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We are all facing the challenges of a changing climate. We lose homes, businesses and even lives to superstorms like Katrina and Sandy and to wildfires. We lose food and livelihoods to drought. We must change how we use and generate energy. All communities can and must help. But energy efficiency and renewable energy can also create much needed cost savings to cash strapped families and jobs for our economy. Good public policy can support community-based solutions.
As the fastest growing populations in the country suffering disproportionately from dirty energy, communities of color must be part of climate change policy and community scale innovation. Despite being generally overlooked in discussions of climate change solutions, many have been developing ideas at the local level that, when replicated, can build better communities and help the planet we all depend on. This case study is our third in a series highlighting how communities of color are leading the way toward a clean and sustainable energy future.
The Oakland, CA, story is remarkable because communities of color demonstrate the potential of energy democracy – from planning to policy to projects. In People Powered Policies, we learn about policy strategies that community of color organizations in Oakland have developed to help them tackle climate change while improving their communities. They won accountable planning policy at the city level, developed community-scale solar projects and crafted state policy to support community projects.
Successful strategies explored in the case study:
- Engaging the community in energy planning
- Using creative financing and community assets
- Producing policies that make renewables accessible, particularly to communities of color
Policies solutions explored in the case study:
- Setting renewable energy goals
- Aggregate local power
- Shift and make available dollars to support local, clean energy projects
- Set access and fair compensation guidelines (through Feed-In Tariffs or CLEAN contract)
- Engage in inclusive planning and capacity building
- Enact Energy Investment Districts (EIDs)