Led by a passionate plea from Leon County Commissioner John Dailey, the Board of County Commissioners accepted the annual status update on the County’s plan for sustainability at their last meeting of the year and directed staff to work with Sustainable Tallahassee and the Sierra Club on a community-wide climate action plan.
The Board chose not to move forward on a citizens request to commit to powering county operations with 100% renewable energy by 2035.
Commissioner Dailey, after a presentation by County staff and after listening to several speakers, said on conservation, “we are not doing enough, we need to be bolder.”
He then provided examples of how he wanted the county to be more aggressive.
On solar power Dailey said, “there is no reason why every square inch of every county facility shouldn’t have solar on top. If its just money issues, that is priorities and we should set down and figure out how to do it.”
On electric vehicles, Dailey said “there is no reason why we shouldn’t have electric vehicle charging stations at every county facility.”
And Dailey challenged the academic community to think out side the box and to partner with local government in testing innovative energy projects.
Before Dailey spoke, the County staff addressed the idea of powering county operations with 100% renewable energy. The idea comes from the the United States Conference of Mayors which supports cities establishing a community-wide target of powering their communities with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035.
The County staff reported that a preliminary analysis indicated that there are certain aspects of the goal that pose considerable challenges for Leon County, and in addition, the costs would reach over $50 million at current prices. Furthermore, the staff reported that the investment would result in a negative return.
The staff concluded that while “100% renewables by 2035” is a highly aspirational target, Leon County Government has very little direct control in achieving the target since the County does not run a utility.
Given these limitations, the Board decided to move forward with plans and goals and not to accept the fixed targets with a defined end date.