Energy Democracy: Community-Led Solutions

The Center for Social Inclusion

Year: 2013

We can and must support communities to adapt to and be resilient in the face of climate change. We will only succeed when all of us are able to participate. That means community-scale solutions that include communities of color, which are both the fastest growing populations in the nation and the most impacted by climate change. The Center for Social Inclusion has scanned the country for models, strategies and ideas that can help communities be resilient and innovative in fighting climate change. This requires an “all hands on deck” to:

  1. Build on the strategies communities are already using to create community-scale energy;
  2. Understand the particular challenges and barriers that communities of color face in tackling climate change; and
  3. Develop policy solutions that support community-scale innovation, so people no longer have to rely on Big Oil or Big Coal to meet their energy needs.

Download Energy Democracy: Community-Led Solutions

What the case studies find is simply inspiring. Across the country people are providing answers to climate change at a local scale.

  • Neighborhoods are aggregating their purchasing power to make energy efficiency and solar energy on their homes more affordable.
  • Communities are forming worker-owned cooperatives that provide energy efficiency services or solar installations and create green jobs.
  • New financing strategies are making it possible for all people, including those who don’t own their homes, to participate in community renewable energy projects.

This report compiles the stories of three communities of color working to develop renewable energy strategies.

  • Community Innovation in Boston looks at non-profits collaborating to create an employee-owned energy service cooperative to weatherize low-income homes and provide living wage jobs.
  • Broadway Triangle: Multiracial Efforts for a Sustainable Neighborhood focuses on a neighborhood-wide planning effort to build an energy-plus housing project with 80% affordable units and its own renewable energy generation in Brooklyn, NY.
  • People Powered Policy celebrates community-driven climate action planning, community-solar projects and racially equitable policies in Oakland, California.

Table of Contents

Case Study 1

Community Innovation in Boston
Case Study 2
Broadway Triangle: Multi-Racial Efforts Towards a Sustainable Neighborhood
Case Study 3
People-Powered Policy: Communities of Color Lead on Climate Change and Solar Energy in Oakland, California