future" conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). There was record attendance this year with nearly 2,200 attendees. Most of the attendees were organic farmers working land from 1 acre to over 200 acres. While there, Louisa distributed 150 of the Institute's "The Farmer's Handbook for Energy Self-Reliance" and around 20 of the smaller "A Farmer's Guide to Energy Self Reliance." She also engaged with farmers that were already engaging in various energy efficiency measures or looking for ways they can increase their farm's energy efficiency.
    Location: State College,PA
  • January 22-24, 2010: Matt Stern and Paul Foley attended the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York 28th Annual Farming and Gardening Conference. The Institute received a warm reception and we handed out two boxes of information booklets. Inquiries from visitors to the Institute's booth ranged from sophisticated net-metering questions to general questions concerning the relevancy of law and energy to agricultural policy. Many conference attendees had some familiarity with Vermont Law School; one was planning to enroll in the MELP program next academic year.
    Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
  • January 16, 2010: David Contrada and Louisa Yanes were one of more than fifty exhibitors at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Conference. They distributed the Energy Institute’s “The Farmer’s Handbook for Energy Self-Reliance” and conversed with farmers about how to incorporate energy efficiency measures on their farms. The conference was attended by more than 800 members of the community.
    Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • November 14, 2009: Betsy Baker presented a paper on "From the Gulf of Maine to the Beaufort Sea: Ecosystems and Arctic Boundaries" at "The 25th Anniversary Commemoration of The Gulf of Maine Maritime Boundary Delimitation: Law, Science and Policy of Marine Transboundary Management", sponsored by University of Maine School of Law Marine Law Institute and the Marine & Environmental Law Institute at Dalhousie University.
    Location: Prout’s Neck, ME
  • November 15-17, 2009: Economics of Alternative Energy Sources and Globalization: The Road Ahead
    Location: Orlando, FL
  • November 13-15, 2009: Lisa Campion attended the "Tilth Producers Conference" as one of about 30 exhibitors to promote the Energy Institute’s “The Farmer’s Handbook for Energy Self-Reliance” and conversed with farmers about how to incorporate energy efficiency measures on their farms. The conference was attended by more than 100 members of Washington state.
    Location: Yakima, WA
  • November 11, 2009: Betsy Baker appeared before the U.S. Arctic Research Commission to report on the September workshop referenced below, “International scientific collaboration and legal regimes in a changing Arctic Ocean” and on plans for a white paper on Arctic Ocean access for scientific research with workshop collaborators.
    Location: Cambridge, MA
  • November 5-7, 2009: 17th National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference
    Location, Columbia, MO
  • November 4, 2009: Betsy Baker presented a talk on "The Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean,” to The Nippon Foundation Fellows (DOALOS Fellowship and Training Program)
    Location: Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, The United Nations (New York)
  • November 4, 2009: Brian Martin and Danielle Changala attened the New England Regional Ocean Law and Policy Workshop: *Offshore Wind Facility Siting* in Newport, Rhode Island. They joined federal and state regulators, as well as academics from several New England law schools and universities, to discuss the regulatory framework for offshore wind farm siting. The workshop (hosted by The Marine Affairs Institute/Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program) emphasized the challenges facing regulators and developers, from multi-jurisdictional environmental review redundancies to technological constraints to the specter of private litigation.
  • October 23, 2009: Betsy Baker gave a talk on "Governance and Arctic Shipping” at the conference “Considering a Roadmap Forward: The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment” convened by University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Dartmouth College and UArctic.
    Location: Fairbanks, AK
  • October 24, 2009: Betsy Baker submitted a paper (in absentia) to "The Beaufort Sea: Comparing Canadian Inuvialuit and Alaskan Inupiat Participation in Marine Management Decisions" as part of the McGill University Faculty of Law-Vermont Law School Water Law Workshop.
    Location: South Royalton, VT
  • September 22-23, 2009: Lisa Campion attended the "Arctic Security Policy and Law in an Age of Climate Change Conference" hosted by the International Law Department of the United States Naval War College to explore the key international policy and law principles that impact upon and govern military operations in the Arctic maritime domain in an age of climate change.
    Location: U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI
  • September 21, 2009: Betsy Baker gave a presentation to “International ocean law, marine scientific research, and intersections with national legal regimes” at a workshop on “International scientific collaboration and legal regimes in a changing Arctic Ocean
    Location: International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
  • August 5-September 17, 2009: Betsy Baker completed her second tour as science crew member on the icebreaker USCGC HEALY 09-05 deployment for mapping of the US Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean
    Location: Canada Basin and Chukchi Plateau, Arctic Ocean

Past Events

  • 39th Annual Advanced ALI-ABA Course of Study: Environmental Law
    Thursday-Friday, February 5-6, 2009
    Michael Dworkin from Vermont Law School presented at the ALI-ABA course of study Environmental Law on February 4-6, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda in Washington, DC.
  • Sustaining the Family Farm Conference, Chattanooga, TN, January 21-24, 2009 Energy Institute Fellow, Jack Sautter, traveled to Chattanooga, TN in order to speak with attendees about renewable energy. The Sustaining the Family Farm Conference was sponsored by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, a not for profit organization that supports organic and sustainable farming operations. The Conference attracted more than 1,000 farmers. Jack worked as an exhibitor at the conference discussing renewable energy strategies with farmers.
  • "Education in the New Environmental Economy," November 3, 2008 at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. Michael Dworkin spoke at the request of the Vermont Environmental Consortium.
  • Carnegie Mellon's Electric Industry Research Center, October 17-18, 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA. Michael Dworkin was an invited as an Research Advisory Commenter to help shape an assessment of the CMEIC's research accomplishments and expectations.
  • "Powering the 21st Century: Choosing Resources in a Carbon Constrained World," July 18, 2008 at Vermont Law School. Richard Cowart of the Regulatory Assistance Project was the summer 2008 Distinguished Visiting Energy Scholar and keynote speaker at the Third Annual Institute for Energy and the Environment Energy Summer Conference. Cowart was joined by Paula Gant, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at the American Gas Association, as well as other panelists. Download presentations from the conference:
    PDF logo Powering the 21st Century – Lowering Risks and Costs in a Carbon-Constrained World by Richard Cowart
    PDF logo Resource Choices: Natural Gas in a Carbon-Constrained World by Jeffrey M. Petrash
    PDF logo US Energy Policy and Markets: A Dysfunctional Foundation for Meeting the Challenge of Global Warming by Stuart Caplan
    PDF logo 10 Things Americans Should Know About Global Warming and Energy by Dave Hamilton
  • The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law's 2008 Symposium: Climate Change and Future Generations, Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at Vermont Law School. Professor Dworkin moderated a panel at the symposium, which was sponsored jointly by the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, Vermont Law Review, and the Climate Legacy Initiative. All of the information is posted on a special website: CCFG Symposium Website.
  • "A Race Against Time: Meeting Future Energy Needs in a Carbon-Constrained World," July 20, 2007. The Second Annual Energy Summer Conference featured Distinguished Visiting Energy Scholar, Joseph Tomain, Dean Emeritus and Wilbert and Helen Ziegler Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Professor Tomain delivered the keynote address, "Law, Language, Energy, and the Environment." He was joined by Vermont State Senator Virginia Lyons, Mary Beth Tighe, Technical and Policy Advisor to FERC Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff, Vermont Public Service Board Chairman James Volz, and Steven G. Whitley, Chief Operating Officer of ISO New England.
  • "High Temps, High Tech: Solutions to the Energy and Environment Equation", October 13, 2006. Fall 2006 Distinguished Visiting Energy Scholar, Amory Lovins (CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute) and panelists: Steve Percy (Former Chairman and CEO of BP America, Inc.), Joe Tomain (Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati Law School), and Michael Dworkin (Director, Institute for Energy and the Environment at VLS) focused on how technology might help solve America's energy tensions in balancing security, economics, and environmental concerns.
  • "EPAct '05: Next Steps for FERC and New England", July 21, 2006. Summer 2006 Distinguished Visiting Energy Scholar, Nora Brownell (Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), delivered a keynote address about mandatory reliability, as set out in the electricity provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. She was joined by panelists Clifton Below (Commissioner, NH Public Utilities Commission), Robert L. Pratt (Sr. Vice President, Kendall Foundation), Dr. Jonathan Raab (President, Raab Associates, Ltd.), James Volz (Chair, Vermont Public Service Board) and Steven G. Whitley (COO, ISO New England) for a day of discussion and small group sessions to discuss this important issue. DVDs available upon request -
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Working Group, June 15 & 16, 2006
  • Vermont Biofuels Association Annual Conference, June 8, 2006
  • Winter 2006 VJEL Energy Symposium