By Justin Heinze, Patch Staff
May 20, 2019 3:05 pm ET
NORRISTOWN, PA — Montgomery County will switch to wind power for 100 percent of its electrical needs, officials announced on Monday.
The transition is part of a wind energy purchase approved through a 2-1 vote by the Montgomery County Commissioners.
"By switching to wind-generated electricity now and adopting this commitment to sustainable operations, Montgomery County is raising the bar in terms of responding to climate change," Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh said in a statement. "We've already seen the worldwide impacts of climate change, and now scientists are reporting that up to a million species are facing extinction. We must take action now."
Commissioners also voted to transition to 100 percent renewables for other needs, such as heating in county-owned buildings, and powering county-owned vehicles, by 2050.
Arkoosh and fellow Democratic Commissioner Ken Lawrence Jr. voted in favor of the measures, while Republican Commissioner Joe Gale provided the lone dissenting vote. Gale said he had financial concerns.
"Montgomery County should not be spending extra taxpayer money just so the majority Commissioners can call themselves 'green' by claiming our energy comes from windmills in Texas," Gale said in response.
But Arkoosh and Lawrence said the wind-generated power will save the county a significant amount. The cost will be $24,000 per year, but wind power will save the county $700,000 over the next three years, they said.
The measures are part of a broader "Commitment to Sustainable Operations" resolution that also orders a comprehensive review of county operations to find more ways to improve sustainability.