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How cities are using clean energy commitments to prosper

Cities have long been testing grounds for policy innovation. That identity is critical as we barrel headfirst into an urbanized world. As of 2014, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, over 6 billion people will live in cities.

So, it only makes practical and economic sense that local leaders around the world have doubled-downed on addressing one of, if not the, biggest threats to humans and the planet we call home: climate change.

In fact, over 300 U.S. mayors have reaffirmed their commitment to meet the climate reduction goals set forth in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Innovation, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

New Report: How cities can prosper with 100 percent clean energy

Over 70 cities across the globe have set targets to achieve 100 percent clean energy and made commitments to cut a billion tons of greenhouse gases by 2030. These trend-setting jurisdictions are found across the U.S. – underscoring that local leaders recognize the resiliency, cost-savings, job-creation, and pollution-reduction benefits clean energy investment provides.

That said, making the clean energy transition is something new: Clean energy isn’t an established city service like picking up the trash. Nor has it always been a major focus of cities. Here’s where a new report from Meister Consultants provides some guidance (Environmental Defense Fund staff provided technical guidance to the report’s authors).

The Meister report outlines options for cities pursuing 100 percent clean energy. It explains how to evaluate the clean energy landscape and can help officials understand the value of key actions and policies like renewable portfolio standards, incentives for distributed energy generation like rooftop solar panels, and power purchasing agreements which allow third parties to own clean energy assets like wind turbines and other renewables.  Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy / Read 2 Responses

Nation’s Largest City-Owned Utility Uses Equity Metrics to Ensure All Residents Have Clean Energy

This week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest municipal utility in the country, released the Equity Metrics Data Initiative (EMDI) “to track, measure, and report on how its programs are provided to all customers and residents of Los Angeles.” This data will help ensure the utility’s investments and programs are reaching all Angelenos.

EMDI is the LADWP’s first effort to use data in the pursuit of equity in planning a clean energy future for all of us. Data gathered during the initiative will be used to create a baseline for measuring the impacts of and access to investment and services from LADWP. These include things like energy efficiency programs, solar incentives, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure ─ tracking how they reach different neighborhoods and customers, particularly those with economic and environmental vulnerabilities. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy / Tagged | Read 1 Response

The Future is California – How the State is Charting a Path Forward on Clean Energy

29812927675_a0c937acac_kThe late California historian Kevin Starr once wrote, “California had long since become one of the prisms through which the American people, for better and for worse, could glimpse their future.” These words have never felt truer. Just ask Gov. Jerry Brown or the leaders of the state legislature, who are all issuing various calls to action to protect and further the state’s leading climate and energy policies.

California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the most populous state in the nation. What’s more, we’ve shown that strong climate and energy policy is possible while building a dynamic economy. We’ve proved that clean energy creates far more jobs than fossil fuels – nationwide, more than 400,000, compared with 50,000 coal mining jobs – while protecting the natural world for all people.

It’s no shock our leaders are fired up. There’s too much at stake. With our state’s diverse, booming yet unequal economy, we are not unlike the rest of the nation. State-level leadership is more important than ever, and other states can and should learn from California to drive action across the U.S. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Solar Energy, Time of Use / Read 2 Responses

Reaching California’s Clean Energy Goals Requires Inclusive Solutions

ga_navajo_azJust over a year ago, California’s SB 350 became law and was rightly celebrated for its boldness and impact, increasing the state’s renewable energy mix to 50 percent and doubling energy efficiency buildings. Today, a less heralded provision of SB 350 – charging the California Energy Commission with studying barriers to clean energy – pushes us toward exceeding our renewables and efficiency aspirations. Moreover, it recognizes that in order for the state to realize its climate and energy future, planning must include and reflect the needs of all Californians.

Through the SB 350 Barriers Study, the commission has engaged consumers, businesses, local leaders, environmental groups, and others to identify strategies that can unlock clean energy investments and spur growth in low-income and disadvantaged communities across the state.

The final version of the study and recommendations are scheduled for release later this month, just in time for lawmakers to noodle on the robust and far-ranging ideas before the 2017 legislative session. In addition, the commission – in conjunction with the California Air Resources Board – will issue a companion report about barriers to clean transportation. The study and its companion report are the kinds of tools that are critical for California to reach its clean energy goals. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy / Comments are closed

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 »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles / Comments are closed