The inequitable impacts of the COVID pandemic, climate crisis and police violence make it clear: we must rebuild better. At Vote Solar, we see the opportunity for state-level clean energy policies to play a pivotal role in this transformation. Over the last few months, our team has collectively worked on Solar as a Solution: COVID-19 State Response Memo.
This memo lays out state-level just clean energy policies that can uplift vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by air pollution and who are suffering disproportionate losses during the COVID-19 crisis. These communities are predominantly Black, Latino and immigrant communities. We lay out policies to both help with immediate relief for families struggling to pay their energy bills and policies that help expand the clean energy economy and address the pre-existing conditions of energy affordability, dirty energy pollution, energy insecurity, environmental injustice that are disproportionately impacting under-resourced communities.
Vote Solar’s recommendations include policies to: (1) relieve customers’ utility debts due to the COVID-19 pandemic & reduce energy burdens going forward; (2) rebuild better: policies for 100% clean energy and energy resilience; (3) promote energy justice; (4) create new pathways into the clean energy workforce. Policy recommendations include no-cost steps and investment opportunities, and span immediate to long term time horizons.
As we go to work in states across the country to advocate for an equitable, clean recovery, Vote Solar will seek feedback and guidance from our partners on this menu of policy options. We know that our partners in each state and community, and particularly our partners in environmental justice communities, communities of color, and other under-resourced communities, will bring their own perspectives and priorities to the table. We look forward to working with them to restart the economy, address energy affordability and tackle the climate crisis together.
We offer this version to our national partners, allies and co-conspirators. Please use this freely and make it your own, and share these ideas with your state policy makers. We need to collectively ensure our state decision-makers are educated on these issues, and are pushing for change with us. Onward!