Community organizations led by the East Bay Clean Power Alliance are thrilled with the adoption tonight of a groundbreaking plan for local clean energy investment by East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), Alameda County’s new Community Choice energy program. A portion of East Bay Community Energy net revenues from electricity sales will now be invested into providing local clean energy benefits. This action makes EBCE the first Community Choice program in the nation to launch with genuine roadmap and commitment to bring local development and health benefit to the community.
The Local Development Business Plan (LDBP), as it is called, can maximize community benefits such as local solar, wind and energy efficiency projects and incentives for the East Bay. In addition, East Bay Community Energy is utilizing outside grants to fund some local development projects such as solar and storage on critical facilities such as fire stations and hospitals. The LDBP was adopted in a unanimous vote by the EBCE board.
Many community leaders gathered for a “Clean Power to the People” rally in support of the Plan’s adoption before the EBCE Board meeting. These leaders have been advocating for an East Bay Community Choice program with a commitment to local clean energy solutions for years.
“Thanks to efforts of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance, the East Bay Community Energy program has the potential to bring equitable economic development and jobs to communities throughout the county as well as increase the amount of electricity that comes from local clean energy resources,” said Jessica Tovar, coordinator of the East Bay Clean Power Alliance.
“The Local Development Business Plan will ensure East Bay Community Energy is on track to fostering local economic and climate benefits, such as creating clean energy jobs and developing local renewable resources, while also moving toward a clean energy economy,” said Luis Amezcua, member of the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter.
For Rev. Ken Chambers, Pastor of Westside Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, creating jobs and keeping energy wealth in our community has been an important goal for our community. “We need to create opportunities for low income people traditionally shut out of the clean energy economy. We need to train and employ local people like the formerly incarcerated and people of color with family sustaining wage jobs so that we can afford to stay in the Bay Area.”
Community health and safety is critical for our frontline environmental justice communities. “As Nurses, we witness how extreme forms of energy extraction impact human health," said Martha Kuhl, RN, Board of Directors Treasurer for California Nurses Association and First Vice President of the Alameda Labor Council. "Nurses at the bedside see the daily impacts that pollution and toxic emissions have on our health — environmental toxins lead to higher rates of asthma, liver damage, heart and lung disease, cancer, and birth defects."
The creation of EBCE aims to bring climate justice to disadvantaged communities. As a government agency, EBCE has the ability to take in the needs and voices of the people. “About 800 of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) members who reside in Alameda County have tirelessly fought for climate justice on both the state level and the local level," said Jing Jing He of Asian Pacific Environmental Network. "We believe the implementation of the Local Development Business Plan is essential to advancing structural changes and outcomes that create opportunities for low-income communities."
The plan for local clean energy investments in East Bay Community Energy is a game changer. “There is a myth that says we must choose between our jobs and our environment, but we know that there are no jobs on a dead planet. We don’t have to choose between jobs and our environment; we can create quality, green jobs through rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in renewable and sustainable energy,” said Anne Olivia Eldred, Chair of East Bay Community Energy’s Community Advisory Committee.
With this achievement in place, East Bay Clean Power Alliance is organizing to further engage the community to call for millions of dollars of investments towards local clean energy development from a portion of the projected $43 million in net revenues in the first year of EBCE operations.
In October 2016, East Bay Clean Power Alliance, an Alameda County-wide alliance, called for a ground-breaking program that would prioritize equitable development of local renewable resources, creating union and family-sustaining jobs, stimulating local businesses, and include direct community representation in the governance of the program. East Bay Clean Power Alliance called for a business plan to study where and how East Bay Community Energy can invest and incentivize solar, wind and energy efficiency projects. Alameda Board of Supervisors agreed by allocating $500,000 towards a Local Development Business Plan study for East Bay Community Energy.
Local Development Business Plan agenda item and document for July 18, 2018 can be found here on the East Bay Community Energy’s website.