Clean Power to the People: From Wildfires to Community Ownership of Energy

Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA) held a Clean Power to the People gathering December 10, 2019 at APEN’s office on 1200 Harrison St. The goal was to update allied organizations on Local Clean Energy Alliance’s plans for 2020 and get feedback from participants. The focus was on issues of equity in the programs and policies coming out of the Local Development Business Plan implementation by East Bay Community Energy (EBCE).

Representatives from 17 community organizations including Communities for a Better Environment, Movement Strategy Center, People Power Solar Cooperative, Electricity Equals Life + many more listened to Jessica Tovar summarize the 7 local programs in development at EBCE. The audience was asked to rank projects as: most important; most likely to create economic, environmental, racial justice and disability justice opportunities and incentives; need for more information; need a workshop using sticky notes.
According to the sticky notes, Energy Efficiency, Electrification and Collaborative Procurement were programs that got the most interest from participating organizations. Under energy efficiency there was interest in finding out more, especially how energy efficiency pairs with solar. The electrification topic inspired the most concern. Most participants said they would need more information and inclusion on this issue. They were also worried that electrification programs could increase displacement and the economic burden on low income residents if the programs are not implemented equitably. The collaborative procurement topic got the most requests for more information.
The discussion then turned to LCEA’s plans to develop metrics for assessing the social equity benefits that result from implemented EBCE Local Development Business Plan programs. It was stressed that feedback from community organizations would be critical to developing good metrics. Participants volunteered some good suggestions of various entities that might have already developed social benefit metrics, and most seemed interested in helping develop those important measurements of program success.  The need to include a disability justice metric was adopted at this meeting by participants.
Finally the group got to hear from Mari Rose Taruc about the emerging Utility Justice Campaign (now the Reclaim Our Power: Utility Justice Campaign). Mari Rose introduced the three facets of the campaign: a Leadership Team comprised of a majority of representatives of most impacted communities; a research component to gather information about the current energy structure in California and what it would take to create a system that was more equitable and more accountable to the public; an organizing campaign to build the political strength that can pressure decision makers to institute changes. She encouraged participants in the Clean Power to the People Workshop to sign on to support this emerging campaign.
PDF icon 2019-12-1 Clean Power to the People.pdf155.67 KB