Yesenia Rivera – Championing Community-Led Clean Energy for All
From her early days as a community organizer, Yesenia Rivera has been a fierce advocate for environmental justice and equitable access to clean energy. Growing up in Puerto Rico, she experienced firsthand the impact of energy burdens and insecurity, fueling her determination to make a difference in the lives of marginalized communities.
A Journey of Empowerment and Advocacy
Yesenia’s journey began as a tenant organizer at the Latino Economic Development Center in Washington, D.C. Working closely with tenants, she helped them assert their rights and navigate the complexities of DC law. But her passion for empowering communities and addressing environmental challenges drove her to expand her efforts.
Joining Solar United Neighbors in 2017, Yesenia took on the role of DC Programs Director, paving the way for inclusive, community-led solar cooperatives across the nation. As the Director of Energy Equity and Inclusion, she initiated a program that installed 0.5 MW of solar on income-qualified households, ensuring that the benefits of clean energy reached those who needed it most.
Community-Led Energy Solutions
Today, as the Executive Director of Energy Allies, Yesenia continues to be a leading voice in the fight for energy democracy. Energy Allies focuses on bringing community-led solar to middle- and low-income neighborhoods, breaking down barriers to clean energy and fostering inclusive development.
Yesenia’s work extends to the Solstice Initiative, where she advocates for expanding affordable and accessible community solar projects in lower-income areas. By championing community-led planning, Yesenia ensures that the benefits of these projects directly serve the communities they are meant to uplift.
Energy Justice: A Driving Force
For Yesenia, the path to a clean energy future must be one of inclusion and justice. She firmly believes that underserved communities should not be left behind in the transition to clean energy. By addressing energy burdens and inequality, Yesenia’s work is a crucial step towards a just and sustainable future for all.
Celebrating Leadership in Clean Energy
As we move towards an equitable and sustainable future, let us draw inspiration from Yesenia’s exceptional work. As she stands as a finalist for the esteemed Dr. Espanola Jackson Energy Justice Award, we express our gratitude for her remarkable contributions.