From 2009-2011, the New Energy Cities team conducted Workshops and developed high-level Action Plans for 10 communities as follows:
- Jackson, WY—May 2009
- Spokane, WA—October 13-14, 2009
- Albany, OR—November 5-6, 2009
- Salem, OR—December 1, 2009
- Thurston County, WA—January 22-23, 2010
- Edmonds, WA—January 27-28, 2011
- Clark County/Vancouver, WA—October 20-21, 2011
- Wood River Valley, ID—April 27-28, 2011
- Hillsboro, OR—March 9, 2012
- Boise, ID—June 14, 2012
The New Energy Cities workshop were geared toward key city and/or county decision-makers—elected officials; utility representatives; city managers; finance directors; top staff; influential local business; and nonprofit leaders and designed to create a meaningful strategy for action (based on a 20-year timeline) to achieve the dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions called for by the international scientific community, and by doing so capture substantial economic benefits for the communities who participate.
We conducted a day and one-half Workshop during which we provided an intensive review of energy systems; instructed participants about the way that energy will work in the future; built capacity among local leaders to adopt a new energy approach; and developed a common strategic focus around which to build toward carbon-neutrality by 2030.
The Workshops were presentational as well as interactive and focused on five essential modules:
- Buildings and Efficiency
- Clean, Distributed Energy Production
- Next-Generation Infrastructure, including Smart Grid and Electrical Vehicle Interface
- Financing Strategy and Tools
- Leadership and Capacity-Building
In addition to the learning gained and the value of creating a collective vision for a new energy future, we led Workshop participants in the development of a Roadmap of subsequent actions that the New Energy Cities team expands upon in the Action Plan we deliver at the end of the process. To create the Roadmaps, we used mind-mapping softward to perform a visual mapping exercise that translated the vision and collective knowledge that emerged during the Workshop into a Roadmap for the community's whole energy system.
The Action Plan was crafted to provide a new energy community with three years of actions that put it on the path to achieve its 20-year objectives. The Action Plan was a tool to keep communities from getting mired in incremental processes. It distills the concepts and community input from the Workshop and the Roadmap, mapping the most important steps to take in the next three-six months, the following six-12 months, and subsequent 18-36 months. The Action Plan recommended program structure, policy options, capacity-building, community engagement, and finance strategies based on an understanding of what is needed in every community and tailored to the local context.
The core purpose of the Action Plan was to affirm the community’s ability to achieve this great challenge—long-term transition to a clean energy system that drives economic development, upgrades local infrastructure, attracts large-scale private investment, and attains needed greenhouse gas reductions and environmental performance.