Montgomery County has released the second-quarter update of its Fiscal Year 2023 Climate Work Plan, highlighting ongoing work on the County’s Climate Action Plan. In the second quarter of FY23, progress was made on more than 50 actions to help reach the goals of the plan.
The Climate Action Plan (CAP), unveiled in 2021, is a strategic plan to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2027 and by 100 percent by 2035. The plan seeks to reduce climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses and the built and natural environments.
The quarterly progress report summarizes the efforts undertaken by County departments and agencies to implement the CAP through innovative and collaborative projects in clean energy, building, transportation, carbon sequestration, climate adaptation, climate governance, public engagement and zero waste.
“In 2021, we launched one of the most aggressive Climate Action Plans in the nation with the goal of eliminating 100 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2035,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Some of our actions are nationally recognized – like our Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot – the largest solar bus charging infrastructure project in the country. And just last week President Biden gave a shoutout to Montgomery County, highlighting our work to purchase new hydrogen fuel cell buses and build a new hydrogen fueling station. I am proud of our work and the commitment to climate action by the County Government and all the people we serve.”
Adriana Hochberg, the County’s climate change officer and acting director of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said the County is moving swiftly to address recommendations made in the CAP.
“To achieve the County’s climate goals, we need to continue to accelerate our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings, transportation and energy sectors, and to take steps to become more climate resilient,” said Ms. Hochberg. “The actions in the Q2 report reflect a Countywide effort to address climate change head-on. This quarterly report demonstrates the County’s commitment to transparency and accountability to our community, the County and the planet.”
The quarterly progress report summarizes the efforts undertaken by County departments and agencies for the period of Oct. 1-Dec. 30 (Quarter 2 of FY23) to implement the CAP. Quarterly progress reporting on the status of CAP implementation fosters public transparency and accountability.
Highlights of Quarter 2 progress include:
- Clean Energy: Phase I of the Brookville Smart Energy Depot was completed in October. This bus depot includes a 6.5 MW microgrid to charge the County’s growing Ride On electric bus fleet and is the largest solar bus charging infrastructure project in the U.S.
- Clean Energy: The Montgomery County Green Bank closed on loan to fund a 2.1 megawatt (MW) solar project at the 684-unit Seneca Village apartments in an Equity Emphasis Area in Gaithersburg.
- Buildings: The Building Performance Improvement Board began meeting bi-weekly to develop their recommendations on BEPS Method 2 regulations, due to be issued in late 2023.
- Transportation: The Department of Environmental Protection organized an inter-departmental “Charge Montgomery” Electric Vehicle Planning Workgroup to coordinate across County Government and other local jurisdictions on strategies to expand community EV charging.
- Transportation: Montgomery County was awarded two Congressional earmarks to assist with expansion of its Active Transportation and Micromobility Network, including $400,000 for an e-cargo bike pilot program and $428,000 for the construction of secure bicycle parking facilities.
- Carbon Sequestration: DEP received a grant through the Chesapeake Bay Trust/Maryland 5-Million Tree Initiative to plant shade trees in Equity Focus Areas and identified more than 350 planting sites.
- Climate Adaptation: The Department of General Services completed construction on the Scotland Recreation Center resilience hub with a grant from the Maryland Department of Energy. The small microgrid is has a PV solar roof, batteries and a generator.
- Governance: CountyStat analyzed the impact of increased telework on greenhouse gas emissions in the Montgomery County Government. Overall, the commute-related emissions avoided through telework was equivalent to the CO2 removed from the air by 268,214 trees.
- Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: In partnership with the Latin American Youth Center, Montgomery Energy Connection piloted Project Porchlight with Manor Lake Civic Association where students helped residents switch incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs at 392 homes.
- Public Engagement, Partnerships and Education: Montgomery County Public Schools held an online symposium on the Electric School Bus Project on Dec. 7. More than 340 students and staff attended the webinar to learn about MCPS' rollout of electric school buses and how the buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Zero Waste: The Department of Environmental Protection’s single-family residential curbside recycling pilot program has helped recycle 370,000 pounds of food scraps.
For more information about the Climate Action Plan, visit the Climate Action Portal.