A Groundbreaking Green New Deal is happening in the East Bay

June 19, San Leandro City Hall- After hearing from several community members, the East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) Board of Directors approved $5.1 Million dollars for the Local Development Business Plan (LDBP)—Alameda County’s groundbreaking Green New Deal.
Representatives from the East Bay Clean Power Alliance; Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Communities for a Better Environment, Food and Water Watch, Sierra Club East Bay Chapter, Youth vs. the Apocalypse, Local Clean Energy Alliance and many more, waited over 2 hours to call for an increase in the proposed funding for local clean energy projects for 2019-2020 fiscal year. Community Organizations asked for an additional $3.6 Million dollars, but the final amount approved by the Board was to increase the budget by $1.5 Million dollars.That $1.5 Million will increase the total EBCE proposed expenditures for local development projects to $5.1 Million. The additional amount is yet to be allocated to the Local Development Business Plan.
The proposed LDBP budget is heavily weighted toward vehicle electrification, with almost half of the budget allocated to those programs, including an anticipated $900K in outside funds. Building Electrification, Collaborative Procurement and the Community Investment Fund are the next biggest budget items, each receiving atround $600K each. East Bay Clean Power Alliance is working on a proposal for how to spend the additional $1.5 million on projects that will most benefit low income communities and communities of color whom are historically left out of the clean energy economy.
While the Green New Deal is being held hostage on a National level, East Bay Community Energy board is setting a precedent to do Community Choice energy the right way, by allocating multi-millions of dollars toward programs and projects that reduce energy waste, electrify vehicles and buildings, fund and incentivize community projects.  The transition is happening, but who benefits and who loses, is what matters. We must be positioned to ensure that the investments of programs and projects are actually reaching low-income people, people of color, renters and working-class homeowners who cannot afford to solarize their own homes.
The approval of a $5.1 Million dollar budget for 2019-2020 in local development was a victory for community advocates, overcoming staff arguments that EBCE should not utilize any of the $68 Million proposed for the reserve fund, and will increase the benefits of local clean energy projects in Alameda County communities.  Social, economic and environmental justice for our East Bay communities cannot wait, we must continue to demand, “Clean Power to the People.”