The County's draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan contains a goal to identify, promote, and expand the use of energy efficient practices and renewable energy resources. It also contains two policies: the first states that Washington County will collaborate with public entities, community organizations, businesses within the county, and with other counties to achieve mutual energy goals; the second states that the county will lead in its operations to conserve energy, use renewable energy sources, and take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The county contracted with the Great Plains Institute to develop an implementation plan for this Comprehensive Plan goal, two policies and nine accompanying strategies called the "Washington County 2018 Energy Plan." The implementation of this plan will support county efforts to achieve its goals.
The 2018 County Energy Plan guides the County toward collaboration with its cities in proactively planning its energy future together. The county is home to more than a quarter million people and is anticipated to continue to grow over the next few decades. Planning now can help curb the growth of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2018 County Energy Plan also contains an assessment of county internal energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. It highlights that extensive investments by Xcel Energy and maintenance upgrades by the County resulted in overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 19 percent between 2008 and 2016. This occurred due to building energy use going down by 24 percent and transportation energy use going down by 26 percent. The changes made resulted in $2.4 million in energy savings, along with the accompanying positive health impacts and savings that result from reduced air, water, and soil pollution.
The Energy Plan was reviewed and discussed by the County Board in workshops on July 3, 2018, and July 24, 2018 and adopted on August 7, 2018.
June MathiowetzSenior Planner