Charlottesville conducting study to improve natural gas use
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville’s Utilities Department is conducting a decarbonization study to break down how natural gas is being used throughout the city and how it can be used better.
“It’s so we can really take a deep dive into the natural gas utility and its future, and how we can align and achieve the city’s committed climate action goals,” Director of Utilities Lauren Hildebrand said, “We recognize we run a fossil fuel utility being the natural gas utility. And we just have to make sure that, you know, we balance people’s needs, and still meet our goals.”
She says while going completely green seems like the obvious choice, it’s not that simple.
“We have 21,300 customers that rely on natural gas in the city, as well and the county, Hildebrand said, “We’re looking at reliability for the customer and the cost of the service.”
City Councilor Micheal Payne says the study will help Charlottesville with its next move.
“One of the hopes of the decarbonization study is that we’re able to create a real long-term plan that addresses all these issues,” Payne said, “We just want to ensure that that is delivering meaningful, robust actions. And it’s not just a meaningless study that sits on a shelf and was never turned into policy.”
Payne also says while Charlottesville recognizes the barriers people face, such as cost and reliability, there are still ways for the city to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
“I think those are things that all can be addressed. You know, most immediately what I’m thinking of is there’s a ton of money in the inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law from the federal government, for municipal utilities to get involved in subsidizing electrification, getting involved in solar. So how can we take advantage of that money,” Payne said.
Payne says for now, Charlottesville City Council is waiting for the results of the decarbonizations study before moving forward with any action.
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