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JUST IN: Renewable energy now entirely powers Arlington gov’t facilities, county says

Arlington County government offices at 2100 Clarendon Blvd (file photo)

Arlington County operations now run entirely on renewable electricity — a full two years ahead of schedule.

As part of the Community Energy Plan adopted in 2019, Arlington County committed to transitioning 100% of county operations to renewable sources by 2025.

The county said in a press release sent out this morning (Thursday) that its buildings, streetlights and traffic signals, leased facilities and the Water Pollution Control Plant now run on electricity from sustainable sources.

This includes Dominion Energy Virginia’s Green Power program, solar panels and the Arlington-Amazon solar panel field in Pittsylvania County.

This last source up is in large part the reason Arlington met its goal two years early. The Arlington-Amazon solar panel farm in Pittsylvania County, which a Dominion Energy spokeswoman told ARLnow opened “late last year,” provides more than 80% of renewable electricity to Arlington facilities through offsets,

“We set an ambitious goal for net-zero County operations and facilities, as part of our overall Community Energy Plan for a fully carbon-neutral community, and we’ve met it – two years early,” County Board Member Katie Cristol said in a statement. “This exciting milestone is the result of cross-sector partnership, innovative approaches and Arlington’s commitment to doing our local part in addressing the global challenge of climate change.”

More from the press release:

Arlington County has committed to be carbon neutral by 2050 as part of its Community Energy Plan (CEP) by:

  • Promoting buildings that are more energy efficient than is required by code.
  • Enhancing Arlington’s approach to energy assurance and resiliency for critical services and harnessing the ability of nature to mitigate Arlington’s need for energy.
  • Exploring alternative operational and financing mechanisms to support performance- and cost-effective renewable energy options.
  • Maximizing the use of walking/biking, transit and use of shared vehicles, including micro-mobility devices, to promote a multimodal approach to transportation.

Arlington’s award-winning Community Energy Plan (CEP) is a long-term vision for transforming how the County generates, uses, and distributes energy. The CEP also aims to provide access to the benefits of clean energy sources for all residents regardless of economic situation.

Per the Community Energy Plan, the way Arlington intended to power all county operations with renewable electricity was through the purchase of power purchase agreements (PPAs). These can be either physical, through solar farms or more local solar panel installations, or virtual, via certificates.

The biggest contributors to Arlington County’s overall carbon footprint in 2016 (via Arlington County)

The next milestone in the CEP is powering 100% of Arlington’s electricity with renewable sources by 2035.

The ultimate goal is for the county to be completely carbon neutral by 2050, and the current efforts comprise just 11% of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions Arlington County says it needs to meet the ultimate goal of the Community Energy Plan.

How Arlington can become carbon neutral (via Arlington County)

Arlington Public Schools — which contributed the most to Arlington County’s carbon footprint back in 2016 — continues to expand its solar capacity with new rooftop installations, says spokesman Frank Bellavia.

So far, three elementary schools — Alice W. Fleet, Discovery and Cardinal — are considered net-zero in terms of energy usage.

Solar power systems are being designed for Cardinal and Jefferson Middle School, and Bellavia says these should “host solar in the next year.”

“APS anticipates having over 3.4MW of solar capacity when these two schools’ solar arrays are operational,” he said.

Additionally, the school system is working on solar dashboards “so students and staff can use them as teaching and learning opportunities,” he said.

This school year, there are sustainability liaison positions at every school building, up from 10 participating schools when the program began in 2016.

“The Sustainability Liaison Program aims to support teachers at APS by providing a modest stipend in exchange for coordinating and designing sustainability activities that engage students and the APS community,” Bellavia said. “Given the success of the program in its first year, the program has expanded to 38 APS school facilities this year.”

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March General Membership Meeting

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Guest Speakers

Adele McClure
Virginia House of Delegates, 2nd District in Arlington

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Early Years Preschool is a small non-profit preschool and parents day out program that has served local families since 1992. Early Years Preschool is located in the Cherrydale neighborhood at 3701 Lorcom Lane.

Early Years Preschool offers part-time programs for young children between 12 months – 5 years old. Early Years also offers a 6 week summer program! The school day is 9:30-2:30, with the option of morning extended day offered at 9am. Families have the flexibility of registering for 1-3 days/week in their parent’s day out program (12 months- 2 year olds) and 2-5 days/week for their preschool program (3-5 year olds).

Early Years’ teachers provide a nurturing environment that promotes the development of a child’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical skills. Creative and stimulating theme-based activities allow each child to develop and learn at his or her own pace through exploration and play.

Learn more about Early Years Preschool by contacting the admissions team at [email protected] or by visiting their website at http://www.earlyyearspreschool.org

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Submit your own Announcement here.

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Renegade Mode

Having worked with the likes of Gary Numan, DJ Neidermeyer lends authenticity a go-go. Enough to satisfy even the purists.

The Renegade boasts all of the virtues of Arlington’s premier music venues while providing bar bites that rival most restaurants

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