Place-Based Power: Communities and Utilities
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
The strategies and barriers of current efforts by cities and local governments to lead on climate change and energy planning and the simultaneous approaches to energy efficiency and renewable energy by utilities in the United States
The evidence that low-income households—and as such, sometimes entire communities —face several distinct barriers to existing approaches
A new framework in which utilities, cities, and partners work together to connect local communities to renewable energy, efficiency, and energy self-sufficiency while meeting city-level climate goals and breaking down utility program silos
MORE COURSE DETAILS
Cities are increasingly leading efforts to reduce energy use, help residents and businesses save money on energy costs, and meet broader economic and sustainability goals. Many leading municipalities have developed climate action plans with aggressive targets and sophisticated strategies for reducing energy use by sector. Meanwhile, utilities across the country are working to adapt to a changing energy landscape. The industry is responding to increasingly erratic weather wrought by climate change, demand for renewables and distributed generation by customers, increasing efficiency mandates, and threats to their business model.
However, as both municipalities and utilities work to address these issues, we struggle to adequately serve low-income populations, who increasingly feel the largest energy burden as they tend to live in more energy-intensive homes and pay a higher proportion of their income for utilities. Increasing numbers of households in the United States are low-income, are underserved by utility energy efficiency programs, and face barriers to distributed generation and innovative rate design. Moreover, poverty is increasing. Low-income households tend to live clustered in communities, many of which suffer from disinvestment across the housing, transportation, and community development sectors. This course delves deep into these geographically-related challenges and provides strategies and case studies for how utilities and municipalities can work together to implement local community-based approaches when addressing energy and climate resiliency.