D.C. is studying energy.
Imagine a city where every energy policy initiative taken and goal set by each elected official and all its agencies are harmonized in one document.
Imagine a city whose people, businesses and government entities increase their energy efficiency by 50 percent.
Imagine a city where at least half of all energy used comes from renewable sources, like the sun and wind, with a significant portion of its electricity produced within the city itself.
The Department of Environment, the city’s lead agency on environmental matters, is working to fill in the details of a new comprehensive energy plan. It’s a daunting task, determining benchmarks, constructing data bases and performing calculations.
But the city expects that it will release the new plan, called “EnergySmart DC,” on or before December 2, 2013, Donna Henry, a Department of Environment spokesperson, said.
The Department of Environment created an outline for the energy plan last May. It conducted public meetings during June. Then, it set to fill in the details.
The vision for the EnergySmart DC plan is not entirely new. The plan seeks to establish goals and recommendations to increase energy efficiency, expand use of renewable energy, improve resiliency of the city’s energy infrastructure, promote green jobs and increase local electric power generation.
Unlike prior plans, EnergySmart DC will be based on real city data, current market studies and updated economic analysis. Even after the city completes the new energy plan, it expects to review, evaluate and revise the plan every year.
The sustainability vision provides “two broad energy goals and suggests several initiatives that the city should undertake to accomplish the aggressive goals of reducing citywide energy consumption by 50% and increasing the use of renewable energy by 50% by 2032,” Henry said.
The sustainability plan also includes a commitment to create a new 10-year energy plan.
The city has two existing energy plans. The Energy Assurance Plan, revised in 2012, focuses on ways of reducing the vulnerabilities of the city’s energy infrastructure to emergencies. It has an existing Comprehensive Energy Plan, last updated in 2003, but that plan does not reflect current data or goals.
In addition to its energy plans and Sustainable DC, the city has a number of ongoing energy and energy-related initiatives.
The DC Sustainable Energy Utility, which works under contract with the Department of Environment, promotes energy efficiency and energy conservation through various programs aimed at businesses and lower-income people.
The city also is working on climate action and multimodal transportation plans. D.C. released a draft Climate Action Plan in September 2010, and currently is working on a long-range transportation plan to be released next year.
“DDOT [D.C. Department of Transportation] has already started to integrate energy efficiency and sustainability into their multi-modal transportation plan and decision-making processes,” Henry said.
If the Department of Environment meets the objectives it has set for itself, the new comprehensive energy plan will reflect the D.C. Climate Action Plan’s carbon reduction targets for 2020 and 2050, Sustainable DC’s broad sustainability goals for 2032, as well as including the Federal government’s energy goals for D.C. buildings and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ regional transportation goals.
Once finalized the energy plan could influence major city decisions on infrastructure, property development, programs and legislation.