Integrating a deeper commitment to equity in clean energy programs, policies, and investments can improve and expand clean energy services and technologies for marginalized groups while also creating more just processes, outcomes, and systems. Some groups who have been underserved include Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities, low-income residents, youth, the elderly, recently arrived immigrants, those with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities and the homeless.
Clean energy services can reduce energy costs, bolster economic development through job creation, and promote the health, safety, and well-being of residents. ACEEE research has found disproportionate energy burdens nationally, regionally, and across metro areas for certain groups, including low-income and BIPOC households, renters, older adults.
Policymakers, utilities, and other decisionmakers can help address these energy burden disparities through clean energy policies and programs. They can do so through approaches that address the four dimensions of energy equity: procedural, distributional, structural, and transgenerational. These approaches address how decisions are made, how benefits and burdens are distributed, and how they address current barriers and structures. Equitable energy policies often address issues of energy access and affordability, procedural justice and democracy, economic participation and community ownership, and health and environmental impacts. The Initiative for Energy Justice has resources to learn more about energy justice, including resources to examine and measure energy justice locally.
ACEEE’s Leading with Equity Initiative
In February 2021, ACEEE announced the Leading with Equity Initiative which will convene community-based organizations, advocates, and utilities to jointly define success for equitable decarbonization, and then work to embed these understandings across ACEEE’s research and policy outreach. We will collaborate to push the needle to develop new policy, encourage necessary data collection, and foster collaboration to achieve more equitable decarbonization. Through this initiative, we will develop metrics across ACEEE’s City, State, Utility, and State Transportation Electrification Scorecards that capture progress towards equity-centered clean energy policies and program outcomes as defined by those we convene. We aim to ensure that frontline communities are representative and driving the development of our improved metrics. If you are interested in learning more about our equity metric efforts and/or want to share your recommendation(s) around improving and expanding equity metrics for city, state, and utility decarbonization, please complete this survey to keep up to date on the initiative and for ways to be involved.
For more information or to contact a researcher, please visit the Local Policy research program.