RED WING -- One of the chapters in the city's 2040 Plan focuses on the environment and steps to reach lower emissions and a greener community. The five-year work plan is one way to begin working toward the 2040 goals.

Since March the Sustainability Commission has worked with the Great Plains Institute to write the action plan.

Abby Finis, the senior program manager for the Great Plains Institute, explained that by creating a plan that focuses on 2020 to 2025, the city is able to begin taking the steps needed to achieve the goals for 2040.

“The purpose of having this five-year plan is to get the ground under your feet, to get some wind, to start demonstrating emission reduction,” Finis explained.

The plan outlines five main strategies, which cover buildings, vehicles, renewable energy and waste.

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The five strategies

  1. Increase building efficiency: the plan states that “building energy use is responsible for 66% of total community-wide emissions in Red Wing. Commercial and industrial buildings account for 63% of building energy emissions. These emissions can be decreased through a combination of energy efficiency, fuel switching and renewable energy initiatives.”

  2. Increase adoption rate of electric vehicles: in Red Wing motorized vehicles account for 32% of total emissions. Many people will need to continue driving so the plan states “that emphasis should be placed on encouraging residents to purchase cleaner vehicles.”

  3. Reduce annual vehicle miles traveled 2% by fossil fuel vehicles: Not everyone will want to or be able to purchase an electric vehicle within the next five years. So, the city hopes to incentivize a switch to other forms of transportation. “Widespread mode shift can be facilitated by building out infrastructure and improving non-vehicle transportation services to increase usability, reliability, access and affordability of non-single occupancy vehicle travel,” the plan states. “The COVID- 19 pandemic will likely alter the way people interact with buildings and change commuting behavior.”

  4. Increase renewable energy: Specifically the city wants to increase solar use in the city by 2.5 megawatts or more and to increase participation in green power programs. These programs “allow electricity users to support increased renewable energy generation by purchasing renewable energy credits.”

  5. Reduce the waste stream: Red Wing has worked to reduce waste in the city through single-sort recycling and the creation of a new solid waste plan. To build on these changes the work plan states that the city should implement an organics drop-off location and develop a plan to capture “longer-term opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from waste. Divert an additional 5% of waste from the energy facility.”

Finis said of the five-year plan, “I think it’s very manageable and achievable. It takes a little bit of time to see that change in emissions over each year. You’re not going to see them immediately next year.”