Four Philadelphia-area counties, including Bucks County, are looking for a good deal on sustainable energy.
On Wednesday, the three Bucks County Commissioners – two Democrats and one Republican – voted to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties as they explore options to purchase power.
Chester and Delaware counties have already approved the MOU, and Montgomery County will vote on it Thursday.
The four counties use about the same amount of power yearly. Bucks County spends about $1.8 million on electric costs each year.
The MOU would allow the four counties, with help from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, to purchase energy as a block. One of the goals is to purchase energy from sustainable sources.
Neale Dougherty, Bucks County’s director of sustainability, said the county expects energy costs will keep increasing in the coming years, and a regional buying program will offer cheaper rates by purchasing directly from energy producers.
Bucks County Commissioners Chairperson Bob Harvie said officials have talked to government power buying groups in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Australia that have undertaken similar projects.
“One of the goals is to make this not just sustainable but cost-effective,” he said.
The MOU, if approved by all counties, would allow municipalities, school districts, and government authorities to join.
According to Dougherty, the counties would be able to lock in rates for longer periods of time.
The counties have discussed creating a power-buying group since 2020. Harvie said the group has met monthly.
The Bucks County Commissioners previously have authorized an inventory of county power usage and passed a resolution committing to moving to renewable energy for county government use by 2035.
Editor’s Note: A line has been removed from this article due to it being incorrect. The line dealt with the counties purchasing power through suppliers.