Washington County is home to more than a quarter million people and it is anticipated that it will continue to grow 25% in population by 2040. Planning now helps curb energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to assure Washington County does its part and remains a healthy, resilient place to live, work and play.
The county's 2040 Comprehensive Plan has a goal to identify, promote, and expand the use of energy-efficient practices and renewable energy resources. It also contains two energy 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 is the county will lead in its operations to conserve energy, use renewable energy sources, and take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To facilitate reaching this goal and policies, the county Energy Implementation Plan of 2018 was developed. It includes two policies and nine strategies to help the county achieve its goals. It 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% between 2008 and 2016. This occurred due to building energy use going down by 24% and transportation energy use going down by 26%. The changes resulted in $2.4 million in energy savings, along with the 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 July 3, 2018, and July 24, 2018, and adopted August 7, 2018.