The Blue Horizons Project (BHP) proudly announces the release of the Strategic Plan for Transitioning Buncombe County to 100% Renewable Energy by 2042 to address the urgent need for a rapid energy transition away from fossil fuels to address the climate crisis. This comprehensive plan defines the community’s current energy use and details how Buncombe County can achieve its ambitious clean energy goal to increase cost savings, cleaner air and water, workforce development, climate resiliency and more.
“Today marks a significant milestone for our community as we unveil a forward thinking plan that showcases our shared commitment to a sustainable and equitable future,” said Brownie Newman, Buncombe County Council Chairman. By embracing local, clean energy sources, going electric and saving energy, we’re taking essential steps toward combating the climate crisis while ensuring a just transition for all residents.”
The strategic plan was developed by the Blue Horizons Project Community Council and Green Built Alliance with invaluable input and strong support from the local community, external organizations, clean energy experts, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) focus groups and Buncombe County and City of Asheville leadership. Key findings from the plan show Buncombe County’s current energy use is dominated by transportation fuels (around half), with electricity and natural gas representing about one fourth of energy demand each. While much more local renewable energy production is needed for the transition, electrification and efficiency improvements can reduce this requirement by about 50%.
With a strong emphasis on local policies and advocacy for state and federal policy changes, the plan identifies three main technical pathways to be implemented through a series of initiatives, policy changes, and community engagement, including:
- Energy efficiency – Using less while living more comfortably
- Electrification – Swap fossil fuels for electricity
- Greening the grid – Add renewable energy, make the grid smarter
The remainder of the goal can be met by a combination of Duke’s green energy efforts and local renewable energy production.
This plan is not the ending, but the beginning of something beautiful for the whole community, said J Hackett, Equity Task Force founder. “With an eye towards inclusive development, our community is fortunate to have so many clean energy experts collaborating with local people who are experts on the lived experience. Together nothing is impossible. 100% renewable energy is a reality for us all.
The BHPCC is committed to holding itself accountable and working with the community to ensure successful execution of the strategic plan in a just and equitable way. To allow for continuous improvement and fine-tuning, regular evaluations and reviews will take place every 2 years to assess progress and address challenges as they arise.
The plan is available to the public and Buncombe County residents are encouraged to actively participate and contribute to its successful implementation. Learn more about how to get involved and view the strategic plan at bluehorizonsproject.com/renewableplan.
Special thanks to the Kendeda Fund for financial support to write the plan. To implement the plan we will be reaching out to private donors for support as well as writing grants to help fund specific initiatives.
About the Blue Horizons Project: The Blue Horizons Project, a program of the nonprofit Green Built Alliance, was developed to enlist public support and provide easy access to resources that allow everyone to be a part of creating a clean energy future. Members include representatives from local government, businesses and institutions along with environmental and clean energy advocates. The project aims to address the current climate crisis by leading Buncombe County in achieving its community-wide renewable energy goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy in a just and equitable way by 2042 through community engagement and collaboration with Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, and Duke Energy.
Clean Energy Program Manager, Green Built Alliance