Asheville’s Blue Horizons Project earned the City an Honorable Mention in the Mayors Climate Protection Awards announced at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Honolulu today.
Mayor Esther Manheimer is a participant in this climate consortium made up of mayors across the nation.
The Blue Horizons Project works to reduce the region’s peak electricity demand through energy efficiency and by transitioning the region to a cleaner, affordable and smart energy future. This partnership initiative is supported by the City of Asheville, Buncombe County and Duke Energy Progress and is rooted in community engagement and collaboration. The Blue Horizon’s Project works with both residential and commercial entities to take advantage of utility, community, county and city sponsored incentive programs to reduce energy consumption and promote investment in renewable energy.
After Duke Energy announced the closure of the area’s coal-fired power plant, it applied to the state utilities commission to replace the facility with three natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plants. Two plants would replace the existing generation capacity; the third was for anticipated peak load growth. In response to this proposal, the community came together to establish the Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF) to find ways to reduce peak demand and delay the construction of a new 190 MW plant. The EITF is chaired by the city, county and Duke Energy and includes representation from a variety of commercial entities, a local university, renewable energy sector, low-income weatherization organizations and a workforce development agency.
Find the national Mayor’s Climate Protection Awards announcement at this link.