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Posted on: November 30, 2022

Richmond Partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy

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Richmond Reaches First Milestone in its Partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to Cut Pollution from Buildings. The Communities LEAP Pilot Will Support Richmond’s Efforts to Equitably Electrify Existing Buildings

Richmond, CA—The City of Richmond and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have finalized their plan for the city’s participation in DOE’s Communities Local Energy Action Program (LEAP) Pilot to equitably electrify existing homes and buildings in Richmond.

Fossil fuel use in homes and buildings is the source of one-third of Richmond’s greenhouse gas pollution and was identified in the City’s 2016 Climate Action Plan as an area for future work. The Richmond Communities LEAP project will focus on understanding the opportunity for long-term phase-out of natural gas use in Richmond’s existing buildings, and its replacement with electric options powered by clean energy.  NREL will analyze the potential impacts of electrification on environmental health, indoor air quality, utility costs, and employment opportunities, and will support the city in developing strategies to maximize the benefits of electrification for all members of the Richmond community. NREL’s research will also be informed and guided by engagement with residents and key stakeholders.

This project builds on Richmond’s existing efforts including the 2021 ban on natural gas in new buildings, the 2016 Climate Action Plan, the Richmond General Plan, the city’s Health in All Policies Ordinance, and the Transparent Richmond tracking platform. The project will also complement and coordinate with efforts being undertaken concurrently through the city’s Green Blue New Deal (GBND) project.

Communities LEAP is a Department of Energy pilot program designed to provide technical assistance to communities that have experienced historic environmental inequity or the economic consequences of the declining fossil fuel industry and are now focused on developing clean energy projects to equitably improve environmental conditions and increase economic opportunity. NREL is one of the Department of Energy’s 17 national laboratories and is focused on advancing science and engineering related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation, as well as the integration and optimization of energy systems.

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