Over 200 communities have drawn a line in the sand by establishing commitments to 100% clean energy. To implement these commitments equitably and effectively, power and resources must shift dramatically. History is littered with broken political promises. However, in a time of compounding public health crises and climate devastation, it is so important to hold the line on our commitments. We must achieve equitable and complete transitions to 100% clean energy. The stakes are too high not to.
Communities need strong shared accountability to implement commitments as bold and extensive as 100% clean energy. In December 2019, forty-four leaders in environmental justice, clean energy, local government, electric utilities, and accountability met in Miami, FL for a “100% Accountability Convening.” Together they created a Shared Accountability Framework and Guide to help communities like yours meet this challenge.
Keep your community on track toward an equitable transition to 100% clean energy.
The Shared Accountability Framework helps stakeholder teams consistently answer, “are we on or off track toward our goal of an equitable transition to 100% clean energy?” The Shared Accountability Guide is a companion document that helps community and local government leaders establish a customized accountability process that will stand the test of time. Use these documents to establish a shared accountability process as a first step to a comprehensive 100% clean energy implementation plan.
A step-by-step guide to creating an accountability process in your community.
While there’s no one-size fits-all strategy to power your community with 100% clean, renewable energy, one thing’s for sure—it’s absolutely possible. We know this because dozens of cities in the United States are currently powered by renewably-sourced electricity. Furthermore, a solution that could “work” everywhere wouldn’t address the unique needs of your community. While the national network of campaigns is united by a steadfast commitment to clean energy for all, the utility that powers your community and the laws regulating it will have similarities and differences to others.
Decision makers may try to make your team responsible for creating a 100% implementation plan. Since you're not part of the typical process, you'll be at risk of having your solutions dismissed, even by those who put you in that position.
That’s why this guide focuses on holding decision makers accountable. It’s possible that there will be deeper structural barriers blocking progress—a monopoly utility or disagreeable state legislature for example. Your local allies can become regional champions of the cause.
You don’t have to be an expert in energy policy, but you should feel comfortable using some terms, staying consistent and ensuring equity.
For example, in Utah, when Rocky Mountain Power wouldn’t meet the demands of Salt Lake City, Moab, and Park City’s 100% renewable energy commitments, Salt Lake City’s leadership brought the utility to the table to help pass a proactive bill through their state’s conservative legislature. It instructed Rocky Mountain Power to create a product to supply renewable energy to cities who had passed commitments by 2030. At the end of 2019, 20 communities, representing over a quarter of all Utahns, made commitments to participate in the program.
You can’t have all the answers, but you can work to identify the needs of your community and hold your decision makers accountable to meet them. You can also stay connected to national networks of clean energy activists to stay up to date on creative solutions from across the country.
Steer the Planning Process
If you have experience fighting for specific policies, this toolkit may have challenged you to take a different approach to creating change. Our communities are at a crossroads: continue relying on fossil fuels or adopt new clean energy technologies. With a powerful, representative group of stakeholders at the table, your community can plan for the future and ensure that it’s ready to implement and benefit from renewable energy without leaving anyone behind.
By establishing a commitment to 100% clean, renewable energy, your community will have set a vision for the future, and through your organizing, you’ve created a group of people with an interest in making it a reality. This toolkit has pushed you to build power by centering equity in your work and organizing an inclusive team. Through this organizing, the scales of power between your local decision makers and this Ready For 100 campaign have begun to change.
You’ve already read about self-interest in this toolkit, and a stakeholder group is any group of individuals with their own self-interests in a topic at hand. A strong stakeholder group is representative of your community and the array of interests throughout—especially including frontline voices that are often left out. One guideline from the suggested Guidelines for 100% Community Commitments is building an inclusive and transparent planning process. Luckily, you’ve been working to build an inclusive team that worked to inform a solid, equitable renewable energy commitment. Part II of the Shared Accountability Guide walks you through creating a democratic and equitable stakeholder group.
After your decision makers establish a renewable energy commitment, they need to start planning for how to get there. Approach your decision maker and ask them to fund a planning process to implement 100% clean, renewable energy if it wasn’t included in their initial commitment. The pathways they plan for should be informed by the stakeholder team you’ve built.
Clean Energy Atlanta is a strong example of a 100% clean, renewable energy implementation plan.
Try to answer these questions before moving on.
True! Celebration is an important part of a healthy team. You’ve worked hard to get here, so take the time to celebrate your achievements and thank your team.
B. Unfortunately, our work cannot end when a pledge is made. We have to continue to pressure decision makers and their influencers to enact the changes they’ve promised to make.
False. You will most likely need to set up a new accountability team made up of experts, collaborators, people in impacted communities, underrepresented voices, advisers and influencers.