Everything listed under: energy democracy

  • Demos & Sierra Club Presidents Op Ed for Climate Justice

    Demos & Sierra Club Presidents Op Ed for Climate Justice

    Heather McGhee, president of Demos, and Aaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club, teamed up recently to pen an opposition editorial  in favor of climate justice which was published in the Albany Times Union. We have re-posted the piece here for those who are not paid subscribers to that news outlet. 

    Power on to generate cleaner N.Y.

    State leaders have taken great strides on the path toward creating a sustainable, clean energy economy for the people of New York. In 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo withstood a multimillion-dollar lobbying and public relations onslaught by fossil fuel interests and banned fracking across the state, preventing what would have been a huge step backward for New Yorkers' health and safety and for our environment and economy.

    In 2016, the state Assembly struck a blow for climate justice and true economic revitalization by passing the Climate and Community Protection Act, the strongest legislation of its kind in the United States. In 2017, there should be no looking back.

    We know this won't be easy, for one big reason: Fossil fuel interests have a lot at stake in trying to stop our state's clean energy momentum. As a new report from the Public Accountability Initiative shows, dozens of fossil fuel corporations, associations and related interests are pursuing their agenda through the Business Council of New York State. The council has already made its extreme and unpopular position clear in opposing the CCPA when it was introduced last spring, going so far as to attack the legislation as "the end of manufacturing, farming, buses, trucks, cars and finally people."

    But as we saw in the grass-roots driven fracking fight, people power can win the fight for clean power. And the CCPA is backed by NY Renews, a 90-member, statewide coalition of labor, environmental justice, social justice, good government and environmental groups (our organizations, Demos and the Sierra Club, are both members).

    The bill codifies into law the goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and is designed to meet Cuomo's own hugely popular Clean Energy Standard of getting to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

    The CCPA's real strength, however, lies in its emphasis on achieving climate goals in an equitable and inclusive way. The CCPA mandates that a substantial share of the new investment we will need to achieve a zero-carbon energy system must be targeted for low-income communities (currently the share is set at 40 percent).

    With this targeted approach, the CCPA goes on the offensive for the health and prosperity of working class New Yorkers, especially low-wage workers in communities of color. Communities of color have disproportionately borne the harms of fossil fuel pollution, while gaining few of the benefits of the economic growth that, increasingly, only the richest New Yorkers enjoy. We need a clean energy policy that remedies such injustice and disadvantage in a big way.

    With targeted investment in energy efficiency upgrades for low-income households, equitable access to renewable energy, public transit and other equitable, low-carbon transit solutions, and health programs and infrastructure investments to enhance the resiliency of climate-vulnerable communities, New Yorkers struggling to get by in today's anti-worker, highly segregated economy will benefit from a surge of new, high-quality jobs.

    But the CCPA's win-win logic of marrying climate, equity and job-creation goals does have one big loser: the fossil fuel industry and its political and ideological allies in many of our country's elected bodies. On behalf of its big-money members, the Business Council of New York will be tasked with trying to stop the momentum on clean energy.

    Thankfully, Cuomo and the state Assembly have made it quite clear that New York state cannot be bought or bullied by the fossil fuel interests. Instead, the state is putting people first by forging the job-creating clean energy economy we need to secure a better future. Let's hope that further strong leadership in Albany, and legislative victory, turn 2017 into a breakthrough year for clean energy and economic opportunity across the state.

    Heather McGhee is president of Demos. Aaron Mair is president of the Sierra Club.

    #NYRENEWS #ClimateChange #EnergyDemocrcay 

    Posted on Fri, October 28, 2016 by PUSH Buffalo

  • Post Featured Image

    Meet the Andujar Family!

    Mom Iris and her son Nathaniel have lived on the West Side of Buffalo for decades. Two years ago, they were able to purchase a home that they had rented years earlier. The first winter revealed a leaking roof which they were unable to afford to repair. Too many of our neighbors have similar issues, structural repair needs that are beyond their budget, and that sadly keep them from accessing energy efficiency programs. The folks that could benefit most from energy efficiency are left out. So, we created the Warm & Dry on the West Side Initiative!

    For the Andujar's, we were able to use our funding to repair the roof and other structural issues, and then we worked with them to access weatherization, appliance upgrades and insulation through NYSERDA. Now cold rooms and drafts are a thing of the past, and they are living greener, healthier and more sustainably. Not only that, helping homeowners stay in their homes makes our community stable and healthy. When you factor in the value of reducing our carbon footprint and creating good paying green jobs - it's a win-win-win!

  • Shared Solar Win!


    Solar energy has been on the rise for a while and it is becoming a major way to save money on the electricity you use in your household.

    What solar does is becoming increasingly understood, there is one huge pitfall to the way the structure is around solar energy – it only benefits homeowners whose homes qualify for a solar panel.

    So who’s getting left behind?

    · Homeowners whose roofs do not face the correct direction
    · People who rent

    In a city like Buffalo, there are a high number of people who, by this virtue, are being left out of the energy savings of solar power. Here at PUSH Buffalo, it is our mission to identify when this is the case and bring the power to the people. Literally.

    Community organizers and PUSH personnel has been working on a state-wide initiative to bring shared solar to our state. While details are still being hashed out, there has been some progress in shared solar which will allow for all those being left out of the solar game a chance to participate. There are ideas for a subscription model that would allow for an agency to own a solar panel and allow community members a chance to subscribe to the panel for energy credits. There is a co-operative model that would allow a group of homeowners to put their resources in a pot and benefit from a single panel.

    For more information, you can call PUSH Buffalo or check the website for more information regarding the solar work as part of the Energy Democracy campaign.

    Solar panel is the wave of the future – we’re working hard to ensure that it’ll be there for all.


  • Germany teaches PUSH about energy


    Energy Transition, or "Energiewende," in Germany

    Energiewende, or Energy Transition, is the process that has put Germany at the lead globally in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Last month, PUSH Executive Director, Aaron Bartley, traveled to Germany to learn more from these global leaders in energy.

    We asked Aaron to recall his trip for us and here’s what he had to say, in his own words.

    1. It is possible for small communities to build electric generation and heat systems that are community owned, off-the-grid, 100% renewable, and cheaper than utilities. In Feldheim, we met with a community member who described partnerships with a wind entrepreneur to build dozes of turbines at the edge of town. He also partnered with other contractors to build micro-grids to fain independence from the utilities and install central heat systems for the whole town.

    2. The transition to renewables relies on our ability to build a social movement rooted in Energy Democracy. In Germany, this moment came out of a crisis: the Chernobyl disaster. The entire society was affected deeply by the fear of nuclear clouds overhead. That led to social movements and mass consciousness about energy. This was important both to build the political support needed for policies and so that citizens felt connected enough to the problem and solution that they themselves wanted to play a role by investing in solar and wind.

    3. The transition doesn’t come cheap. Germans pay a tax to support the transition. This makes it unpopular in some areas, but the public generally supports the energiewende because of their consciousness about climate change.  

    4. Clear and transparent standards are important. Practically everyone in the country knows the goals for renewable energy production and carbon reduction for 2020 and 2040.

    Co-sponsored by the research institute EcoLogic and the German government, Aaron and nine others drawn from the world of think tanks, policy advocacy, and philanthropy also attended the tri-city tour of Berlin, Hamburg, and Feldheim.

    This trip is particularly exciting for those of us at PUSH Buffalo and PUSH Green. We believe in giving people as much autonomy in their consumption of energy, an idea encapsulated by the Energy Democracy work we’re actively engaged in. That’s why we’re taking our necessary steps with our weatherization and energy efficiency work – to keep less dollars in your pocket, not in corporations.

    While we work on this, want to get started in your own way? Call us for a free energy assessment and we’ll figure out where we can help make your home warmer and your wallet fuller.

    In solidarity,

    PUSH Green


    Feldheim, Germany - 100% of renewable energy produced locally