Summit County takes lead in reducing carbon footprint
Summit County’s elected officials agreed in 2017 to help the community completely transition to renewable electric energy by the year 2032, and the county has taken the lead in the effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
County Council members have often addressed how sustainable environmental practices can help counter the impacts of climate change on the area.
“Climate change is obviously something that hits us directly,” said County Council Chair Roger Armstrong last week. “We rely on water from the snowpack to keep us alive. If we don’t have a normal snowpack over the next three years, we are in significant danger of running out of water and climate change is contributing to that problem.”
Armstrong’s comments were made at the recent unveiling of new solar panels on the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction. The 346 panels are expected to generate enough power for an estimated 40 percent of the building’s electrical needs.
“Climate change is something that we need to fight for aggressively,” Armstrong said. “The county has set aggressive goals to reduce our contributions to carbon in the atmosphere by 2040 and this is what it will take. Very few counties in the country have established that aggressive of a renewable energy and efficiency goal.”
More than 20 people attended the event last week, including representatives from Rocky Mountain Power. Rocky Mountain Power provided a $100,000 grant through its Blue Sky program to fund 45 percent of the $220,000 project. Summit County announced it will be a Blue Sky member for eight years. The Blue Sky program helps fund community-based renewable energy projects.
County officials and staffers have been exploring opportunities where solar panels can be placed on other county facilities, as well as ways to help community members make their properties more energy efficient.
Tom Fisher, Summit County manager, said the county has been dedicated to ensuring that the county’s buildings and services are environmentally efficient. He emphasized that the county adopted high-performance building standards two years ago and continuing to move forward with building energy efficient buildings.
“We are talking about solar panels and how we have done that on several of our facilities and will continue to do that in the future,” he said.
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.