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Communities of color have long been environmental activists and can be innovators in a new renewable energy economy. CSI’s case study analyzes efforts by community of color groups in Boston, Massachusetts to develop a community-owned energy service cooperative that would weatherize homes, provide jobs and lower emissions.
CSI identified the challenges facing the groups’ efforts, which include: a lack of resources to support leadership and capacity, a lack of financial resources to leverage private capital and a lack of transparency and inclusion in the decision-making process for state-sponsored weatherization programs.
Key takeaways from this case study are:
- Establishing community trust is critical to pursuing energy efficiency efforts;
- Foundations or city governments should provide low-interest loans to help communities of color leverage support for private capital;
- Community-based Energy Improvement Districts (EIDs) provide opportunities for communities of color to engage in energy efficiency financing, decision-making and implementation efforts.