Strategic Energy Action Plan

Strategic Energy Action Plan logo

In June 2018, the Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte by 2050 Resolution was unanimously passed by Charlotte City Council. This resolution set aggressive and aspirational municipal and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals for the City of Charlotte. Specifically, it strives to have city fleet and facilities be fueled by 100% zero-carbon sources by 2030. It also sets a community-wide goal for Charlotte to become a low carbon city by 2050 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to below 2 tons of CO2 equivalent per person annually. Lastly, it called for a strategic energy action plan to determine how Charlotte would reach the two goals.

In December of 2018, city council unanimously adopted the Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP). Sustainability staff developed the SEAP in partnership with community stakeholders and city departments participating in greenhouse gas emission reduction scenario sessions and continuous engagement on the specific areas of the SEAP. This resulted in a comprehensive framework of 11 linked action areas containing internal and external actions, focused on transportation, buildings, energy generation, and workforce development/equity with steps on how to reach the goals set by the resolution.

August 2020 - SEAP and Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge Progress

Transcript SEAP and Climate Challenge Progress

Sarah Hazel 00:09

Like every city across the country, we've had to shift our focus to address the impacts of civil unrest and COVID-19.

John Thigpen 00:17

COVID-19 has a respiratory issue. And poor air quality can lead to increased rates of asthma and things of that nature, which is a comorbidity and therefore it translates into higher death rates for populations that have higher rates of asthma.

Sarah Hazel 00:34

So this reality that we're living in right now, it really requires us to double down on the goals that we've set for our city to address climate change, to become a low carbon city. Those goals that were unanimously passed through the Strategic Energy Action Plan in 2018.

John Thigpen 00:51

We're trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a pace that is aligned with the Paris Climate Accord. And so that's to reduce emissions by a significant amount by 2050 in order to avoid some of the more catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Sarah Hazel 01:08

These goals are twofold. We want to ensure that our fleet and our buildings are run by zero carbon sources by 2030. And then we want to become a low carbon city by 2050. So by participating in the American cities climate challenge, this has really enabled us to accelerate our work to learn from the work of peer cities, and to make sure that we can pivot quickly in this really challenging time that we're in right now.

Catherine Kummer 01:36

While other cities in the challenge, quite frankly, we're furloughing staff, and were making significant budget cuts I think everyone from the American Cities Climate Challenge certainly wants to applaud the City of Charlotte on sticking to their commitments and their goals around sustainability. These investments that folks are going to look back on and say wow, they're really leading by example.

Sarah Hazel 02:22

This year in June, the city manager signed our sustainable and resilient fleet policy. And this policy ensures that when we replaced vehicles, we're replacing them with the vehicle, where technology is available, that has the lowest emissions. So combining that with our investment in 27 new electric vehicles this year, plus a million dollars worth of electric vehicle charging, which will result in about 38 new stations, is really going to lay the groundwork not only to support our steps in the near term, but over the next 10 years for full fleet electrification. You may have heard that CATS won a $3.7 million grant from the FDA, and this grant will result in six battery electric buses, charging infrastructure and workforce development training.


That's a so pleased to receive this Low-No Grant from the Federal Transit Administration. This grant will allow us to acquire three different sets of electric buses, test those in an urban environment and make the best choice for transitioning our fleet to electric buses in the future.

Sarah Hazel 03:44

Initially branded as Project Piece but now under the name RENEW, which stands for Renewable Energy and Efficiencies Workforce. We will be training at least 45 new folks in clean energy jobs. Those jobs include HVAC, as well as mechanical. We'll be excited to see those folks not only receive the training, but be placed in permanent positions upon the successful completion of their training.

Sarah Hazel 04:26

Last year you passed our large scale offsite solar project which was a partnership with Duke Energy called the Green Source Advantage Program. So this year with a $2 million budget allocation and the approved budget, we're turning our focus to rooftop solar. And so we're looking forward to putting rooftop solar on many of our municipal buildings as a result of this allocation. But as we start to look out towards our community and look at residential buildings in particular, one thing that is really clear is that we have residents like in many cities that are cost burdened, or what we call energy burdened. And this means they're paying a large portion of their income on utilities that specifically energy, we'll need to keep that in mind as we look towards some of our next steps to become low carbon. So taking on these goals has been a huge challenge and we have accomplished a lot over the last year and a half especially over the last several months as you can see.

Catherine Kummer 05:26

I think it's a testament to the type of teamwork and the individual city staff at the City of Charlotte that have all stepped up and quite frankly, taken Charlotte to another level.

John Thigpen 05:38

One consistent observation that I've had is that during difficult economic conditions, sustainability programs often are one of the first targets for moving budget dollars away so it's treated more as an accessory instead of a necessity. And with the FY 21, $3 million budget allocation, Charlotte has bucked that trend and really focused in on maintaining that momentum that's so critical for these programs to really get what they need to accomplish their goals. So Charlotte deserves a lot of praise for that.

Sarah Hazel 06:13

It's going to take a continued effort from city departments collaborating as we've done, as well as the community and our private sector partners to really reach towards the ambitious goals that you've set. So we are not slowing down. We need to keep building momentum and we look forward to doing that with you.

August 2019 - City of Charlotte Highlights the Strategic Energy Action Plan

Transcript City of Charlotte highlights Strategic Energy Action Plan


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It focuses on transportation,

buildings, workforce development,

energy generation


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with a foundation of engagement

and equity.


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There's an electric


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vehicle that we have parked out here today,

that we're expanding our fleet


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nd I would love for you to see what

that's all about.


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So we're going to have more electric cars

in our motor pool.


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That sounds wonderful. It's great.


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Let's go for a ride

Yeah, but let me drive.


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I like this


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Integrating electric vehicles into our fleet

saves us money in fuel and maintenance


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and promotes a cleaner, healthier city.


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Here we are, Marcus.


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Great ride, thanks.


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I drive pretty well. Here, it's your turn now.


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Thanks, mayor.


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I'm going to put it in park, there we go.


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Thank you.


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City of Charlotte