Promote geographic diversity

Often, too much emphasis is paid to targeting clean energy in urban areas, ignoring important rural and Indigenous communities that are most in need of renewable energy.

Representation of the geographic diversity of each state is important. Often, too much emphasis is paid to targeting clean energy in urban areas, ignoring rural and Indigenous communities that are most in need of renewable energy.

Energy & Agricultural: There is more to be explored in the connection between energy and agricultural policies, particularly if biofuels should not be included as renewable. Energy policies need to support families to produce sustainable agriculture, while at the same time promoting equitable energy policies that lead to air quality improvements and emissions reductions.

Policy recommendations

In many rural and Indigenous contexts, advocates designing 100% regenerative policies must consider:

  • Varying rural contexts. Many rural communities are not even connected to the grid and still operate off of propane tanks for their energy. Natural gas is even completely out of the equation, nevermind rooftop solar that is still connected to the grid. Many BIPOC and frontline communities in rural areas advocate moving away from large scale solar and new transmissions. Alternatives for rural communities include:
    • Public transportation: Creative options such as rideshare and van pools for rural communities, as well as access to affordable electric vehicle options and infrastructure. (See Prioritize Transportation Justice section for more details).
    • Housing: Healthy homes, energy efficiency, and rooftop solar that is appropriate for homes in rural communities.
  • Sensitive lands. Siting large scale solar and wind on sensitive rural lands could be environmentally detrimental.
  • Grid connectivity. Many rural residences that are not connected to the grid require “off grid solar” options.
  • Tribal lands. When Tribal lands are considered for renewables development, culturally sensitive locations, sacred sites, ancestral lands that might not be on official Tribal land should be off limits to renewable energy projects.
  • Metrics to measure investments in rural and Tribal lands.

In urban contexts, advocates should include the following in the development of 100% regenerative policies:

  • A variety of clean energy options to achieve the 100% goal including energy efficiency, rooftop solar, solar thermal, and community solar.
  • Opportunities for renters to be prioritized and receive economic benefits in energy efficiency and local renewable energy.
  • Prevent displacement with any transit-oriented development elements.
  • The challenge of utility scale renewable energy being sited far from local communities that limits access to renewable energy jobs and to local public health improvements.
  • When urban areas pass energy policies, ensure the rest of the state or region is not preempted. There are reports of cases where policies in urban areas preempt policies and financing in rural areas of the state.

Consider cost of living and what it means to be “low-income.” The cost of living is the amount of money needed to sustain a certain standard of living by affording basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. “Agencies calculate the cost of living by finding prices for a representative sample of goods and services, then take into account how much of a person’s budget would be consumed by the item in a year.”[1] As improvements are made to buildings and renewable energy is constructed, advocates must factor in the potential rise in cost of living and institute policies to prevent displacement of BIPOC and frontline communities.

Examples

Example of green Tribal legislation: The Navajo Nation became the first Native American tribe to pass green jobs legislation intended to grow thousands of jobs in ways that follow the Navajo traditions of respecting the Earth... The legislation defines “green businesses” as businesses and industries that contribute to the economy with little or no generation of greenhouse gases and/or can counteract the negative effects of greenhouse gases...The commission also expects to fund weavers’ co-operatives and wool mills, since shepherding and weaving wool are part of traditional Navajo culture. Energy will be a focus in the form of weatherization, energy efficiency and small-scale solar and wind projects within homes and communities.[2]

References

  1. Cost of Living, How to Calculate, Compare, Rank.” the balance. Accessed 27 Jul. 2019.
  2. Shin, Laura. “Navajo Nation Approves First Tribal ‘Green Jobs’ Legislation.” Inside Climate News, 22 Jul. 2009. Accessed 4 Sep. 2019.