Sustainability was at the top of the agenda for the Thursday, Aug. 12 virtual City Council work session.

Dr. Vicki Foust gave a PowerPoint presentation on the work on the Strategic Energy Plan that had been completed and its recommendations on how to accomplish the goal established by the City Council to “Establish a pathway to 100% renewable energy by 2040 for City of Greensboro operations.”

Goal number one of the proposed policies is: “Clean energy audit/installation/maintenance contracts will give priority to Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB.”

The goals call for the city to reduce its electricity demand by 40 percent from what it was in 2005 by 2025. The city’s largest electricity user is the Water Resources Department so related goal is to reduce water demand by 20 percent by 2030.

To attain the goal of meeting the total electricity demand with renewable energy by 2040 the strategies listed are Ground PV Solar, Rooftop Solar and generation of electricity from “in-line hydro” and “incineration.”

Building a solar farm at the TZ Osborne Wastewater Treatment Plant and putting solar panels on the roof of the Central Library were listed as “immediate actions.”

Another goal is to reduce gasoline consumption by 5 percent per year by converting the city fleet to hybrid and then to electric vehicles and right sizing the fleet.

Most comments by City Councilmembers consisted of thanking Foust for all the work and support for the plan.  No City Councilmember asked questions about the cost of converting the entire fleet of city vehicles to hybrid vehicles, or the cost of building solar fields and putting solar panels on the roofs of city buildings.

The report did include a page “Put Together a Financing Strategy” which included applying for grants and attempting to get Duke Energy to help finance some of the initiatives.

If the city is unable to reach 100 percent renewable energy usage by 2040 the suggestion is that the city purchase renewable energy tax credits and purchase carbon off-setts.  Again there was no discussion by the City Council of what that might cost the taxpayers.