Energy Democracy - Climate Justice Alliance

Energy Democracy

Policy Stances and Priorities

This is one of the Policy Planks of the United Frontline Table’s toolkit A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy. The policy planks are one of three tools in the kit, together with series of Strategy Questions and the Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform Framework. Make sure the check out the section on How to Use This Resource to Enhance Your Work and the Working Definitions.

Energy Democracy

When the power goes out due to storms, wildfires, or grid failures, private utilities and energy companies get bailed out and the people get shut-off. The lack of community control and governance of our energy systems has created one of the most extractive systems in our society. Our energy system has polluted our communities, fueled our climate crisis, and concentrated wealth into the hands of corporate executives, while nearly one-third of families go to bed struggling to pay their energy bill. There is a different way forward. The original New Deal created pathways for energy to be a public good, yet purposely neglected to center racial equity and justice in that effort. We can learn from this and position communities to govern their energy decisions. Collectively, we can reprioritize how we create, use, and distribute clean, renewable energy, without nuclear, in order to power our Regenerative Economy.

To learn more about Energy Democracy, visit the CJA Energy Democracy Working Group page.

Policy Stances and Priorities


No Corporate Bailouts or Corporate Takeovers

No bailouts of corporate energy companies using taxpayer dollars; no privatization of municipal or public energy systems or rural electric cooperatives; no investment and subsidization of monopolized corporate energy generators and distributors.



Community Governance of Energy Development

Shift to community governance over planning processes, zoning decisions, regulations, and siting of renewable energy projects and grid build-out, through a strong anti-racist, anti-gentrification analysis.



Repair Relationship between People and their Energy System

Prioritize and center Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander, frontline, and poor people in decisions on energy supply and distribution.




Equitable Electrification and Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Invest in equitable electrification programs under a publicly-owned system that prioritizes low-income communities and decreases energy bills, improves green building standards that minimize energy use and support passive housing designs, and prioritizes low-income residents with deep energy efficiency retrofits.




Renewable Energy and Grid Integration Research

Invest in research to explore the best technological approaches to determine whether horizontal integration of renewable energy into the current grid infrastructure is possible at the scale needed, as well as how to support and strengthen resilient systems of community-governed and local renewable energy systems and projects.




Grid Models and Modernization

Build out resiliency through community-governed microgrids; research new technology to modernize the grid to prioritize decentralized renewables and support resilient systems that include storage, conservation, and efficiency.




Make the Grid a Public Utility

Create mechanisms for local governance of energy systems integrated into a public grid, without privatization.




Recognize Energy as a Public Good

Publicly take over investor-owned utilities that fail to commit to transition from fossil fuels, seek bailouts and rate-hikes, or fail to address the climate crisis adequately. Give workers and communities oversight of public takeovers, and call for liquidation of assets that can be utilized to invest in renewable energy.




Make the Grid within Tribal Nations a Tribal Utility

Create mechanisms for Tribal Nations to own and manage their own electric utility systems and renewable electricity-generating infrastructures, ensuring priority access to the electrical grid for green energy by regarding tribal projects as a government instrumentality.


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