From an article by Cara Spoto in the Stevens Point Journal:

Hoping to reduce Portage County’s carbon footprint and save a little money in the process, county leaders will start work this month on a strategic energy plan.

The Smart Energy Team, led by Portage County Executive Patty Dreier and County Board Chairman O. Philip Idsvoog, has a goal of having a plan in place by Dec. 1. Toward that end, the group has received $12,000 in capital improvement dollars, along with a $4,500 grant, which may be used to hire a consultant.

Jennifer Stewart, community development educator with the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Whiting, said the first phase of the planning process will largely consist of taking a snapshot of how much energy the county consumes and in what ways.

“What we have talked about doing at the first meeting is reviewing the scope of the committee’s charge and start identifying first steps,” Stewart said.

From there, the team will draw on the knowledge of experts and its members, including Planning and Zoning Director Jeff Schuler, Facilities Director Todd Neuenfeldt and the chairs of the finance and space and properties committee, to establish a set of goals for consumption, alternative energy use and conservation.

Options for achieving such goals could include retrofitting buildings, altering building operations, purchasing energy-efficient equipment, using alternative energy sources and educating employees.