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Duke Energy Recognizes Buncombe County's Innovation, Awards Asheville Greenworks $100K

On Jan. 11, Duke Energy presented Buncombe County with its Power Partner award. The County is one of six recipients selected from more than 4,000 applicants. The honor goes to communities utilizing innovation and sustainability. Those efforts are spearheaded by the Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF), a public-private partnership between Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, Duke Energy, and other community stakeholders.

Duke Energy’s President of North Carolina Stephen De May highlighted the work of the EITF as being central to garnering the Power Partner Award. “This community is not afraid to innovate. A lot of great things have come out of the collaboration,” he said.

Buncombe County Sustainability Officer Jeremiah LeRoy says the honor shows EITF is making headway and gaining attention. “Our collaboration has resulted in the creation of the Blue Horizons Project, a multifaceted and community-oriented approach to transitioning Buncombe County toward a cleaner energy future,” explains LeRoy. “In the short time we have had to work on our goals, EITF efforts have managed to delay the construction of a new power plant by more than five years, and we hope to eliminate the need for the plant altogether.”

Along with the award came a $100,000 grant from Duke Energy for Asheville Greenworks. “Asheville Greenworks is one of the most impactful environmental organizations in the state,” noted De May. “This specific grant is for the urban forestry initiative. We all love and adore the tree canopy of the city.” Buncombe County also partners with Asheville Greenworks by providing $50,000 through the Strategic Partnership Grants.

Buncombe County congratulates the EITF and all of its members on this award. Thank you for working to make our community a place where sustainable energy translates to a cleaner environment, lower utility bills, and increased energy independence.

For more information about the resources available from the Blue Horizons Project visit or call (828) 254-1995.