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Sustainability Office News

Buncombe Sustainability Effort Garners Regional Award


An initiative aimed at lowering utility bills, Buncombe County’s carbon footprint, and ultimately staving off the need for Duke Energy to construct a peaking power plant is being honored for its work. Duke Energy named the Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF) one of six Power Partner Award winners from a group of more than 4,000 nominees. The EITF is a public-private partnership comprised of members of Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, Duke Energy, and other community stakeholders. Duke Energy states the awards are for, “Leaders in innovative solutions, sustainability innovation, community excellence, economic development, and storm restoration.”

Jeremiah LeRoy, the County’s Sustainability Officer, 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.”

The Blue Horizons Project has multiple ways for County residents and businesses to audit their energy efficiency, save on utility bills, and other programs aimed at cost savings and energy reduction. “The EITF has leveraged additional resources, such as a $300,000 grant for energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades for low-income citizens in Buncombe County who are disproportionately burdened by high energy costs,” explains LeRoy.

Duke Energy Vice President of Large Business Customers Chris Edge states of the Power Partner Award: “The innovation and achievements of our large business customers seem to grow exponentially every year. This year is no exception, as this distinguished group of award winners highlights incredible success stories that mutually benefit Duke Energy, our communities, and the respective winning organizations.”

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 BlueHorizonsProject.com or call (828) 254-1995.