Hi everyone, I’m Eric. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked to advance clean energy and community-level climate leadership in San Luis Obispo and beyond.
Today, I’m proud to be working in partnership with the Let’s Green CA! team. As you know, we’re dedicated to creating bottom-up solutions to the climate crisis, and I want to provide a window into our work here on California’s Central Coast.
That's me. I proudly led the development of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s solar farm.
Together, the Romero Institute, Let’s Green CA!, the SLO Climate Coalition, Uniting the Central Coast for Action, and a number of like-minded climate, labor, and environmental justice groups are working together to establish strong workforce and environmental justice standards at community choice energy (CCE) programs across the state. This work is key to equitable climate action. Let me explain: over the past decade, California communities up and down the state have enthusiastically joined CCE programs in order to secure local, democratic control of their energy futures. Today, more than 200 California cities and counties are powered by CCEs serving more than 11 million customers. CCEs now supply nearly 40% of the energy previously controlled by California’s three monopoly utilities—PG&E, SoCal Edison, and SDG&E. It’s clear: community-driven CCE programs represent California’s energy future.
Over the last fifteen years, diverse groups of activists and organizations—including myself and Let’s Green CA!—have dedicated hundreds of thousands of hours to help create the CCEs so many Californians benefit from today. We fought for community energy with a vision that not only included the development of clean, low carbon energy, but focused on generating equitable community benefits such as energy resiliency, good jobs, and environmental justice for those harmed by the fossil fuel economy. CCEs have become one of our most powerful tools in both responding to the climate crisis and building thriving communities.
As cities and counties across California continue to create locally controlled energy programs, CCEs will soon be responsible for buying and building the vast majority of California’s future clean energy supply and storage projects. Yet, our CCEs generally lack specific policies that guide energy project procurement standards and preferences. The procurement status quo for CCEs focus primarily on financial considerations with weak or absent evaluation processes or contracting language that value local development, environmental justice considerations, workforce hiring and training standards, project community benefits, and thoughtful environmental siting. Our coalition aims to ensure a healthy, sustainable and equitable energy future for California by codifying strong environmental justice (EJ) and workforce standards in CCEs up and down the state, and we’ve crafted a policy that would do just that.
Our campaign seeks to have this policy adopted uniformly as industry standard for energy project procurement by all California CCEs and by California Community Power, a recently-formed collaborative energy procurement “super-agency,” which comprises ten northern California CCE programs.
The resolution encourages the following practices:
Targeted hiring of women, minorities, gender non-conforming individuals, residents of low income communities, the formerly incarcerated and veterans;
Meaningful engagement with disadvantaged community stakeholders;
Identification of project benefits for host communities;
Preference for industry standard project labor agreements (learn more about the benefits of PLAs here);
Transparent evaluation and selection of projects considering workforce, environmental justice, and community benefits balanced with technical and financial considerations.
Just as an alliance of community advocates led the charge to create CCE programs up and down the state, local democratic participation can ensure community values inform local energy procurement. Working together, we have the opportunity to shape our local workforce, our communities and our energy future, for the better. I’ll keep you updated on our progress. As always, thank you for your support.