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ACC Commissioners to get update on clean energy plan

ACC Government

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners will get an update at their Tuesday work session on the county’s efforts to move away from non-renewable sources of energy. Two years ago, the Commission approved an ambitious pair of goals that, if they come to fruition, would see 100% of the energy for county-owned property coming from clean and renewable sources by 2035, and 100% of the community’s electricity needs coming from renewable sources by that same year. The Commission’s goals also include 100 percent of all the county’s energy needs coming from clean and renewable energy sources by 2050.

Since the Commission gave the concept their approval, county staff have been working to develop a plan that spells out exactly how the county can reach those goals by the deadlines set. Helping the process along is an allocation of $15.8 million from SPLOST 2020 and the creation of a Community Energy Fund to help pay for local clean energy initiatives. Work on a draft plan for the transition to clean and renewable energy plan began over a year ago.

Part of the process has been identifying which sources are clean and renewable, and which ones are not. According to a presentation by county staff, clean and renewable sources include:

  • Solar power
  • Wind power
  • Hydropower
  • Energy storage
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy credits

Many common sources of energy today, like nuclear, biomass, natural gas, and coal are not considered clean and renewable.
County staff hope to have a final plan in front of the Mayor and Commission for a vote in April or May of 2022.

Also on the agenda: Judicial Center, park improvements, redistricting

The move to cleaner energy sources isn’t the only thing Commissioners will be discussing on Tuesday however. Lawmakers will also get a briefing on a potential Judicial Center to house county courts. ACC staff are asking Commissioners to designate a site at E. Broad and Hickory Streets as the “leading candidate site” for the Judicial Center and to approve up to $425,000 for planning and preliminary engineering costs. Next year, it will be up to Commissioners to give the final go-ahead to site selection and to decide on a partnership with the Classic Center to build an 800-space parking deck.

Credit ACC Leisure Services
New wayfinding signage for parts of the North Oconee River Greenway is one subproject funded by SPLOST 2020.

Commissioners will also get an update on a bevy of smaller park improvements that will be funded by SPLOST 2020. Those projects include improvements to the Memorial Park dog park, minor renovations at Bishop Park, conversion of two ball fields at Southeast Clarke Park to be useable for football and soccer, rehabilitation of the Skate Park of Athens, and new wayfinding signage on the North Oconee River Greenway.

Finally, Commissioners will get an in-depth look at the development of potential maps delineating new Commission districts, as the county and the state gear up for redistricting. State lawmakers are expected to return to the Capitol in November to begin the process.

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