Climate-Smart Collaborative to Focus on Sustainable Future And Electric Vehicle Readiness

Lincoln, NE (April 21, 2022) City, County, and education leaders today announced the formation of a Climate-Smart Collaborative, a local interagency approach to achieve shared resiliency and sustainability goals across the community. The partners – the City of Lincoln, Lincoln Public Schools (LPS), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Lincoln Electric System (LES) and Lancaster County – will work to achieve key goals, including the following:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Fortify public infrastructure.
  • Transition to sustainable solutions.
  • Utilize renewable resources.
  • Spur economic development and create good paying jobs in green manufacturing.

Members of the Collaborative today also launched an Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness Plan to develop a community-wide strategy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The

transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The plan will evaluate suitable areas for charging stations to power government fleets as well as assess EV opportunities for businesses, residents, and visitors to Lincoln. The Collaborative will coordinate planning, design, and construction and work together to seek federal funds designated for building an EV charging network in communities and across the nation.
“Increasing energy security, reducing fuel costs, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, preserving our air quality, and protecting our quality of life – these are things we have power to advance locally when we access more renewable sources of energy to fuel government cars, trucks, and buses.” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “Together, we have the power to strengthen our communities, protect our way of life, and create a stronger, more resilient, more electric future for our children and grandchildren.”

“It will take all of us working together to protect our environment for future generations,” said LPS Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel. “What better way to teach and encourage our youth than to be role models in sustainability and energy efficiency. Lincoln Public Schools is proud to partner with our community on such an important initiative.”

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said he welcomed the opportunity to open conversations and create collaborations about sustainability among these four major entities in the city. “Working together, we can share information and find answers about how to move our four complex fleets involving hundreds of vehicles over to vehicles using alternative fuels, whether electric vehicles, hybrids, E85, soy diesel, or others,” Green said.

“LES has a long history of collaborating with the City of Lincoln, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln Public Schools, and other institutions and businesses for emerging energy-efficient technologies,” said LES CEO Kevin Wailes. “Our engagement with the Climate-Smart Collaborative is a continuation of our work with community partners in areas that will further the community’s commitment to net-zero carbon goals.”

“The time is now for meaningful change to replace fossil fuel dependence with clean, local alternative fuel and energy choices,” said Lancaster County Commissioner Sean Flowerday. “That requires an emphasis on local, renewable energy development which Lancaster County and the City of Lincoln have been working hard to support.”