Energy Democracy in Boston

Check out a new case study from Center for Social Inclusion on energy democracy efforts in Boston. This report features the efforts of 3 Boston groups to launch a community-owned energy efficiency company. I was involved in planning for this initiative while with ACE, working with folks from Boston Workers Alliance and Chinese Progressive Association.

CSI identified the challenges facing the groups’ efforts, which include: a lack of resources to support leadership and capacity, a lack of financial resources to leverage private capital and a lack of transparency and inclusion in the decision-making process for state-sponsored weatherization programs.

Key takeaways from this case study are:

  1. Establishing community trust is critical to pursuing energy efficiency efforts;
  2. Foundations or city governments should provide low-interest loans to help communities of color leverage support for private capital;
  3. Community-based Energy Improvement Districts (EIDs) provide opportunities for communities of color to engage in energy efficiency financing, decision-making and implementation efforts.

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Distinguished Senior Lecturer and Director of Master of Public Policy and Community Practice, Tufts University Department of Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning

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