Energy Planning for Communities

For me sustainable communities are a process, they’re not a state. It’s a process where community members aspire to a better place and strive to take local actions. My role as an engineer is either an enabler or facilitator to achieve their goal.” — Prof. Max Zhang

Working with the Tompkins County Planning Department and the steering committee, Prof. Zhang and students at the Energy and the Environment Research Laboratory developed the Tompkins County Energy Roadmap.  The purpose of this document is to evaluate local energy resources and develop scenarios to meet our County’s 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goal and projected energy needs through 2050. The study was conducted on behalf of all residents, businesses and institutions in the community and is meant to help inform decisions regarding Tompkins County government operations as well as the actions of others in the community working to create a new green energy future.

Draft resource potential and scenario chapters were reviewed by the steering committee and then offered for public review and comment. The draft Energy Roadmap was presented to 18 different community groups, organizations and the public during the summer and fall of 2015. The final version can be download here.

The Tompkins County Energy Roadmap was unanimously accepted by the County Legislature on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. See the presentation given to the Legislature here. Before the county accepted the roadmap, several legislators expressed their approval of the plan. “I think this shows that we are leaders,” said Legislator Martha Robertson before the legislature’s unanimous vote. “It’s a very unusual document in the country and in the world, so I think we have an enormous amount to be proud of.” A series of news media coverage reported the development and adoption of the Energy Roadmap.

On the Earth Day 2016, The Tompkins County Energy Roadmap was awarded the People’s Choice Sign of Sustainability Award by Sustainable Tompkins.

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