Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
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8/24/18  4:11 pm
Commenter: Susan Elliott, City of Charlottesville

Comments from City of Charlottesville

Comments from City of Charlottesville

Thank you for this opportunity to provide comment to Governor Northam’s forthcoming Virginia Energy Plan.

The City of Charlottesville has a long history of environmental stewardship and commitments to efficient use of resources and reducing greenhouse emissions through wise energy choices. The City has seen success within its budgets and with emission reductions that can be attributed to effective energy management strategies that include onsite energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy generation, and benefitting from policies that make our grid supplied energy sources cleaner and tools, vehicles, and equipment more efficient.

Still, much work remains necessary and significant strides in improvement are possible over the coming 10 years. Governor Northam’s Virginia Energy Plan can be a timely catalyst to further economic growth, job growth, savings to consumers, and further reductions in carbon emissions throughout Virginia for the benefit of all.

The City of Charlottesville seconds the comments submitted by the County of Arlington, the City of Blacksburg, and the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council and urges the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan to:

  1. Promote and achieve greater energy efficiency in buildings and transportation across Virginia,
  2. Promote an increase in use of renewable energy across Virginia through both distributed (on-site) applications and at utility scale,
  3. Promote active partnerships between localities and state and utility programs. Localities are an essential partner for delivery of clean energy programming and advanced transportation and storage technologies at community scale.
  4. Establish the energy sector as a leader in adaptation, smart infrastructure, and resiliency planning.

In addition, the City of Charlottesville recommends that the following items be considered for integration in the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan:

  1. Land Use and Transportation planning and the ability to integrate smarter energy technology into our infrastructure go hand-in-hand. Local policies and planning regulations can aid or impede integration of EV charging infrastructure, energy efficient building requirements, and renewable energy deployment. We recommend that Virginia consider adding a requirement for communities to address energy planning in their required Comprehensive Plan Updates.
  2. Affordable Housing:  There is the cost to lease or buy a housing unit, and there is the cost to remain in a housing unit (operating costs such as utilities). Support should be given to utility-funded programs that assist localities in improving the energy performance of existing housing, particularly for residents who are eligible for utility and tax abatement programs, thereby lessening their financial burden. Additionally, we recommend that the state review its policies and funding opportunities for affordable housing development and redevelopment projects to encourage energy efficient building practices at high standards.
  3. In regards to public transit, expanding on the comments submitted by Arlington County Government in regards to procurement of school buses, Charlottesville would like to recommend similar strategies for electric buses for private and publically-owned transit organizations. A coordinated procurement process could assist with adoption of EV buses into public transit and paratransit fleets. Secondly, we recommend considering how the criteria for funding offered by the Department of Rail and Public Transit towards bus capital purchases could be adjusted to encourage transit fleets to consider and fund EV buses.
  4. We would like to note that reduction of vehicle congestion and vehicle energy use is about mode shift as much as it is about efficient and advanced technologies. Mode shift in transportation from single occupancy vehicles to transit, bicycling, and walking is the corollary of energy conservation strategies for buildings.
  5. Tracking Success and Depth of Implementation:  At a local and state level, the integration of renewable energy, electric vehicle supply equipment, and other smart and advanced technologies is of interest in gauging policy success, rates of adoption, and for informing community planning and emergency response training and protocols. However, accessing aggregate jurisdiction-based data can be challenging. We would like the state to consider the merits and feasibility of creating and maintaining a database that shows the annual adoption of EVs by jurisdiction, as well as other key installations such as electrical permits for EV charging infrastructure or renewable energy installations.
  6. The 10% Reduction Goal for Electricity:   We support keeping the 10% reduction goal in electricity usage by 2020, and encourage a goal to be set for natural gas as well due to the significant market shift that has occurred since the previous Energy Plan was drafted. To achieve these goals, we encourage support and investment in energy efficiency and associated funding strategies as proposed by the colleagues referenced earlier in this memo.


Thank you for your time, consideration, and work on this topic. A strong Virginia Energy Plan has the potential to guide Virginia over the next 10 years to being a leader in the nation with significant gains for the public good and demonstrating apt adoption and integration of newer technologies with strong benefits.

CommentID: 66671