The Franklin County Board of Commissioners announced today a new contract extension with AEP Energy to provide the county with electricity that is 100% renewable. If the commissioners had not renegotiated the county’s contract before it expired in June, rates would have jumped by $242,000 over the next 26 months. The new contract, instead, saves about $121,000 over the same time period and certifies that 100% of the electricity it covers is produced through renewable means. The contract covers the electricity used by 47 county facilities, and runs through May of 2018.
“We believe that we’re the first county in Ohio to go entirely green in an electricity contract,” said Board of Commissioners President, John O’Grady. “I’m proud that we continue to be a leader among local governments both in efficiency and in sustainability.”
In 2011, the commissioners adopted core principles that include promoting good stewardship of natural resources, and environmental responsibility and, since that time, have opened the first LEED Gold certified county courthouse in the state, as well as the 48,000 sq ft LEED Gold certified dog shelter and adoption center, and the LEED Silver Sheriff’s Training Facility. The new electricity contract is estimated to reduce greenhouse emissions equivalent to taking 4,443 cars off the road or removing almost 3,000 homes from the grid.
“Being the first county in Ohio to procure 100% renewable energy, and among a handful nationwide, is a great honor,” Commissioner Paula Brooks said. “Having led the energy portion of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, I am pleased we are acting on the recommendations our task force made to the Administration. Not only are we saving taxpayer dollars with this new contract and supporting good jobs in the clean energy sector, but we are also saving 21,104 tons of CO2 emissions. Reducing CO2 emissions also improves our health and works to prevent pediatric asthma. We hope other counties throughout the nation will join us and move in this direction to support our future generations.”
Under the new contract, the electrons flowing to county buildings won’t change, but AEP Energy will lower the percentage of its power that is produced through “dirty” means such as coal by the amount the county uses (about 25 million kWh over the life of the contract), and increase the percentage produced through renewable methods, wind in this case, by a corresponding amount. Homeowners and businesses may be able to strike a similar deal with their provider, depending on location and other factors.
“I’m so proud of the work that we continue to do to preserve the environment for future generations,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “We’re committed to that effort, and doubly glad that we can do it in this case while also saving money for Franklin County residents.”
In total, the new contract is expected to amount to about $2.8 million over 26 months.
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