Residents weigh in on priorities for County-City renewable energy goals

Press release from the City of Asheville:

City of Asheville and Buncombe County Staff are working with a consultant to develop a roadmap to implement 100% renewable energy goals referenced in City Resolution 18-279 and Buncombe County Resolution 17-12-06.

The City resolution calls for Asheville to “transition municipal operations from fossil-fueled energy to 100% renewable energy by Dec. 31, 2030.”  The County’s resolution calls for it to “implement the best fiscally and environmentally responsible energy solution to reach the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030 for County government and 100 percent renewable for Buncombe County within 25 years.”

With Buncombe County as lead, the City’s Office of Sustainability part of a project team, led by The Cadmus Group, is working to collect data and public input to determine the most fiscally responsible path to achieve this goal based on the values of our community.

Checking in with the community

The first task has been to work with experts and the community to identify options to achieve these 100% renewable energy goals.

From January through March, the consultant has been collecting data and leading visioning workshops with stakeholder groups. As part of that outreach, the City and County launched an online survey available to everyone. The survey was open for a month. Paper copies of the survey were available at local library branches and Asheville Housing Authority centers.

Some 934 respondents participated. Here are a few survey highlights:

  • 45% of respondents recommend that the City and County re-invest any energy savings in future renewable energy projects. However, 40% of respondents said that any savings should be re-invested in a combination of renewable energy projects and community programming.
  •  Respondents ranked the following priorities (1 being the highest)
  1. Increased access for local residents to install renewable energy on homes and businesses
  2. Achieve 100% renewable energy goal on time
  3. Minimize environmental impacts
  4. Decrease energy bills for government operations and local residents
  5. Other: Reduce debt, lower bills for citizens on fixed incomes, reduce property taxes, economic development, education, transit
  • 76% of respondents do not consider nuclear power clean energy.

Next steps

In April and May, the County and City will work with the consultant on an energy and regulatory analysis to narrow down options toward achieving the 100% renewable energy goal.

In May, a draft plan will be presented to the community.

In June, the County and City will finalize the renewable energy roadmap. It will then go before Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners for their consideration.

Want more information? Keep up with the progress of this project at this link.

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