MONTPELIER, VT – Danny Kennedy, an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues, will keynote Ideas to Action: the Summit on Vermont’s Climate Economy on February 22 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. Kennedy is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy – and the Planet – From Dirty Energy (2012) and is now Managing Director of CalCEF, a team of leading financial professionals, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and scientists with deep experience and expertise in the clean energy field. He also serves as President of CalCharge, a groundbreaking public-private partnership working to accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of new energy storage technologies.

The Summit, presented by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), will develop strategies for implementing the new Action Plan put forward by the Vermont Climate Economy Council. The goal is to grow Vermont jobs linked to adaptation, mitigation, and reversing the effects of climate change and make Vermont a national leader in this sector.

“We are very excited by the prospect of having Danny Kennedy of the California Clean Energy Fund with us,” says VCRD director Paul Costello. “He’s a national leader at the cutting edge of technology, business development, and financing climate economy solutions.”

Kennedy worked as a cofounder of Sungevity, Inc., the largest privately held solar company in the US and also co-founded SfunCube, the only incubator and accelerator solely focused on supporting solar entrepreneurs to succeed. In 2011, he earned the PBS Innovator of the Year award for “moving the planet forward.”

The Summit includes panelists from across Vermont. Morning sections feature business leaders, youth, utilities, legislators, the Governor’s Climate Cabinet, investors, and other stakeholders who will review elements of the Climate Economy Action Plan. Afternoon sessions will be on issues ranging from developing climate economy communities and advancing transportation shifts to marketing Vermont to entrepreneurs. To register and see the most up-to-date agenda, list of speakers, and topics visit or check #vtclimateeconomy on social media.


The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit organization charged by the federal farm bill to act as a neutral convener at both the local and policy level supporting the progress of Vermont communities. VCRD will provide support to the work of the VT Climate Economy Council, and then help promote the platform of action that comes from its deliberations.

Past VCRD policy efforts have supported progress in issues ranging from wood products to downtown revitalization, rural energy development, the digital economy, and Vermont’s working landscape. VCRD produced the most extensive evaluation of Vermont values and priorities in a generation when it led the Council on the Future of Vermont in 2009.

VCRD hosted the first Summit on Vermont’s Climate Economy in 2015 and founded the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council.