Buncombe County was honored at the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners 2020 Virtual Annual Conference with an Excellence in Innovation Award. The award, sponsored by the Local Government Federal Credit Union, recognizes counties for finding new and improved ways to serve their communities. This year, the Buncombe County Sustainability Office earned the award for its role in the Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF) in the category of “intergovernmental collaboration.”
“We’re grateful not only for this recognition, but also for the collaboration that went into this project over the years,” said Director of Sustainability Jeremiah LeRoy. “This task force represents what can happen when multiple organizations come together for the benefit of the community. When that happens, everyone wins.”
The EITF is a groundbreaking, public-private partnership comprised of Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, Duke Energy, local businesses, and community organizations. The task force was created in direct response to Duke Energy’s plans to build a new gas-powered peaking plant in the County. The EITF set a goal to delay or avoid the need for that new fossil-fuel infrastructure. The EITF partners engaged in a multi-year campaign to determine the demand reduction needed and to enhance and create programs to address energy efficiency and demand-side management. Following the success of these programs, the need for the peaking plant was avoided resulting in a huge win for Buncombe County’s community members.
Each year the Excellence in Innovation awards are given to programs developed by County governments to help improve the lives of their residents. Since 2013, Buncombe County has earned four Excellence in Innovation awards.
In April of 2019, the Energy Innovation Task Force with its partners announced that through community collaboration, the gas-fired peaker plant, originally planned for 2023, has been pushed out beyond 2032.
More about LGFCU and NCACC
The Local Government Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full service financial cooperative dedicated to the "people helping people" philosophy adopted by credit unions worldwide. Their focus is on service to local government employees and volunteers.
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education, and leadership training.