Advancing Energy Equity in California
Stop the bad, build the new.
For too long, environmental justice communities have paid the highest price for dirty energy. Too many of our friends and neighbors have asthma, bronchitis, and lung cancer from breathing in toxic and polluted air. Too many struggle to pay rising utility bills for dirty energy that is poisoning them and driving the climate crisis. We’re tired of an energy system that leaves our communities sick.
CEJA envisions a fundamentally new energy system for our state — one that is just, democratic, equitable, and powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy.
We envision a California with a clean and modernized grid, where dirty power plants and oil refineries are shut down, our rooftops are blanketed with solar, and community resilience centers offer clean and reliable backup power to our most vulnerable residents.
Our communities know this means we need to unplug corporate polluters and power-up our community-led solutions to create local, green economic development. This is why CEJA is leading dynamic campaigns where we put energy decisions in the hands of the community. Our goal is to ensure communities at the frontlines of climate change are prioritized in the Just Transition to a clean, regenerative, and resilient energy future. We aim to stop the bad, build the new, and change the rules by passing bold and visionary policies that: (1) phase out fossil fuels and build clean energy and energy resources in EJ communities, (2) give EJ voices a seat at the table where energy decisions are made, and (3) create thousands of local, good-paying jobs and economic opportunities for EJ communities.
1. Phase out Fossil Fuels and Build Clean Energy & Energy Resources in EJ Communities
It’s no secret that fossil fuel pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are at the roots of the climate crisis, hurting EJ communities first and worst. To protect our world from planetary collapse and ensure a Just Transition, CEJA advocates for fossil fuel phase out and clean energy investment in EJ communities. We do this through the following campaigns and projects that support our theory of change:
- Regenerate California. The Regenerate California campaign is led by CEJA along with our members Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and partner the Sierra Club. We share a vision for California where we run on 100% clean renewable energy – ensuring our children grow up breathing clean air and the most impacted communities have access to renewable energy and local jobs. Learn more at Regeneratecalifornia.org.
- Regulatory advocacy at the California Public Utilities Commission. We are currently involved in the following proceedings: Resource Adequacy, Integrated Resource Planning, Microgrids.
- Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA). CEJA works with EEFA’s California cohort to expand energy efficiency and renewable energy investment within our frontline communities already bearing the worst impacts of climate change, particularly in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and disadvantaged communities.
2. Give EJ Members a Seat at the Table Where Energy Decisions are Made.
Our current energy system concentrates power and wealth in the hands of the few, and shuts our communities out. Achieving true environmental justice requires putting communities at the front and center of the decisions that impact their everyday lives. This means empowering communities through education; reducing social, political, and economic barriers for engagement; and changing outdated rules and structures within state agencies and governments. At CEJA, we advance equity through the following campaigns and projects:
- Community Choice Aggregator research and discussions. Read our new report here.
- Community Workshops on energy issues including SOMAH, microgrids, and the electric grid.
- Reclaim Our Power, a campaign led by CEJA members APEN and PODER, along with partners Movement Generation, North Bay Organizing Project and the Local Clean Energy Alliance.
3. Create Thousands of Local, Good-Paying Jobs & Economic Opportunities
There is no energy justice without a Just Transition for workers. This means developing a plan and passing policies that ensure displaced fossil fuel workers have the financial resources, training, and skillset to transition into jobs in the clean energy economy. Importantly, the transition to a regenerative economy must prioritize economic benefits and opportunities in historically underserved and low-income communities. At CEJA, we advance our vision for a Just Transition through a combination of research, advocacy, and partnerships with labor allies.
CEJA is building democratic, equitable energy solutions that do not reproduce ecologically and socially harmful energy and social systems, starting with the communities who have borne the burden of pollution for decades.
- We want California to transition to 100% equitable renewable energy by 2050. We believe that transition must start with people and communities who are most directly impacted by our current fossil fuel economy.
- We are working to ensure environmental justice communities and their needs are prioritized in California energy policies.
- We are advancing policies at the California Public Utilities Commission that promote a transition off of fossil fuels and promote local renewable energy.
- We are building CEJA’s expertise and alliances with labor and groups in the clean energy jobs sector to help win policies that lead to meaningful, equitable local jobs.
- We are growing our movement and organizing communities to build out local renewable energy generation and develop good jobs.
We want to flip the script on energy policy-making. We envision a world where community members drive decisions at the statewide level rather than the utilities and large energy developers and energy infrastructure is built in the best interest of human health, the economy and the environment.