Author Archives: Guest Author

5 Steps for Making Electric Vehicles Benefit All

woman-with-ev-photo-by-rudy-espinozajpgThe Greenlining Institute partners with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and is a policy, research, organizing, and leadership institute working for racial and economic justice. They recently released a report highlighting how inclusive policy can make electric vehicles accessible to all. Here at EDF, we know clean energy policies cannot be truly transformative without accessibility across all income levels and among all communities. Indeed, that is the only way we will accomplish our goal of curbing harmful climate change.  

By: Joel Espino, Legal Counsel, The Greenlining Institute

State programs that help low-income Californians access electric vehicles (EVs) mark a big step in our fight against poverty and pollution.

Cars, buses, and trucks are the biggest source of global-warming pollution in California – creating nearly 40 percent of the state’s total emissions. This makes tens of thousands of Californians sick, costs us billions in avoidable health costs, and causes twice as many deaths as traffic-related accidents. Vehicle pollution hurts low-income neighborhoods and communities of color the most because they are more likely to be located near busy roads and freeways, exposing them to dangerous levels of pollution. Paired with the fact that low-income families spend a disproportionate amount of their income on gas and public transit fares, the substantial burden of transportation on our poor communities is clear.

However, if drawing on renewable energy, EVs have the potential to dramatically reduce pollution as compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts and save folks money. From well-to-wheels, EVs produce fewer emissions than gas-powered cars and are cheaper to power and maintain. That’s why in 2014 we at The Greenlining Institute worked with Communities for a Better Environment, Coalition for Clean Air, Environment California, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to pass the Charge Ahead California Initiative. This law works to place 1 million EVs on California’s roads by 2023 and ensure all Californians, especially lower-income households most impacted by pollution, can access clean cars.

We’ve learned a lot from implementing this initiative. Now, those lessons are illuminated in a comprehensive online tool, “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit,” to help policymakers and advocates make EVs a reality for underserved communities by providing tools, tips, and resources. In particular, five important steps can ensure EV benefits reach all communities: Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Equity| Comments are closed

8 Benefits of Distributed Solar that Prove it’s Worth More than Dollars and Cents

ga_washington-dc-2By Bret Fanshaw, Solar Program Coordinator, Environment America

This week, Environment America Research & Policy Center is showcasing Shining Rewards, a new review of 16 value-of-solar studies from around the country. The report shows what we already know intuitively: Solar panels provide pollution-free energy that delivers far reaching benefits to people, the environment, the economy, and the electric grid.

Powering homes and businesses with rooftop solar can help communities avoid greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution that’s harmful to public health, and avoid the cost of increasingly expensive fossil fuels.

In our report, we found at least 8 key benefits of rooftop solar, all of which have real value that can be measured by regulators, policymakers, and utilities as the conversation around the future of distributed energy – solutions like rooftop and community solar – evolves. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Solar Energy| Read 1 Response

Equity Crowdfunding Is Good News for Cleantech

CrowdfundingescenseBy Andrew Strong, VP of Strategy & Business Development at LOHAS Capital

On May 16, 2016, the final piece of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act took effect and drastically changed the investment landscape by allowing equity crowdfunding. Equity Crowdfunding is a way for a large number of individuals to invest in a startup, for as little as $100 each, in exchange for a share of the company’s value.

Four years in the making, the new rules now allow companies to raise money online by accepting investments from both accredited investors (the 2 percent of Americans worth at least $1 million, who earn more than $200,000 per year) and unaccredited investors (the 98 percent of Americans with less wealth). This new investment model could have huge implications for cleantech entrepreneurs, and everyday Americans who want to participate in the next big energy innovation.

Read More »

Posted in Energy Financing| Read 1 Response

Protect Our Families: Bring Back Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards

Brother (9-11) and Sister (4-6) Running Towards Wind Turbines, Rear View

By: Ellen Eilers, Moms Clean Air Force Ohio

In a post-Paris world, where nearly 200 countries have pledged to act on climate disruption, climate denial is fast losing its viability.

And toward the end of last year, White House Senior Adviser Brian Deese discussed the impact of global climate action on renewable energy, saying the historic Paris agreement "sends a strong signal to the global capital markets that something has fundamentally changed. [It] sends investors a signal that clean and renewable energy is the future.”

That signal seems to have faltered here in Ohio. Our state renewable energy and energy efficiency standards are still held in an “indefinite freeze.” Recent talk from Governor John Kasich, however, provides hope that we could soon see Ohio back on the path to a cleaner energy future. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Ohio, Solar Energy, Wind Energy| Read 2 Responses

2015 was a Record Year for PACE in Texas

By: Charlene Heydinger, Executive Director, Keeping PACE in Texas

htown skyline-720075_640 pixabayAs a bustling metropolis and the biggest city in Texas, Houston has a lot of buildings – and that equals a lot of opportunity to make these facilities more energy- and water-efficient.

Houston grabbed headlines last month when it became the first in Texas to adopt a citywide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE will help Houston building owners undertake much-needed water and energy efficiency improvements through private financing – all without having to worry about steep upfront costs. This move means substantial economic development potential, in addition to environmental benefits, for the nation's fourth largest city.

It’s also a sign this innovative clean energy finance tool is catching fire in Texas: Houston joins Austin’s Travis County, which embraced PACE in March, and a Dallas city ordinance is just on the horizon. Additionally, Cameron and Willacy Counties expect to bring PACE to the Rio Grande Valley in January.

2015 marks a record year for the PACE finance approach across Texas, and interest is growing in several other counties. Even better, all are following the stakeholder-designed PACE in a Box model toolkit – meaning PACE is uniform, user-friendly, and market-based throughout the state. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Texas| Comments are closed

Building Energy Retrofits Just got a lot Easier with this New Toolkit

toolsBy: Karen Penafiel, Vice President, Advocacy, BOMA International

At its Every Building Conference this summer, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International announced the relaunch of its BOMA Energy Performance (BEPC) toolkit.  BEPC is an industry-vetted, proven process to plan, procure, and implement performance-driven building retrofits that has been used in successful projects around the world. For this reason, BEPC and the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) are a “natural fit.”

ICP, an Environmental Defense Fund initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how projects are developed and energy savings are calculated. Together, BEPC and ICP can be used to execute successful, reliable, investment-grade energy retrofit projects from concept through measurement and verification.

ICP’s Roadmap to Investor Confidence lays out six major steps in the project development cycle: origination, project development, quality assurance, certification, underwriting, contracting, and performance. BEPC includes a flexible framework and supporting toolkit of template documents that can assist building owners, operators, and program managers at each stage of this process. Two key areas where the BEPC toolkit is particularly useful in the ICP project development cycle are: Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Investor Confidence Project| Tagged , , , , | Read 1 Response
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