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Fredericksburg takes steps toward more renewable energy
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Fredericksburg takes steps toward more renewable energy

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Fredericksburg officials have taken what they consider a significant step toward their goal of operating the city completely on renewable energy by 2035.

City and school leaders met with state officials and private vendors recently to request proposals to analyze and reduce energy consumption in municipal buildings. They also started the process of contracting with a qualified energy services company to assist with evaluating potential improvements to school and city facilities.

City Manager Tim Baroody said the discussions represent major progress in the city’s march toward 100 percent renewable energy.

Baroody said school officials have been monitoring energy use and making efficiency upgrades for the past 10 years, while the same has taken place in government buildings for 20 years.

“By entering into a formal energy performance contract for city government and city schools buildings, we advance our abilities to get more serious near-term on energy efficiency, pursuing solar energy, power purchase agreements and other green energy alternatives,” Baroody said.

City and school leaders are consulting with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy on how to negotiate with an energy services company.

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Baroody said he will also recommend hiring a sustainability manager in the upcoming fiscal year to further advance the city’s efforts.

Fredericksburg City Schools Superintendent Marci Catlett said she’s eager to partner with government officials on the project.

“This is an important initiative to reduce energy use now and in the future as one community and to assist council with their 2035 goal,” Catlett said.

City Council adopted the 100 percent Renewable Energy Resolution in December 2019 and committed to its 2035 goal with the potential of achieving it earlier. The city has also partnered with Fossil Free Fredericksburg and the Fredericksburg Clean & Green Commission, and has used state and federal resources to pursue clean energy.

Virginia Clean Cities is also reviewing the potential use of hybrid vehicles by the Fredericksburg Police Department and the results of that evaluation are expected later this month. The city plans to purchase hybrid vehicles for the police department beginning this summer as part of a pilot project.

Solar energy projects have also been pursued at the upcoming Riverfront Park, the Thurman Brisben Center and at the Fredericksburg Nationals baseball stadium.

The city also adopted an ordinance (C-PACE) to help local businesses finance energy-efficient projects.

Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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