The Wildlife-friendly Community Power Toolkit

Equitable and Wildlife-friendly Community Power Principles

1. Wildlife-friendly power includes only those renewable energy sources that have a minimal impact on wildlife and the environment — including solar installations built on existing structures and well-sited, well-managed wind and solar installations built on already-degraded environments.

2. The value of renewable energy beyond reducing reliance on fossil fuels should be recognized by policymakers, utilities, regulators and ratepayers:

This includes benefits to technological, ecological and social systems beyond those traditionally valued, including but not limited to: local jobs, lower electric bills, climate resiliency, avoided land use, avoided water use and increased pollinator habitat.

3. Projects should strive to achieve economic equity*, which includes but is not limited to the following characteristics:

a.  Workforce development where public funding is directed to strategies that alleviate poverty through developing and supporting livelihood opportunities.

b.  Training: projects that include job/skills training, particularly for parolees and youth ages 16-24.

c.  Local employment, such as hiring for workers, planners, designers, developers, contractors, consultants, etc. that gives preference to immediate neighbors of the project or residents within city limits.

d.  Benefit to residents of low-income housing with projects that serve existing affordable housing communities, defined as serving extremely low (10 to 20 percent of average median income), very low (20 to 40 percent of average median income) and low (40 to 60 percent of average median income) income individuals.

e.  Support to Community Land Trusts (CLTs), where projects that further the mission of CLTs, or serve the low-income residents and beneficiaries of CLT properties.

f.  Projects that employ anti-displacement measures to address both indirect and direct displacement, such as requiring tenants’ rights education and outreach in the project area(s).

g.  Benefit to impacted Environmental Justice communities, such as projects that improve the health, livelihood and welfare of priority areas. These areas include communities that are most affected by multiple sources of pollution, and where people are often especially vulnerable to pollution’s effects.

4. Projects should strive to achieve social inclusion*, which includes but is not limited to the following characteristics:

a.  Include leadership by members of frontline communities and other impacted communities, and incorporates the wisdom of people from these communities. These communities include, but are not limited to, indigenous communities, people of color, people with disabilities, youth and elders.

b.  Provide culturally relevant and accessible education to community members.

c.  Long-term residents should have a strong say in the decisions made about the project. Resident engagement is at the heart of stopping displacement, and more broadly, ensuring self-determination.

* The principles and concepts behind “economic equity” and “social inclusion” were adapted from the Oakland Climate Action Coalition equity checklist, which was developed through extensive community engagement with a diverse group of residents and community leaders.

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