Green Energy for All

Clean, green electrons will power the future. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority has already set forward targets and goals worth supporting: moving to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2025 and 100% local, net-zero carbon emission renewable sources by 2030.  In supporting local clean energy, we keep money in the local community and are more resilient in the face of planned energy shutoffs and natural disasters. Barriers, however, stand in the way of this vision, particularly the development of locally-owned and locally-produced energy.

Publicly Owned, Democratically Controlled Power

Industrial-scale energy production is necessary to meet our future clean energy demands. Rather than let the market dictate investment, we should chart our own future

  • Development of “Green Bonds.” Cities and counties can leverage their borrowing power to fund renewable energy development, either through a general obligation municipal bond (which is backed by the jurisdiction’s ability to raise revenue through taxes) or a revenue municipal bond (which is backed by the anticipated profit from the investment).
  • Development of a public bank. A public bank is a financial institution capable of loaning money that is owned by the people through the government. In 2019, California approved AB 857, which allows for local jurisdictions to create a public bank. Because it is publicly owned and democratically controlled, the bank could provide loans for projects that would not be eligible for most private financing, and any interest paid on the loan would be re-invested in future public projects.

Encouraging Private Energy Development

  • Expand and strengthen existing PACE financing. Although PACE loans for energy efficiency improvements or energy production already exist, the loan conditions, particularly the interest rate, discourage individual participation. Local jurisdictions should encourage private energy investment by offering below-market loans for businesses and individuals. Cities and counties can borrow money at a lower rate than most individuals, and they should pass those savings along to their constituents.
  • Facilitate bulk purchasing of solar energy infrastructure. Local jurisdictions can support the development of small-scale, distributed solar energy through facilitating bulk purchases of photovoltaic cells and other infrastructure. By pooling resources, we can take advantage of economies of scale, reducing the cost burden for individuals to invest in clean, renewable energy.