CINCINNATI — The city of Cincinnati is renewing its commitment to going green.
City leaders including Mayor Aftab Pureval Thursday laid out their intentions to vote to renew the Green Cincinnati Plan. The plan, which comes up for renewal every five years, lays out goals and priorities to make Cincinnati a more sustainable city.
“The importance of the renewal of the Green Cincinnati Plan cannot be understated,” said council member Meeka Owens, chair of the Environment and Infrastructure committee. “This is our moment to address climate equity, more walkable communities, urban agriculture, vehicle electrification, energy reduction, tree canopy, sustainability in housing development, and so much more. The future’s so bright, and we have to keep going."
As part of the renewal, the council plans to allocate $100,000 to green initiatives. That money will come through the Dynegy Greenback rebate program.
Initiatives include the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations, ensuring stations are available in all 52 neighborhoods. The city will put out a request for information to see how it can partner with various organizations to make this happen. Incentives will also be used to encourage developers to include electric charging stations in their projects.
“The request for information, it’ll be looking to scale up the public access to charging, “ said Michael Forrester, Director of the Office of Environment And Sustainability. “So when we look at parking garages, neighborhood business districts, when we look at right-of-ways, that’s land the city controls and that’s where people’s vehicles live.”
Cincinnati resident Jesse Lawrence, who has been driving a Tesla for about three years, said he is supportive of the move.
“I do feel like it’s needed with all the major auto brands going to fully electric vehicles and coming out with them in the next few years," Lawrence said. "There isn’t enough chargers to go around."
Lawerence said he charges his vehicle at home overnight, but explained it can be difficult to find a charging station when traveling.
“The biggest challenges have been finding the charger. I can remember instances in Louisville, Columbus, Cleveland where they’re just not where you want them to be,” he said. “In Cincinnati, I think it has a decent charging network, but it’s odd being a driver finding them. It’s not really user-friendly.”
The city is also making plans to grow its electric vehicle fleet, with a commitment to have an entirely electric fleet by 2035.
“Moving forward it is officially our city policy that when available the city will only purchase electric vehicles,” Pureval said.
Right now, 20 of the city’s 2,4000 vehicles are electric, with 20 more on the way. The Cincinnati Police Department has 30 hybrid cruisers currently in service, with 20 more coming online soon.
City Manager John Curp said this plan prioritizes taxpayers.
“While there are higher initially upfront costs on assembling sustainable fleets, the savings on maintenance, filling up on electricity is significantly cheaper than filling up with gas,” he said. “We anticipate a saving of $5,000 to $10,000 over the life of a vehicle in city service.”
The renewal of the Green Cincinnati Plan, as well as the funding allocation, will be discussed in the committee next week. Both items are expected to go before full council for a vote Wednesday.