Strategic Energy Action Plan

​Action Area 1 : Structural Change

The transition to a low carbon economy is a substantial undertaking and cannot rest solely within the city government. It requires active buy-in from a range of groups, businesses, NGOs, advocacy, regulatory bodies, and individuals. Ultimately it requires partnerships, within and beyond Charlotte. Stakeholders such as those in the working groups, help build the community’s knowledge base and awareness that are critical to bringing about change. The Content Expert Advisory Group (CEAG) helps provide a wider business, construction, and academic perspective that can help to guide the implementation of the SEAP.

Structural Change is therefore required for the following reasons:

  1. To build a core capacity within the City for low carbon, resilient Charlotte delivery;

  2. To ensure buy-in from leadership down;

  3. To ensure alignment and integration with other City initiatives and projects;

  4. To provide a basis from which additional projects may be formed and funding secured;

  5. To ensure common understanding in project management approach – to reduce project costs and overrun;

  6. To engage with external stakeholders and partners to ensure ongoing momentum and support change;

  7. To enable a strategic approach to cost that considers packages of approaches rather than individual costs of actions.

Task 1: Set Up Internal City Resilience Delivery Team (CREDIT)

To realize the goals and recommendations set forth in the Resolution and the SEAP requires internalization of knowledge and a structured approach to sustainability and resilience within the City. A dedicated team is recommended to help guide Charlotte towards the low carbon, resilient future determined by the resolution.

Step 1: Appoint a team leader in FY19

A team leader is needed that has a personal interest in sustainability and resilience and will oversee all of the work of the CREDIT team. This person will demonstrate leadership and need to work closely with the team, especially the Energy Ambassador. This person will engage with a wide variety of people, will have international awareness and a proven ability to win funds, and coordinate projects and programs. This role requires a unique blend of technical awareness combined with strong communication abilities.

Step 2: Identify citywide Energy Ambassador in FY19

Working closely with CREDIT’s team leader will be an entrepreneurial, solution driven Energy Ambassador. This person will be responsible for focusing largely on projects and have a strong knowledge base within the energy sector. They will be championed by the team leader. This working relationship will be key to the successful implementation of the SEAP. The Ambassador will work with external experts and will be the designer of the Resilient Innovation Districts, as outlined in Action Area 4.

Step 3: Assemble team in FY19

It is recommended that CREDIT is formed of representatives from existing teams: including the sustainability team, SFOT, and individuals within departments. CREDIT will need to operate across City Government Departments. CREDIT’s team members should be recruited based on their skills, knowledge, and personalities. While assembling the team, it is important to specify roles, responsibilities, and reporting requirements for each team member.

Step 4: Arrange for project management training for all team members as appropriate in FY20

CREDIT’s members will require training in project management to maintain consistency and oversight.

Task 2: Setting the CREDIT Programmatic Agenda in FY20

This is an evolving process but requires an understanding of common goals within the team. This will need to follow project management structures to define them and set the tone that will feed into all projects.

Step 1: Review the SEAP and progress requirements

This requires developing a strategy for stakeholder engagement, identifying any data gaps, and addressing those gaps.

Step 2: Identify reporting requirements and timeline

Internal team reporting is required, and will be determined based on individual staff types.

Task 3: Set Up Internal Revolving Fund 52 Mechanism

By utilizing an Internal Revolving Fund mechanism for driving energy efficiency efforts within municipal buildings and fleet, the City can take savings and reinvest in additional energy efficiency efforts. This requires new modes of working, embracing uncertainty, and entrepreneurial ways of dealing with cost and difficulty.

Step 1: Establish preferred financing model

It is recommended that a structure similar to a Revolving Fund or an Energy Service Company (ESCO) is implemented to enable cost to be spread between projects within a program. There is currently such a model called Internal Service Providers that could be adapted. In this regard, deep energy retrofits to reduce energy consumption and shift energy demand need to be considered in tandem with savings. In short, cost savings need to be considered at a program, rather than project level, ensuring buildings and fleet projects are considered in tandem.

Step 2: Establish reporting requirements

Clear reporting requirements need to be developed and standardized so that targets can be established and finances tracked. This should encompass how often and when reporting should be performed.

Step 3: Internal team to identify weaknesses and gaps in knowledge base

CREDIT should determine the frequency of meetings with the Internal Leader and the Energy Ambassador to ensure alignment of efforts. The stakeholder group should work with the CREDIT team to nominate two representatives (solution orientated, subject matter experts) that can provide feedback of the views of the group to CREDIT.

Task 4: Develop strategy for stakeholder group engagement in FY20

This is an important link and needs to be based on mutual trust. Both groups have a desire to transition to a low carbon energy future as fast as possible. The importance here will be developing clear connections that leverage the knowledge and expertise of the stakeholder group.

Step 1: Internal team to identify weaknesses and gaps in knowledge base

See Action Area 1, Task 3, Step 3.

Task 5: Hold a Meeting of Content Expert Advisory Group (CEAG) and Internal Working Group

Charlotte is a rapidly growing city benefiting from a business community open to engagement with local policymakers. The CEAG members were selected due to their knowledge, experience, and the organizations they are associated with. The members are well placed to provide a sounding board for solutions and helping the City guide implementation. Energy transitions are complex, so engaging people across the spectrum of the community is crucial.

Step 1: Agree on reporting structures and set out meeting dates for the following year

To avoid misunderstandings and ensure ongoing comfort, the personalities involved need to agree to structures that best suit their mutual ways of working.

Step 2: Identify any options for extending the group (max size of 12)

For reasons of group dynamics, a size of between 8-12 people is needed to maximize dialogue between participants. The individuals may change due to various personal and organizational reasons.

Step 3: Consider a figurehead for promotion of the integrative work

A figurehead is useful for promoting the work of the SEAP. The person best suited to this role may emerge following the SEAP. This could be a celebrity, business person, or similar person with a status within the community.