EESI is delighted to announce that it has received a one-year grant from the Surdna Foundation to support community-led transitions to clean energy. Surdna’s support will be important in enabling EESI’s work on opportunities for the equitable expansion of clean energy, on support for communities historically dependent on coal, and on advancing community energy and sustainable, affordable housing. Using its proven model honed over its 30+ years of existence, EESI will pursue these goals by engaging with the federal policymaking community as well as key state and local stakeholders through its Congressional briefings, fact sheets, newsletters, articles, and face-to-face meetings.
The Clean Power Plan is the first federal attempt at regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants in the United States. The move toward clean energy resulting from the Clean Power Plan will also reduce soot and smog, preventing thousands of premature deaths. Minority and low-income communities, which are more likely to be located in areas burdened with pollution, will particularly benefit from these emission reductions. Though it has been challenged by several states and is now being reviewed by the courts, the Clean Power Plan is likely to survive in some form, making it essential to prepare for its implementation. EESI will help show how the federal government and local authorities can engage with low-income communities and communities of color to ensure that our entire country benefits from the transition to clean energy.
Over the past decade, the United States has been moving away from coal; this transition will no doubt accelerate should the Clean Power Plan come into force. Burning coal emits harmful pollutants, including large quantities of carbon dioxide, and so the move away from coal is to be welcomed. However, communities that rely on coal-related jobs are suffering. These communities are often geographically isolated and have few other economic opportunities. They need—and deserve—help as they find new ways to support themselves; job training, access to opportunities, and hope for a stable, sustainable future. EESI will help bring attention to these communities, and showcase policies that can help them cope with the transition to clean energy.
Additionally, EESI is committed to providing solutions for low-income communities whose housing is often old and inefficient, forcing people to spend too much of their limited incomes on energy that is wasted. Many may feel that opportunities to benefit from clean energy and energy efficiency are few and far between, and residents are often unaware of opportunities that do exist. EESI will tackle these challenges by demonstrating that clean energy opportunities can exist in low-income communities, particularly through mechanisms like on-bill financing and standards like Passive House, and that affordable, sustainable housing is not a contradiction in terms (see our article, "Super Energy Efficient Retrofits Make Low Income Housing Even More Affordable").
About the Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States -- communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. Learn more at www.surdna.org.