As California leads the way into a 21st century clean energy economy, all communities must benefit from the investments we make along the way. California invests billions of dollars annually into helping customers go solar, make their homes and businesses energy efficient, drive electric cars, and more. We also invest in our utilities and green technology companies to help them speed California’s shift to a green economy. Communities of color must benefit from these investments in ways that meet our needs – as customers and as the workforce and entrepreneurial engine for a cleaner, greener energy future.
Communities of color and low-income communities are California’s majority, but we have disproportionately been unable to benefit from the investments California makes in its transition to a clean energy economy. Communities of color disproportionately feel the impacts of pollution, yet our communities remain home to more fossil power plants than solar farms. We disproportionately rent, but the vast majority of California’s rooftop solar and energy efficiency investments and benefits go to homeowners. Low-and moderate-income customers often lack the financial resources to make the up-front investments in clean energy alternatives that will deliver long-term financial, health, and comfort benefits. California needs to think differently about the way we plan for, invest in, and finance our investments in clean energy, so that all have the opportunity to benefit.
Greenlining gives communities of color a voice on major energy issues in California. We engage with legislators, regulators, communities, and the private sector directly to address the most pressing needs and the most promising opportunities impacting our clean energy future. Greenlining has long stood up for the rights of consumers of color and low-income consumers regarding vital programs and services, including low income assistance and the right to billing and information in non-English languages. Now a new wave of critical issues – and opportunities – is emerging in our transition to clean energy.
- Clean Power – Clean energy can reduce monthly energy bills, improve air quality, and create good jobs. We work to ensure that the communities most harmed by fossil fuel dependence are among the first to benefit from the transition to clean power, both as energy customers and as the workers and innovators that drive our clean energy economy.
- Energy Efficiency – We work to make sure that communities of color benefit equitably from the billions of dollars California invests each year in energy efficiency programs and incentives. These benefits include lower monthly energy bills, healthier and more comfortable homes, career-path jobs, and access to pathways out of poverty.
- Supplier Diversity – When minority-owned businesses thrive, communities of color thrive. The California Public Utilities Commission’s supplier diversity program, governed by General Order 156, represents an outstanding model. Greenlining’s Diversity and Inclusion team monitors this program and produces an annual report on its progress, while actively promoting this model in other industries.