Energy issues top the national, state and local agenda due to rising demand and cost; availability of new, cleaner energy sources; significant changes in the traditional mix of coal and natural-gas supplied electricity; the need to create and maintain new jobs; and a growing pubic desire for safer and more efficient energy. Regional planning organizations are perfectly situated to have the greatest impact on managing these cross-cutting issues, where local jurisdictions’ boundaries intersect and many Federal, State and local programs are conducted.
Today’s energy challenges require creative solutions that draw on the concentrated talents and productivity of our nation’s regional planning organizations and local governments. Regional planning organizations provide a new lens through which to discuss these important issues. State policy is often too sweeping and disaggregated, and local policy too specific to a jurisdiction for effective energy analysis to be conducted. The regional scale is the perfect fit to tie jobs to employers, create new educational opportunities, promote scientific advances and secure energy availability.
Energy usage, resiliency, development and sustainability are key components of regional economic competitiveness. A strong regional energy portfolio can propel regional economic productivity while a thoughtful approach to energy investment, combined with a strong workforce training program, can help create new sectors within a regional economy. Elected Officials and Regional Councils also consider potential environmental impacts, mitigation strategies, and security measures when developing energy plans. NARC continues to work on these and other components of energy development and planning in regions with our member Councils, federal agencies, foundations, and partners to boost our collective regional capacity. Below is a brief synopsis of NARC’s energy resources and how you can tap into these opportunities. I encourage NARC members to engage in NARC’s energy efforts to promote regional solutions and successes.”
– Gary Moore, Immediate Past President, NARC; Judge, Boone County, KY
Regional Energy Action Plan: Research and Implementation Project
NARC developed a Regional Energy Action Plan that guides the mapping and analysis of energy assurance and economic investment in a region through partnership and coalition building; data analysis and assessments of a region’s current and emerging energy; and economic capacities. Several regions are in the beginning stages of adopting NARC’s Regional Energy Action Plan. Click HERE to access the Regional Energy Action Plan for the Columbus Region. Click HERE to access the Regional Energy Action Plan map. Click HERE to access the executive summary.
The SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership
NARC, as a part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs), is working to increase the use and integration of solar energy technologies in regions and communities across the country. Solar OPs supports local governments and regional organizations committed to making solar a mainstream energy source. Through this partnership, NARC and other partners are providing outreach, technical analysis, and assistance to expand local and regional governments’ innovative efforts to accelerate local adoption of solar energy in their facilities and community-wide. To learn more about this project, visit NARC’s SolarOPs page.
Rooftop Solar Challenge: Solar Ready II
NARC is partnering with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the Meister Consultants Group, Inc. (MCG), and the Council of State Governments (CSG) on the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge grant. NARC is assisting nine regional planning councils in their efforts to implement solar best management practices (BMPs), training materials and methods, and other proven implementation strategies previously established by MARC’s 2012 Solar Ready KC Initiative. Ultimately, the Rooftop Solar Challenge will result in more streamlined and standardized solar practices, and will achieve measurable improvements in solar market conditions and access for ten million people across the US. To learn more about this project, visit NARC’s Solar Ready page.
Sustainable Energy Roadmap
The Sustainable Energy Roadmap (SER) brings together municipal governments, regional planning agencies, community stakeholders, and technical experts to support California’s San Joaquin Valley communities as they pursue smart growth, transportation, land use, climate, and energy goals. To learn more about this project, visit the Sustainable Energy Roadmap website.
A recently published SER white paper looks at how some San Joaquin Valley municipalities and other local governments within and outside of California are already addressing large-scale solar development. It is written to assist policymakers and provide more information about what impacts are important to evaluate with large-scale solar projects and provide options that will help municipal government planners implement large-scale solar projects while concurrently protecting and conserving valuable farm land.
Gas Shale Survey – Baseline Project
NARC and the University of Colorado at Denver are working together to survey regions and local governments in ten states on the development of gas shale in their areas. This survey weaves together a multitude of factors including water, transportation, economic development and other areas to determine a baseline of issues facing all regions and local governments and the best ways to address obstacles and opportunities. Click HERE to access the report and other information.
Connecting Energy and Workforce
Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, NARC successfully completed a Pathways out of Poverty project that combined workforce investment with new certifications and training curricula to help disadvantaged and dislocated workers find opportunity in green job developing, including energy fields. The NARC team had over 875 individuals earn over 2,100 certifications, surpassing target outcomes by as much as 300 percent. At the end project, over 524 individuals had found employment with many more poised to find jobs in the future. Click HERE to learn more.
How Can Your Region Get Involved?
Share your region’s energy-related work, activities you would like to explore, or needed training and technical assistance.
Cameron Herbolsheimer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.618.5690