News

Energy entrepreneur returns to Bristol roots

DAVID BLITTERSDORF Photo by Shem Roose

BRISTOL — He’s been away for nearly 40 years, but the “Albert Einstein of job creation” is about to return to Bristol.
Renewable energy entrepreneur and crusader David Blittersdorf will bring his company AllEarth Renewables to the Stoney Hill business park upon completion of its first building, sometime next summer. (See story on Page 1A.)
“For me, Bristol is where I started my career in renewables, and it’s why we’re back,” Blittersdorf told the Independent.
Blittersdorf moved to Bristol after graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1981. At the time, he was working for a wind-turbine company in Middletown Springs, and his partner was still studying at UVM. They found Bristol to be a happy midway point and rented the house at 44 North St.
There, in a spare bedroom and the woodshed out back, Blittersdorf founded NRG Systems, which manufactures solar- and wind-measurement instruments.
Over the next few years NRG outgrew the confines of their house — and the barn they rented on Main Street to store wind-turbine towers. After passing through Charlotte and Monkton the company settled into its current headquarters on Route 116 in Hinesburg.
It was former Gov. Peter Shumlin, a friend of Blittersdorf, who gave him the Einstein moniker.
“This is a Vermonter that created two extraordinary enterprises in Vermont,” Shumlin told Joyce Marcell of Vermont Business Magazine in 2014. “And he is also creating a more livable planet and addressing the greatest challenge people face, which is climate change. I have nothing but admiration for him and the green renewable jobs he’s created. I hope there are more like him in the future.”
In 2005, a few of years before selling his share of NRG, Blittersdorf founded AllEarth Turbines with a focus on wind, which evolved in 2008 into AllEarth Renewables, with a focus on solar.
Currently located in Williston, AllEarth assembles solar trackers and other renewable energy components.
COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the business, which had to reduce its workforce from 40 to 19.
“The pandemic killed 40% of our business,” Blittersdorf said.
Now, with that core of 19 employees, AllEarth is rebuilding — and looking forward to moving to Bristol.
“We’re redesigning our business and planning eventually for 40 or 50 employees,” Blittersdorf said. “And as an anchor tenant in this (Stoney Hill) building, we will be hiring some local people and using local infrastructure.”
Blittersdorf brings with him decades of experience in the renewables industry, having launched or helped launch several large-scale wind and solar farms in Vermont, as well as industry-related finance and engineering firms, and he sat on the board of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) as it launched a new home-solar financing program that would eventually spin off into the for-profit SunCommon.
In addition, he’s helped fund science education in Vermont, including the endowment of a professorship at UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and contributions to Vermont Technical College in support of its degree program in renewable energy.
And while Bristol hasn’t been a home base for Blittersdorf for a few decades, he still has strong ties there.
He and his Stoney Hill Properties partner, Kevin Harper, are also partners in the Bristol Works commercial complex on Munsill Avenue, and a few years ago the two teamed up to build the Bristol Firehouse.
Blittersdorf is also a managing member of Aeolus Labs, a wind-tunnel calibration laboratory located in Bristol Works that specializes in the calibration of anemometers for the renewable energy industry.
AllEarth’s new building at Stoney Hill will be designed the same way NRG’s headquarters was, Blittersdorf said — efficient, solar-powered, a net exporter of energy.
He remembers when NRG Systems decided to relocate permanently to Hinesburg in 1988-89.
“They laid out the red carpet for us,” he said. “They said, ‘We want them — this is the kind of business we want.’ I want the same thing for Bristol, to be that sort of town.”
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

Share this story:

More News
News

Sen. Leahy reflects on his life in politics

Patrick Leahy was the third-longest-serving U.S. senator, cast more than 17,000 votes, and … (read more)

Homepage Featured News

Midd Film Fest founder pares back his job

A decade after launching the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival in partnership with renown … (read more)

News

Ferrisburgh gets $500K to help boost safety

Ferrisburgh has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant through the Vermont Agency of Transp … (read more)

Share this story: