Climate change poses an existential risk to every community on this planet. In light of the current presidential administration’s outright hostility to policies that would reduce carbon emissions nationally, it is up to the states and municipalities to take rapid, transformative action on climate change.
While Arlington as a community has expressed a formal commitment to reducing its climate footprint and expanding the use of renewable energy, it is greatly hampered in these efforts by Dominion’s control over our state energy policy and our local utilities. Dominion has successfully bought most legislators in the Virginia General Assembly to prevent the transition to community solar and distributed energy systems, since those approaches would imperil its monopoly and investments in centralized, fossil fuel-based energy production facilities.
ORA believes that Arlington must make a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy based on community solar, distributed energy, virtual aggregate net metering, public ownership of an energy utility that is service-oriented instead of production-oriented, and inclusive (on-bill) financing of efficiency improvements and other renewable energy-related hookups.
To that end, ORA believes that the county board should take advantage of existing state provisions for municipalizing our energy utility a la Boulder, Colorado and conduct a feasibility study as a first step toward that goal. Lastly, ORA believes that the county should be doing everything it can to encourage and promote the construction of new buildings based on the “passive house” model, as in places like Freiburg, Germany.