County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) has asked her colleagues to start work updating the county’s 2009 energy strategy.
The existing plan, she said, was award-winning but largely ignored.
“It didn’t not go anywhere because there was nothing to do,” Randall said. “The supervisor who put this up and kind of pushed it wasn’t reelected, and it went up on the shelf.”
As the home to the largest data center market in the country and a booming population, Loudoun is an energy-hungry county. The 2009 strategy states that “Loudoun County will always have reliable and affordable energy, be energy efficient, and have reduced greenhouse gases.” It also sets out goals for the county, such as attracting investments through an innovative energy strategy, consistently lower energy costs, and among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
The county also created a Sustainable Energy Advisory Task Force, which issued a final report in November 2012. However, that report was never presented to the Board of Supervisors, and its recommended strategies, which included among other ideas special tax categories for high-efficiency buildings and broad public education efforts, were never implemented.
At the time of the 2009 report, virtually all electricity in Loudoun was produced outside the county. Since then, solar generation has gotten footholds in Loudoun, and the Panda Stonewall power plant south of Leesburg began operation.
Other supervisors were leery of Randall’s proposal, which also suggests the creation of an Environmental Stakeholders Committee, to include representation from groups ranging from energy utilities, to education, to economic development to the Sierra Club and other conservation organizations. Nonetheless Randall stressed “it is energy, not environmental.”
“Let’s try to narrow this a little bit, figure out what our outcome is what we’re hoping to do,” Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said.
“I was trying to figure out, what are we trying to achieve, what are our goals here,” said board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn). “And that doesn’t come out, that’s not clear at all.”
Supervisors voted unanimously to send the proposal to the board’s finance committee for review.
“Sometimes you need someone to pick something up and push it again,” Randall said.