Representatives from companies, government agencies and advocacy organizations met on Thursday, April 25 at the Centilia Cultural Center in Seattle to continue the conversation around building the movement for energy democracy.
On hand was special guest Denise Fairchild, author of Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions. who is the inaugural president of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit organization of business, labor, and community groups. She is charged with advancing ECC’s “high-road” mission to green our cities, build resilient local economies and ensure equity inclusion in both the process and outcomes of a new green and healthy economy.
Denise drew from her book to establish the conversation during the workshop which aimed to address questions such as the following:
- Who makes decisions about our energy systems and structures?
- What are the barriers to energy democracy broadly and in our local context?
- What assets and opportunities do we have to overcome those barriers to increase community ownership over our energy system and reduce energy burdens?
- What is the role of utilities in energy democracy, and how can they serve communities in a democratic way?
- How can we use energy democracy as tool for advancing affordable housing?
The audience also heard from local panel of experts about work going on in the region to advance community-owned energy, improve access to both energy efficiency and renewable energy, and increase community development and ownership of renewable energy resources. This includes SW board member Jack Newman of Sazan Environmental Services (pictured below) who spoke about utilizing solar in unique ways as to promote resiliency, energy independence, equity and more. Also speaking were Katrina Peterson, Climate Justice Program Manager at Puget Sound Sage, and Derek Hoshiko, community-supported organizer with For the People.
Pictures by Patrick Nugent