Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions

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Island Press, Oct 12, 2017 - Science - 287 pages
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A global energy war is underway. It is man versus nature, fossil fuel versus clean energy, the haves versus the have-nots, and, fundamentally, an extractive economy versus a regenerative economy. The near-unanimous consensus among climate scientists is that the massive burning of gas, oil, and coal is having a cataclysmic impact on our atmosphere and climate, and depleting earth’s natural resources, including its land, food, fresh water and biodiversity.

These climate and environmental impacts are particularly magnified and debilitating for low-income communities and communities of color that live closest to toxic sites, are disproportionately impacted by high incidences of asthma, cancer and rates of morbidity and mortality, and lack the financial resources to build resilience to climate change.

Energy democracy tenders a response and joins the environmental and climate movements with broader movements for social and economic change. Energy democracy is a way to frame the international struggle of working people, low income communities, and communities of color to take control of energy resources from the energy establishment and use those resources to empower their communities—literally providing energy, economically, and politically. Energy democracy is more important than ever as climate and social justice advocates confront a shocking political reality in the U.S.

This volume brings together racial, cultural, and generational perspectives. This diversity is bound together by a common operating frame: that the global fight to save the planet—to conserve and restore our natural resources to be life-sustaining—must fully engage community residents and must change the larger economy to be sustainable, democratic, and just. The contributors offer their perspectives and approaches to climate and clean energy from rural Mississippi, to the South Bronx, to Californian immigrant and refugee communities, to urban and semi-rural communities in the Northeast. Taken together, the contributions in this book show what an alternative, democratized energy future can look like, and will inspire others to take up the struggle to build the energy democracy movement.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
Charting the Pathway for Energy Democracy
21
3 The Case for a Just Transition
37
4 Energy Democracy Through Local Energy Equity
57
APENs Work in East Bay Asian Immigrant and Refugee Communities
77
6 Organizing for Energy Democracy in Rural Electric Cooperatives
93
Energy Democracy and the Labor Movement
113
8 Democratizing MunicipalScale Power
139
9 CommunityAnchor Strategies for Energy Democracy
173
10 New Economy Energy Cooperatives Bring Power to the People
195
11 Building Power Through CommunityBased Project Development
219
Building an Energy Democracy Movement
239
Contributors
251
Index
259
IP Board of Directors
275
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About the author (2017)

Denise Fairchild is president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national non-profit organization of business, labor, and community groups dedicated to climate resilience strategies that produce environmental, economic, and equity outcomes.

Al Weinrub is coordinator of the Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA), the Bay Area's largest clean energy coalition. The LCEA promotes the equitable development and democratization of local renewable energy resources as key to addressing climate change and building sustainable and resilient communities.

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