News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: April 23, 2019

Summit County Adopts Summit Community Climate Action Plan

Solar panels in Frisco

County sets goals and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Contact: Kate Berg, Senior Planner, 970-668-4204

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday, April 23, adopting the Summit Community Climate Action Plan (CAP), which sets goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Summit County 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, relative to a 2005 baseline. The plan also outlines recommended strategies to be pursued over the coming years to achieve those emissions reductions.

"A stable climate is essential to Summit County's natural resources, economy and quality of life," Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. "The Summit Community Climate Action Plan is a thoughtfully crafted roadmap that will help ensure we're doing our part to facilitate the transition to clean, renewable energy."

In May 2017, Summit County signed onto the Compact of Colorado Communities, along with the Town of Breckenridge, Town of Frisco, Eagle County and Pitkin County. By signing onto the compact, communities commit to establish a climate action plan or measurable emissions reduction goal within 24 months, announce the plan or goal publicly and provide updates on plan implementation.

In February 2018, Summit County joined the Town of Breckenridge in adopting a resolution committing to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035, and the County began participating in a community-wide effort to develop and implement a climate action plan through the Summit Climate Action Collaborative. High Country Conservation Center (HC3) is facilitating the collaborative, with participation from Summit County, local towns, ski areas, utilities, Summit School District, Colorado Mountain College and other key stakeholders.

The Summit Collaborative hired Lotus Engineering and Sustainability to support the development of the CAP and complete an initial community-wide GHG emissions inventory for Summit County. Like many communities, emissions in Summit County are largely generated through energy use in buildings and transportation – 65 percent and 33 percent, respectively, in Summit County.

Over a six-month timeframe, the collaborative developed recommended approaches for reducing locally generated GHG emissions, which were then modeled for their emissions-reduction potential. The collaborative solicited input from energy experts and the larger community. The CAP outlines strategies to reduce energy use in buildings, increase the supply of clean renewable energy and reduce emissions from the transportation and waste sectors. 

Through the collaborative, the County and towns intend to work with Xcel Energy, Mountain Parks Electric and other community partners to jointly develop and implement plans, programs and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout Summit County. The collaborative approach is intended to maximize efficiency and coordination, minimize duplication of efforts and create a shared community roadmap for implementation that fosters a holistic evaluation of key opportunities across jurisdictions. 

Key implementation priorities include: 

  • Develop a shared work plan to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity countywide by 2035
  • Transition to electrification of the transportation sector, reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles and increase use of public transit, walking and bicycling
  • Amend local building and land use codes to increase energy efficiency, renewable energy installations, EV charging infrastructure, transportation connectivity and multimodal access, recycling and food scrap collection and water conservation in new developments
  • Streamline the solar permitting process and implement Solarize Summit County, a bulk-buy solar photovoltaic program for local property owners in Summit County

The Summit Community Climate Action Plan is currently being reviewed and adopted by Summit Climate Action Collaborative member organizations, and all participating organizations are dedicating staff time to participate in development and implementation of the policies, programs and initiatives identified in the plan. The CAP can be viewed on HC3’s website at www.highcountryconservation.org/climate-action-plan

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