The Franklin County Commissioners and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) today announced the findings of a new Franklin County Energy Study which was commissioned by the county and conducted by MORPC. The study explores how energy is produced and used in Franklin County, and the impact it has on local communities and residents.
The study also establishes an energy baseline by examining how much and how intensively energy is produced, imported, consumed, and lost annually in Franklin County, and will serve as a starting point to align regional energy initiatives, set priorities, and measure success.
“Energy use is essential to the economy, transportation, and our quality of life,” said Board of Commissioners President, Kevin L. Boyce. “Understanding how we’re producing and using it, and how we can do so more efficiently, is going to help us to plan for our community’s future growth.”
The study found that Franklin County is doing well in many areas:
- Energy is put to productive use in Franklin County; the amount of income generated per unit of energy consumed is on par or better than the national average.
- Emissions associated with energy consumption are decreasing even as population increases.
- Local utilities are active in pursuing customer-focused programs around energy efficiency, and many local initiatives are already in place to address energy consumption.
“As we continue to grow, our community’s growing energy needs will require greener energy solutions,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “These solutions will benefit our residents as we work to improve energy efficiency, attract and develop new green energy industries, and help to build the workforce to fill those new jobs here in Franklin County.”
The study also found opportunities for improvement:
- There are neighborhoods in Franklin County that are paying a higher-than-acceptable percentage of their household income to heat and power their homes.
- Most of the money spent on energy in Franklin County flows out of the county because almost none of the energy we use is produced here.
“The Franklin County Energy Study provides a baseline against which we can measure our progress in the coming years,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “Central Ohio is going to continue to grow, and the insights and recommendations in this study will help us to align regional energy goals, see how we’re doing over time.”
The study was developed through a stakeholder engagement process including utility, government, non-profit, and business partners. In addition to the findings, the stakeholders made recommendations to maximize energy savings, reduce the amount of energy loss, and keep more energy dollars in the local economy, including:
- Reducing energy consumption in homes and businesses.
- Promoting public transportation and reducing single-occupancy commutes.
- Increasing the adoption of electric vehicles.
- Increasing local renewable energy generation.
In recent years, the Board of Commissioners has undertaken a number of environmentally conscious initiatives, and reaffirmed its members’ commitment to sustainability by resolution in 2017. In the past year, the commissioners have also contracted to use exclusively renewable energy for downtown county buildings, won an award for their efforts to promote solar energy enterprises, funded the Green Corps and Energy Works programs, and have been modernizing the county’s fleet with 19 electric or alternative fuel vehicles and 26 charging stations around the county.
“Central Ohio is quickly growing, with the majority of that growth occurring in Franklin County,” MORPC Energy & Air Quality Director Christina O’Keeffe said. “As the county grows and changes, the findings in this study will help communities evaluate their needs and opportunities, as well as make informed decisions as they plan for the future.”
The Franklin County Energy Study is available for download here, and the recommendations are available here. The commissioners’ 2018 State of the County Report is available here.