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David Coulter hiring chief sustainability officer to lead county’s green energy agenda  

According to county documents, the officer will also work to foster a culture of sustainability through county communications and education and make around $130,000 per year in base salary, not including benefits. Current and future year position funding will be offset by the deletion of the deputy director of economic development position.

Credit:  By Mark Cavitt | The Oakland Press | www.theoaklandpress.com ~~

Oakland County is seeking someone to lead in the development of its green agenda aimed at reducing the county’s carbon footprint and making it a more environmentally-friendly place.

When David Coulter, county executive, first came into office in 2019, some of his goals included working towards creating an environmentally sustainable county campus and establishing environmental sustainability goals across the county. He and his administration have set a goal of developing a plan that will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through bold strategies and regional cooperation.

In an effort to enhance the county’s green agenda, Coulter is seeking to create a chief sustainability officer position who will serve as a strategic advisor, leading all programs, initiatives, and efforts related to environmental sustainability and renewable energy.

“The Oakland County Executive Office is recommending to the Board of Commissioners the position of chief sustainability officer who will serve as a strategic advisor to the County Executive on environmental sustainability initiatives, develop the county’s sustainability initiatives, and lead the countywide Climate Action Plan,” said Bill Mullan, spokesperson for the county’s executive’s office.”

Responsibilities would include assisting in the development of the county’s near-term and long-term sustainability agenda, tracking progress, engaging external partners, working with departments to execute sustainability initiatives, and reviewing plans and creating recommendations, ordinances, policies and programs revolving around environmental sustainability.

According to county documents, the officer will also work to foster a culture of sustainability through county communications and education and make around $130,000 per year in base salary, not including benefits. Current and future year position funding will be offset by the deletion of the deputy director of economic development position.

Dan Hunter, the county’s longtime deputy director of economic development, is retiring after 36 years with the county. The county is planning to transform that position into the chief sustainability officer role upon his retirement, according to Mullan.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Center, renewable resources provided more than 8 percent of Michigan’s electricity net generation in 2019, with 60 percent of that provided by wind. The center reported that Michigan ranked 15th that year among all states in wind-powered electricity generation.

Over the past four years, the county has been taking other steps towards meeting these renewable energy and environmental sustainability goals.

In December 2019, the board of commissioners announced that the county would be seeking to create an energy and environment infrastructure plan in collaboration with residents, the business community, and other stakeholders. The plan will be focused on educating residents, increasing renewable energy options throughout the county, and reducing the county’s overall impact on emerging climate changes.

In 2016, the board also approved the creation of the Oakland County Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program to give commercial and industrial property owners access to long-term, flexible financing for energy efficient upgrade. It also helps give property owners access to upfront capital for those green projects.

Months before the county created its PACE program, the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act was signed into law by then Gov. Rick Snyder. It amended a 2008 energy law requiring Michigan electric providers to produce at least 15 percent of their power from wind or other renewable sources by the end of 2021, up from 10 percent from the 2008 law.

There are no provisions in those laws that require local governments to create goals involving renewable energy, leaving it up to the counties, cities, townships and villages to create their own “green” policies and programs.

Source:  By Mark Cavitt | The Oakland Press | www.theoaklandpress.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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