State and Local Policy Database

Equity Metrics and Workforce Development

An integral area of focus for ACEEE is the advancement of social equity principles in clean energy and efficiency policy and program design. Historically, energy efficiency initiatives have failed to adequately serve and represent marginalized groups, particularly neighborhoods whose residents are predominantly Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color communities. These groups, as well as low-income residents, often face disproportionately high energy burdens, meaning they spend more of their income on energy bills compared to their counterparts. Underrepresentation of these individuals within clean energy policymaking and planning means many of the benefits these policies yield do not equitably reach all communities.

In recognition of these challenges, states are taking action to strengthen policy and program outcomes in ways that address historic underinvestment in low-income communities and communities of color. Emerging state efforts are also underway to address equity in community engagement, decision-making, and inclusive workforce development initiatives. Examples include conducting state-level needs assessments and barrier analyses and establishing internal protocols and metrics to evaluate the equity of policy outcomes. Policymakers and stakeholders can also work to address gaps in worker skills and include trainings, job placement, and job access strategies to help to bring marginalized groups into the clean energy workforce.

The information in this section is intended to capture current state efforts in this important policy area. We hope it provides a resource for policymakers, utilities, and clean energy and community advocates to identify leading examples to help equitably extend the benefits of energy efficiency to all households.

At this time, the state does not conduct a state energy, sustainability, or climate action plan, and has not adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track or evaluate how any energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives being taken are affecting local marginalized groups.

The State of Alabama has implemented a Building Operator Certification (BOC) program, which is a national training and certification program for commercial facility managers to educate them on efficient management of their building portfolio. Through this workforce development initiative, an in-state administrator, Bevill State Community College has been selected, and the State of Alabama is providing financial support for administration of the program. The trainings that have been provided so far have been open to individuals from both public and private organizations, but the State of Alabama has provided scholarships to facility managers and maintenance technicians for K-12 schools and local governments that do not have the funding available for professional development and workforce training.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

At this time, the state has not taken specific steps to engage with marginalized groups in the community for the creation or implementation of its energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

The DOE Weatherization Assistance Program tracks houses weatherized by county. One of the priorities for weatherizing low-income households is energy burden (> 6% of household income spent on energy).

Favorable net-metering rules and solar legislation have led to the rapid development of Arkansas’ clean energy industry over the past decade, which now supports over 15,000 jobs. State-sponsored trainings on energy management and benchmarking (amongst other topics) provide opportunities for industry professionals to obtain CEM & CEA certificates. Almost two dozen local and national firms have Arkansas offices promoting the state’s growing residential and commercial solar sectors.

Last Updated: July 2021

California’s energy plans have specific advisory group, policies, programs and metrics to ensure energy equity. State agencies involved include CEC, CPUC and California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

The Disadvantaged Community Advisory Group (DACAG), an advisory body consisting of representatives of disadvantaged communities, advise both the CEC and the CPUC on how programs can effectively reach and benefit communities disproportionately burdened by pollution and socio-economic challenges, including rural and tribal communities. The creation of CACAG fulfills a requirement in SB 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015.

2019 California Energy Efficiency Action Plan (Publication Number: CEC-400-2019-010-CMF), published by CEC, lays out policy pathways to improve energy program access for low-income and disadvantaged communities. These include: offering inclusive financing options that do not add personal debt, removing barriers that prevent programs with different missions to form leveraging funding for holistic building projects, and sharing programs that best target environmental justice communities.

The Energy Equity Indicators Tracking Progress report was developed to advance implementation of Recommendation 5 of the SB 350 Low-Income Barriers Study, which indicates the need for "collaborating among all program delivery agencies to establish common metric and collect and use data systematically across programs to increase the performance of these programs in low-income and disadvantaged communities." The CEC maintains maps and geospatial information on selected energy equity indicators. The map base highlights areas with 60 percent or less of statewide median income and disadvantaged communities eligible for GHG reduction fund programs. The map also identifies tribal areas and provides data on low-income areas with low energy efficiency investments, low solar capacity per capita, or low clean vehicle rebate incentive investments.

The CEC’s energy research and development programs also prioritize energy equity to ensure that the most vulnerable communities benefit from emerging clean energy technologies. The CEC’s EPIC program exceeded the requirements set forth in AB 523 (Reyes, Chapter 551, Statutes of 2017) for at least 25 percent of the technology demonstration and deployment funds to be expended on projects in and benefitting disadvantaged communities and an additional 10 percent of the technology demonstration and deployment funds to be expended on projects in and benefitting low-income communities. In March 2019, CEC EPIC staff helped conduct community-engagement meetings in Bakersfield and Madera. The meetings provided a high-level, educational overview to community members on CEC funding programs. Self-Help Enterprises, a low-income housing program in Visalia, helped plan and conduct localized outreach for these meetings and arranged guided tours of the communities for staff to better understand the communities’ clean energy needs. Additional outreach efforts were made to tribal, low-income, and disadvantaged communities in 2019, including requests for comments on proposed evaluation criteria and presentations on EPIC funding to tribal groups. In October 2019, the CEC launched the Empower Innovation online networking platform designed to connect stakeholders to form partnerships on public and private grant funding opportunities such as local governments, diverse businesses, community-based organizations, and tribes. At the November 2019 Disadvantaged Community Advisory Group meeting, CEC staff presented information on the EPIC program, provided a demo of Empower Innovation, and sought feedback to improve the program, including reaching out to diverse communities. In 2019, CEC EPIC staff also hired a Civic Spark fellow to work directly with the cities of Arvin and Paramount in an effort to better understand the needs of the disadvantaged and low-income communities they serve. The CEC EPIC program will continue to provide set-asides in applicable EPIC solicitations for projects in and benefitting disadvantaged or low-income communities. The new scoring criteria evaluates the benefits to the community, community engagement efforts, and localized health impacts. A map showing the CEC EPIC project sites located in disadvantaged communities can be found in the 2019 EPIC Annual Report.

The CPUC has extensive programs aimed at expanding access for low-income and disadvantaged communities to energy and electrification programs. CPUC’s building decarbonization effort has eight energy equity focused programs out of a total of 11. There are six programs dedicated solely to low income customers, and two others are dedicated to residents who are rebuilding their homes after the devastating wildfires of the last few years. For example, San Joaquin Valley Affordable Energy Proceeding dedicates $56.4 million for no-cost, all electric retrofits to homes that are in disadvantaged areas in the San Joaquin Valley that are not serviced by natural gas lines. Many of these residents have been using propane or wood for heating; once the San Joaquin Pilot is implemented, they will instead have modern space and water heating heat pump equipment.

CPUC’s Building Initiative for Low-Emissions Development (BUILD) program dedicates $80 million to all-electric new low-income residential buildings. The construction will be prohibited from having natural gas hook-ups. This program is being funded from the cap and trade revenue from natural gas utilities. SB 1477 (Statues of 2018) requires that no less than 30 percent of the total BUILD program funding be reserved to incentivize new low-income residential housing. The low-income building projects must (a) receive higher incentives than other types of housing, (b) be offered technical assistance, and (c) not result in higher utility bills for occupants. The TECH initiative targeting criteria include technology with the greatest potential for improving health and safety and energy affordability for low-income households.

The CEC provides access for designers of and advocates for low-income housing to the California Utility Allowance Calculator. The CUAC encourages energy efficiency investments in low-income housing by properly recognizing the energy bill reductions that tenants and building owners can realize, allowing those reductions toaccounted for in low-income property capitalization and valuation. HCD has several programs that incentivize or require energy efficiency and/or sustainable energy components within their affordable housing development projects. For example, Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC) funds land-use, transportation, and land preservation projects that will reduce GHG emissions by efficiently locating housing near destinations. Residents then have the ability to walk, bike, or take public transportation. Points are awarded for green buildings and renewable energy.

Multifamily Housing Program (MHP) funds projects for new construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of permanent and transitional rental housing for lower-income households. MHP offers points for sustainable building methods. In November 2018, Senate Bill 3 authorized the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 (Proposition 1) that issues bonds in the amount of $1.5 billion for this program.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Housing Program ensures funds for higher density affordable housing developments within a quarter mile of transit stations. Rehabilitation of these developments may include efficiency upgrades. The Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 also made available $150 million to the TOD Program.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program - Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is not currently funded, but it is being monitored by HCD. This program provided funding for affordable housing, as well as the acquisition, rehabilitation, and rental or resale of single-family residential properties with possibilities for green and energy-efficiency retrofits where feasible.

Workforce Development

The CEC’s EPIC program developed many online tools and resources to share knowledge on the program’s clean energy research. These tools help utilities, decision makers, innovators, and other stakeholders strengthen resilience, safety and affordability. For example, the WISE resource has over 9,700 users and provides training on high performance buildings. This project provided education, outreach and resources for California's new residential building industry. This project provided on-the-job training to homebuilders, installing trades, subcontractors and field crews on the proper installation that will be needed to meet the state's requirements. Informational materials and success stories were also updated on the project website. Building Industry Technology Academy, a statewide high school program, also develops new curriculum that incorporated WISE into their annual build challenge in Southern CA.

2019 California Energy Efficiency Action Plan: Recommendations from the plan support additional locally led outreach and education, maximizing ongoing workforce development activities across state agencies, and leveraging relationships between workforce educators, state agencies, community colleges, and vocational schools. California already has active workforce development programs but more work is needed to ensure that family-supporting jobs are created in all communities.

Under the direction of CPUC, California IOUs have strong workforce requirements for customers to receive incentives. Downstream or midstream programs over $3,000 require installation by an experienced installer, or someone with active apprentices, or with a state or federal apprenticeship certification.

The Clean Energy in Low-Income Multifamily Building Action Plan (CLIMB Action Plan Publication Number: CEC-300-2018-005-SF) set forth early actions to implement energy and water efficiency, demand response, on-site renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure installation, and energy storage for multifamily housing in California. The CLIMB Action Plan addresses the SB 350 Barriers Study recommendation to "develop a comprehensive action plan focused on improving opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, demand response, energy storage, and electric vehicle infrastructure for multifamily housing, with attention to pilot program for multifamily rental properties in low-income and disadvantaged communities”. Strategies in the CLIMB Action Plan include workforce development: "Coordinate with the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) to streamline efforts in education and training supporting the development of distributed energy resources throughout the state, with a focus on multifamily buildings and low-income and disadvantaged communities."

The State of California is pursuing clean energy workforce development through Workforce Standards requirements and direct training through Workforce Education and Training programs. Workforce Standards In 2015, the Legislature passed SB 350, which mandated that the CEC develop a responsible contractor policy. The responsible contractor policy would be applied to all “ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs with an installation and/or maintenance component.” CPUC issued decision D.18-10-008 which required program funded projects that include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and Lighting Control measures to utilize installation technicians that meet workforce standards criteria to help improve installation quality in the areas of HVAC and lighting controls projects. This effort was designed to make a start toward workforce requirements, where more stringent or more broadly applicable requirements may be structured and phased in in the future. D.18-10-008 also stated that the CPUC would study the CEC Responsible Contractor Policy when it was completed as well as analyze programs that had applied workforce standards to determine if additional workforce standards should be applied. Additionally, the CPUC ruled in D.18-10-008 that all energy efficiency program administrators propose a common portfolio level indicator to track disadvantaged worker participation in all Energy Efficiency programs. Utilities in California provide two main Workforce Education and Training programs focused on energy efficiency workforce development: Centergies and Connections. The WE&T Centergies subprogram is executed primarily through the eight IOU Energy Centers throughout California. The Energy Centers are focused on sector strategies that will result in high-road sector-specific education and training. The WE&T Connections subprogram facilitates implementation of energy efficiency strategic planning for K-12, community colleges, adult education, and higher education institutions. It seeks to promote energy efficiency within these educational sectors while simultaneously providing energy related education as well as career awareness information to students.

Last Updated: September 2020

Colorado WAP is running a pilot program to install air source heat pumps. This pilot will help WAP clients with electrification both now via direct install and in the future once the pace of electrification and its impacts on energy rates are better understood. Colorado WAP will be expanding its community engagement approach starting July 1, 2021, with a focus on EDI for engagement across Colorado communities.

The heat pump pilot program will likely lead to significant heat pump expertise development within both Colorado WAP and also across the state. Colorado has a low level of heat pump expertise as a result of historically low level of air conditioning system installation and repair. This low level of air conditioning expertise leads to a lack of knowledge of refrigerant-based cooling and heating systems; as a result, Colorado has a steeper learning curve than other states when it comes to heat pump installation. The WAP air source heat pump pilot will assist in electrification workforce development. CEO is working closely with utilities such as Xcel Energy, Tri-State Generation & Transmission, Holy Cross Energy, Platte River Power Authority, and other organizations such as the Energy Efficiency Business Coalition as part of the Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado, to coordinate and promote heat pump contractor training across the state. CEO has also funded webinars to raise awareness of heat pump technologies and their benefits. Additionally, CEO provides funding to a nonprofit, Energy Smart Colorado, to provide partial scholarships to individuals to obtain or maintain a BPI or RESNET certification and who work in rural, mountain, or other underserved areas of the State. The funding also pays for small grants for individuals to purchase or maintain energy testing equipment needed for energy assessments or ratings.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

Delaware is developing its first Climate Action Plan which currently awaiting publication. The Plan outlines how the State of Delaware will drive reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and better prepare Delaware for its many impacts, from increasing temperatures to sunny day flooding and sea level rise. Developed hand-in-hand with residents, business leaders, and local governments, the plan contains strategies that fit the unique needs and desires of Delaware’s constituents. The strategies, goals, and policy recommendations included in the plan use equity-related metrics and methods for protecting Delaware’s most vulnerable populations from the effects of climate change.

Public participation has been central to developing Delaware’s Climate Action Plan. In addition to public workshops, online surveys, and comment forms soliciting public input, DNREC sought insight from Delaware-based technical stakeholders in the buildings, electric power, industrial transportation and waste sectors — along with staff from 10 state agencies — on potential actions to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and maximize resilience to climate change impacts. Input received from all the community engagement activities will help inform Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, which is set for release in winter 2021. Summaries of these activities, and the input received, are included below.

Public Participation Highlights:

  • More than 250 people participated in an initial round of public workshops, held in each county in March.
  • A follow-up series of virtual workshops held in September and October attracted nearly 390 attendees across five sessions.
  • Online surveys hosted on this website in the spring and fall, aimed at gathering input from those unable to attend a public workshop, garnered more than 520 responses.
  • Residents, businesses, and organizations submitted more than 50 additional written comments and questions on the plan.

Recordings, reports, and other materials from all the community engagement efforts are documented on the DE Climate Action Plan webpage.

The Delaware WAP is working on a project that will track high energy use and high energy burden clients served by the program so the data can be reported to the U.S. DOE.

The state's energy plans or electrification strategies do not currently include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: July 2021

The DCSEU has minimum spend requirements and savings goals in low income communities based on its contract with the DOEE. In 2019, the minimum spend requirement was $3,854,487 and the DCSEU spend was $4,037,174. The savings target minimum was 23,278 MMBtu (electric and fuel unit equivalents), and the DCSEU achieved 37,868 MMBtu in 2019.

The DOEE has sought eligible entities to characterize the need for financial assistance to pay water, electric, and gas bills among low- and moderate-income residents in the District of Columbia. They will show how to research utility burden, collect primary data from low- and moderate-income residents, and analyze these data to generate recommendations to improve access and utilization of utility assistance programs.

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies currently include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

The FDACS Office of Energy released the Florida Energy and Climate Plan, which provides realistic steps and strategies for Florida to secure clean, affordable energy while creating new opportunities for Florida’s economy and addressing the growing crisis of climate change. Included in the Florida Energy and Climate Plan is a chapter on Decreasing the Energy Burden for Low Income Communities. The chapter discusses the disparities between low-income households and higher-earning individuals and stresses the importance of investing in energy efficiency upgrades for low-income residents, which benefit all Florida's energy consumers. The FDACS Office of Energy is also developing a comprehensive statewide study that investigates the distribution of benefits and burdens from energy production and consumption and the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on vulnerable populations. This study will provide much needed information on the current status of energy equity within Florida, which has yet to be evaluated.

The FDACS Office of Energy is looking at how to incorporate equity in as many programs as possible. For example, the Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program was developed to advance the energy-water nexus. In addition to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the FDACS Office of Energy is continuing its efforts to achieve energy equity by investing in projects that aim to reduce energy burden for Florida consumers. The Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program considered factors that reduce the total energy consumption but also the costs of wastewater treatment.

The FDACS Office of Energy promotes workforce development at all stages of learning. Currently, the FDACS Office of Energy supports K-12 education in clean energy by providing Energy Education Kits to schools that are designed to develop teamwork and problem-solving abilities, investigate environmental issues, and gain hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. The FDACS Office of Energy works with the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to support their EnergyWhiz Events, which occurs every year in May and regularly attracts over 1,000 students, parents, and volunteers. The FDACS Office of Energy assists with event judging and provides event sponsorship. Another organization supported by the FDCAS Office of Energy that has its second annual events this summer is the American Association of Blacks in Energy that holds the Youth Energy Academy. It is a virtual two-day event in four regions throughout Florida for career exploration through interactive hands-on activities and engaging discussions designed to expose young people to careers in electric utility industries and related fields.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

The increasing public challenges and vocalized community concerns about energy projects’ benefits and impacts on host communities have made it clear that Hawaiʻi State Energy Office (HSEO) needs to be more intentional in its efforts to reach out to and equitably include everyone in Hawaiʻi's transition to clean energy economy. To address this need, HSEO established a Civic Community Engagement Group with local community members to discuss and facilitate more collaborative approaches to energy project decision-making regarding energy projects within North and West Oahu. HSEO is also in the midst of a procurement process to develop and implement a community outreach and engagement program. The objective of this program is to build community and stakeholder support for the State's clean energy and climate goals and help to ensure that marginalized groups within Hawaiʻi have the appropriate tools to participate in and guide these clean energy and climate goals. This program will also establish an ongoing in-house capability for HSEO to educate and gather input from energy stakeholders including grassroots community members. Through the efforts of its VISTA members, HSEO has expanded its social media outreach to prioritize engagement with low-to-moderate communities within Hawaiʻi. HSEO utilizes its Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook presence to interact with community members; educate the public about Hawaiʻi's energy ecosystem, how different renewable energies are generated, and how energy systems are relevant to their lives and the climate crisis; and, direct residents to helpful energy financial assistance programs available across the State.

The Hawaiʻi State Energy Office (HSEO) currently sponsors three members from the Hawaiʻi State Climate Commission’s Climate Ready Hawaiʻi AmeriCorps VISTA six-member cohort. In 2019, the Climate Commission established a Permitted Interaction Group (PIG) to investigate how climate change impacts inequities within Hawaiʻi. As a result, the PIG tasked the VISTA members to evaluate how energy, sustainability, and climate action initiatives within Hawaiʻi are affecting local low-to-moderate income and marginalized groups through the development of an equity playbook. The HSEO AmeriCorps members are currently developing the energy and transportation equity sections of this playbook, which include definitions, frameworks, and examples of climate equity within Hawaiʻi. The energy component of this playbook discusses energy burden, energy efficiency, and renewable energy as they relate to equity. Additionally, one HSEO VISTA is preparing a literature review of available climate and social vulnerability indices and energy burden tools useful for Hawaiʻi, as requested by the PIG, to help the State understand who the most vulnerable and marginalized communities are within the State and where they are geographically located. Examples of reviewed indices and energy burden tools include the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, United for ALICE’s County Profile tool, the Department of Energy’s Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) tool, and Greenlink Analytic’s Greenlink Equity Map (GEM) tool. These projects will contribute to the State’s baseline understanding of, and capacity to address, the most marginalized and vulnerable communities within Hawaiʻi as it combats climate change and transitions to a clean energy economy.

The Hawai‘i State Energy Office’s (HSEO) Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) is identifying workforce needs in Hawai‘i’s energy sector in order to efficiently and materially/scalably deploy workforce development funding, when available, to support and develop a Hawai‘i workforce in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation. Since the simultaneous development and installation of several utility-scale solar projects is a new opportunity in Hawai‘i, an initial activity was to identify demand- and supply-side factors affecting these projects, potential workers and/or skill shortages, and value-added trainings or educational curriculum that could effectively and more efficiently address these issues. Subsequent efforts will expand the scope to other energy technologies (efficiency, electric vehicles and charging, energy storage) and state and county regulatory agencies. A related effort, which has concluded, involved training by the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges (UHCC) for county agencies that regulate clean energy installations. Over 260 county employees were trained under the program. Funding was provided by the Hawai‘i State Legislature through HSEO under Act 145, Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2019. The continuation and expansion of the program is now being pursued. In addition, HSEO is currently working with the Department of Education to develop a new K-12 educational curriculum focused on educating students and teachers about clean energy. This curriculum is also an integral aspect in Hawaiʻi's overall community engagement strategy to increase knowledge about clean energy and inspire a new generation of environmental stewards and clean energy leaders within the State.

Last Updated: July 2021

At this time, the state does not conduct a state energy, sustainability, or climate action plan, and has not adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track or evaluate how any energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives being taken are affecting local marginalized groups. The state does not currently include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Pillar of the State Energy Plan objective is as follows: Encourage the expansion and diversification of energy resources, incentives, and programs. The strategy includes the following goals: Support Energy Efficiency Efforts in Underserved Areas; Low Income Housing Tax Credit; Connect and Leverage Iowa’s Energy Assistance Programs; and Heating Fuel Assistance. IEDA supported a High-Performance Home Plan project to provide an energy efficient home plan based on Iowa's climate and building codes to serve as a model for Community Development Block Grant projects funded by the state. IEDA provided funding to the Prison Industries Training Program, an effort to train incarcerated Iowans in construction, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and high performing homes.

The State Energy Plan has four pillars, one of which is Economic Development and Energy Careers. The objective of this pillar is to Increase the local talent pool for energy-related careers while promoting employment and training opportunities in the energy sector. There are two goals under the objective: Accelerate and Elevate Energy Sector Partnership Efforts; and Build Robust Career Pathways to High-Demand Occupational Needs. In an effort to prepare for a shrinking energy workforce with a growing energy demand, the Iowa Energy Workforce Consortium was organized by Iowa utilities with the purpose of bringing industry experts together to discuss and collaborate. To capture the full scope of the industry and utilize all parties that make up the workforce pipeline, the consortium also asked state agencies and community colleges to be a part of the discussion. These stakeholders meet regularly so they can continue to evolve with the changing workforce and keep a pulse on the needs of the industry.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT) has increased its engagement of low- to moderate-income customers and small businesses through targeted outreach regarding enhanced incentives for heat pumps and weatherization. For Low Income Initiatives, EMT holds quarterly stakeholder advisory group meetings to engage organizations who serve low-income households. EMT invites nonprofit groups, native American representatives, state government and utility staff. The purpose of this meeting is to increase engagement with low-income Mainers. Under Low Income Initiatives, EMT sends outreach material directly to eligible individuals as well as uses targeted digital ads and area-specific radio spots to broaden the reach. The program manager supplements these efforts with presentations to towns and affordable housing association members. For the Small Business Initiative, EMT conducts targeted marketing and outreach efforts to reach small businesses, including direct mail and phone calls to eligible businesses; collaboration with local groups such as Climate to Thrive, The Nature Conservancy, and chambers of commerce; and public relations activities targeted at eligible participants. Another means of engagement come from the network of trade allies called Qualified Partners. These independent businesses are the primary marketers of the program—working with their existing customers and identifying new customers for energy-efficient equipment. For businesses that do not currently work with a contractor or a Qualified Partner, the Efficiency Maine website features an online search tool to easily put potential customers in touch with a Qualified Partner in their area. The Program Managers for Electric Vehicle Initiatives engage with the aforementioned quarterly advisory group, the Maine Climate Council Equity Subcommittee, and the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition to gather insight and raise awareness about low-income EV rebates and charging infrastructure opportunities.

As part of its Triennial Plan for FY2020-FY2022, Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT) establishes program budgets that reflect the minimum funding allocations to low-income customers set forth in statute [see 35-A MRS §10110(2)(B)] and 35-A MRS §10111(1)(B)] and rule [see 95-648 Code of Maine Rules (CMR) ch. 3, §3(A)(2) and 95-648 CMR ch. 4, §3(2)]. For the Electric Efficiency Procurement (electric ratepayer funds) this allocation is 10%. For the Natural Gas Conservation Fund (natural gas ratepayer funds), this allocation is set at a reasonable percentage considering low-income consumers' share of gas load and the cost-effective opportunity available at their homes. For RGGI funds, the target allocation to low-income programs is 10%. One of the State of Maine's primary electrification strategies involves a goal to install 100,000 additional high-efficiency heat pumps over five years by 2025. This goal was set forth in a bill passed by the Maine Legislature in 2019: LD 1766 - An Act To Transform Maine's Heat Pump Market To Advance Economic Security and Climate Objectives. The bill requires the Maine State Housing Authority to include information in its annual planning process (for low-income weatherization programs) on targets and budgets related to the heat pump goal. Efficiency Maine Trust is also offering enhanced rebates for low- and moderate-income households. The state's new climate action plan, entitled "Maine Won't Wait: A Four-Year Plan for Climate Action" establishes a goal of installing at least 15,000 new heat pumps in income-eligible households by 2025 as part of the 100,000-heat pump initiative. The Plan also recommends doubling the current pace of home weatherization, including at least 1,000 low-income units per year. Efficiency Maine Trust allocates funds from the Volkswagen Settlement and the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) specifically for disproportionately underserved communities in Maine to receive enhanced rebates for level 2 charging stations. These investments are targeted in areas that are especially rural where there is a higher upfront cost. EMT funding received through a settlement related to the New England Clean Energy Connect project includes dedicated resources for low- and moderate-income households for heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, weatherization, and electric vehicle rebates. All of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and LIHEAP-Weatherization funds administered by MaineHousing are dedicated to low-income Mainers who meet the criteria for LIHEAP eligibility. The funds are allocated pro-rata across the nine regions served by CAP agencies in the state.

In order to support the increased demand for heat pumps and to promote quality installations, EMT specified a curriculum for registered trainers that support heat pump installers, and developed a training module on "heat pump basics" that is required for all heat pump installers working with Efficiency Maine's residential programs. Efficiency Maine provides other trainings and workshops to contractors working in its commercial programs and has started delivering building code training to contractors. In the Triennial Plan for FY2020-FY2022, EMT emphasizes the certification and licensing requirements for trade allies affiliated with Efficiency Maine programs. It also considers online and in-store training opportunities, scholarships, and other support for existing programs run by community colleges. The Maine Legislature also passed a bill in 2019 -- LD 1282: An Act to Establish a Green New Deal for Maine -- that requires employers constructing a generation facility larger than 2 MW to employ apprentices.

Last Updated: July 2021

Chapter 2 of Maryland's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) Plan focuses on Climate Justice and Equity. This document explains that "Maryland state government fully considers climate change impacts as they relate to community concerns and engages with others on this issue through multiple avenues, including the GGRA, the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities (CEJSC), and the Maryland Climate Change Commission (MCCC)." The Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities is codified under § 1-701 of the Environment Article of the Md. Ann. Code. From the Commission's website: "The Commission examines EJ and community sustainability issues that may be associated with creating healthy, safe, economically vibrant, environmentally sound communities for all Marylanders in a manner that allows for democratic processes and community involvement. Maryland’s approach to EJ is consistent with the approach advocated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” The Maryland Climate Change Commission has an Education, Communications and Outreach Working Group; part of this group's work focuses on "addressing any disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income and vulnerable communities."

While there are not specific goals, an energy affordability baseline analysis has been completed on behalf of the Maryland Office of People's Counsel; this report includes an assessment of energy burden. This report also outlines participation in energy programs (e.g., weatherization services, energy assistance) based on home ownership, household age, heating fuel, and location.

Legislation passed in 2019 established a Clean Energy Workforce Account within the Maryland Department of Labor to fund clean energy job training related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, resource conservation, and advanced transportation. Per the statute, funding will begin in fiscal year 2021 and eventually total $8M. These funds originate through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). In addition, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 provides funding for offshore wind-related workforce development and training. In this way, the Maryland Energy Administration also offers an Offshore Wind Workforce Training program; the program made $3M in awards in FY20 and $656K in FY21.

Last Updated: July 2021

Community and stakeholder engagement

Affordable Access to Regional Coordination (AARC) Grant Program ($880,000 total; $800,000 to Regional Planning Authorities; $80,000 to entity supporting RPAs): The goal of this program is increase local-level knowledge of the Commonwealth’s existing low-income energy efficiency programs, expanding the reach of existing successful programs. AARC grants allow Regional Planning Authorities (RPA) to build their internal knowledge of clean energy programs for low-income residents and low-income housing property owners. RPAs also provide training and assistance on low-income clean energy programs to municipal staff, or staff of community organizations or other stakeholders, that support low-income populations.

Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund: In July of 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration and Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey came to an agreement with Columbia Gas (one of the state’s investor-owned utilities) that required the company to pay $41 million for its role in the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions. These funds (the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund) will provide debt relief for gas bills to thousands of low-income gas customers and enable clean energy and energy efficiency efforts in homes and buildings in the affected communities (Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover). $25.5 million is dedicated to new programs for low- and moderate-income residents that will be implemented through partnerships with community organizations to fund: housing repairs and energy efficiency upgrades, targeted outreach and engagement with landlords and renters, and workforce development to engage local residents in the clean energy economy. The Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund Program Advisory Committee, comprised of local stakeholders (including representatives from building owners/property managers, local contractors specializing in energy efficiency, and local community organizations), is providing input to help inform program development. Program development is also being informed by community feedback received at several stakeholder meetings held in the fall of 2020 and through on-line surveys (available in both English and Spanish). Programs will be designed to utilize and develop the local workforce and delivered in a way that meets the language needs of participants.

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) - To help ensure an equitable and strategic transition towards Net Zero, EEA worked with stakeholders across the Commonwealth to ensure that development of the 2030 CECP is an inclusive policy planning effort. EEA has been convening the GWSA Implementation Advisory Committee (IAC) since 2012 as a primary public body for advising EEA on greenhouse gas reduction measures. The IAC has several Work Groups, including Climate Justice, Buildings, Natural and Working Lands, Transportation, and Electricity.  In 2019 and 2020, the IAC and associated Work Groups contributed policy recommendations and guiding principles towards the development of the 2030 CECP. The Climate Justice Work Group, in particular, provided a memo on February 26 2020 and on August 7 2020. These recommendations and principles, in addition to the policy evaluation criteria in the GWSA, were important considerations in the development of policies for the 2030 CECP.

EEA Environmental Justice Task Force - EEA’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Task Force is comprised of staff that serve as EJ points of contact representing each EEA agency and office, in accordance with the requirements of EEA’s 2017 Environmental Justice Policy. The Task Force is developing a Secretariat-wide EJ Strategy to proactively promote environmental justice across the Commonwealth in ways that are tailored to each EEA Agency’s mission. The EJ Strategy will guide EEA agencies and offices in how to appropriately integrate environmental justice considerations into policies, programs and strategies. Since 2020, each agency’s EJ point of contact has acted as a liaison between the public and state offices, regularly connecting constituents to the right staff person to address EJ concerns. In addition to the EJ Task Force, EEA will convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Council whose work shall include, but need not be limited to, making written recommendations to the Governor and the Director of Environmental Justice concerning policies, practices, and specific actions that the Commonwealth should implement to ensure that the objectives of Executive Order 552 are accomplished.

Goals and metrics for tracking progress

In addition to its oversight role through the EEAC, MA DOER oversees statewide in-home audit program through the Massachusetts Residential Conservation Services (RCS) statute (M.G.L. c.164 App.§§2-1 to 2-10) and the associated regulation and guideline. Pursuant to the RCS statute and regulation, 225 CMR 4.00, DOER is required to establish outcomes for the RCS program, and 3-year plan Program Administrators and Municipal Utilities are required to submit quarterly reports to DOER based on those outcomes. In 2020, DOER issued outcomes for the RCS. These outcomes include “increasing the number of hard-to-reach customers served by RCS Programs, including rental, moderate income, and non-English speaking households.” DOER is currently developing a reporting framework for this outcome (as well as other outcomes).

EOEEA-convened Interagency Cumulative Impact Workgroup – In light of the mandates specified by the new statute, Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021, an Act Creating a Next Generation Road Map for Massachusetts Climate Policy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is convening an inter-agency work group to define and develop a standardized methodology to assess cumulative impacts of environmental burdens over time with regard to environmental justice populations. The immediate goals of this workgroup, to be further refined through subsequent meetings, is the following: (1) identify which pollution sources and social determinants of health should be considered while assessing cumulative impacts, and (2) develop a quantitative method by which cumulative impacts can be measured, such that state agencies may utilize this information in permitting, siting, grant disbursement, enforcement and other state functions.

With respect to development of the 2022-2024 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) recommended various types of reporting with respect to the Mass Save income eligible programs, including the following recommendations:

  • Collect and report data on the number, type, and location of barriers including those related to installation (e.g., building code violations) as well as those related to participation. Use this data to inform program delivery.
  • Determine if there are differences in service by Community Action Agency territory, PA territory, or PA program (gas or electric) that are not warranted by differences in proportions of low-income households.
  • Strengthen regular reporting in order to identify areas of improvement and resources needed to support comprehensive and equitable service to all submarkets.

Clean energy workforce development

In 2020 MassCEC began a process to update its existing Clean Energy Internship Program to increase diversity in the clean energy workforce. Beginning with the 2021 program year, MassCEC will reserve 20% of its internship spots for employers in Gateway Cities and/or students in Gateway Cities. The Massachusetts Vocational Internship Program (VIP) is a workforce development initiative offered through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The program enhances the talent pipeline for Massachusetts clean energy companies and places skilled labor from vocational high schools in paid clean energy internships during the academic year. In addition to its internship programs, MassCEC hosts an online job board with multiple listings for clean energy industry job opportunities. A portion of funds from the Merrimack Valley Renewal Fund (MVRF) will be allocated to workforce development to engage local residents in the clean energy economy. In addition, clean energy and energy efficiency programs funded by the MVRF will be designed to utilize and develop the local workforce.

Green Jobs Academy. The Green Jobs Academy has a dual mission: to provide entry level skills training preparing individuals for in-demand, living wage jobs with a career ladder in the weatherization industry, and to provide flexible, customized, continuing education training for weatherization and energy efficiency workers to continue to advance in the weatherization industry.  Among other things, the Green Jobs Academy is a Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) Network Verified Weatherization Training Center and provides training approved by the Massachusetts Utilities Program Administrators.

Building Operator Training. MassCEC is working to publish a report on the status of the Building Operations sector of the MA economy. The report will outline the current status of this workforce, including demographics, training needs (both short and long term), and career pathways. The report will guide MassCEC in preparing for future workforce programs.

Last Updated: July 2021

In Executive Directive 2020-10, the Governor directed the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, through its Office of Climate and Energy, to develop, issue, and oversee the implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, which will serve as the action plan for this state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition toward economywide carbon neutrality. In an effort to help achieve this, the Michigan Energy Office created the Five Pillars for a Just Transition. These five pillars are: Catalyst Communities, Moving Industry Towards a Low Carbon Future, Clean Energy for All, Just and Equitable Transportation, and Pay it Forward - Building an Inclusive Workforce.

While the 2008 Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act set the foundation for many, if not most, of Michigan's present day clean energy standards, the Act did not set any specific policy measures geared towards underserved customers. The Act does, however, call for broad inclusion of low-income customers in proposed energy optimization programs and specifically excludes low-income programs from being adjudicated on cost effectiveness. The most direct means of energy planning for underserved customers comes via the Low-Income Workgroup which was established by the Michigan Public Service Commission as a way to bring together State agencies, utility providers, and community stakeholders every month to address low-income specific issues with the goal of enhancing available initiatives so they may better serve the needs of low-income customers.

One of the five pillars of Michigan's Just Transition plan is the Pay it Forward - Building an Inclusive Workforce pillar. This pillar focuses on creating clean manufacturing jobs, expanding access to Building Operator Training, removing barriers to clean energy jobs, and utilizing students as a resource by partnering with Historical Black Colleges, Universities/Tribal Colleges and Universities/Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Last Updated: July 2021

To help ensure that low-income customers have the opportunity to participate in CIP, Minnesota Statutes §216B.241, subd. 7(a) establishes minimum low-income spending requirements for electric and natural gas utilities and associations.  E.g. the minimum low-income spending requirement for public (i.e., investor-owned) is equal to 0.4% of gas IOUs’ three-year average residential GOR and 0.2% of electric IOUs’ three-year average residential GOR.

Many CIP low-income programs (most of which by design are intended to exclusively serve the needs of low-income persons) have tended not to be cost-effective, but the Department has historically not held low-income programs to the same cost-effectiveness standards as non-low income programs, and has allowed non-cost-effective low-income programs to be included in utility CIP portfolios recognizing their importance in serving these customers.  

The MN Department of Commerce also commissioned a 3 year study to evaluate the effectiveness of low-income program delivery through the conservation improvement program. The study assessed the current performance of the utility LI CIPs and identified opportunities for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of those programs. Overall, the study found that the LI CIP is meeting or exceeding most of the statutory and regulatory requirements.

Clean Energy Economy is a prominent voice of Minnesota’s clean energy businesses including the following sectors: energy efficiency, renewable energies like wind, solar and biomass, clean transportation and energy storage. They work to support and expand clean energy jobs and the economic opportunities They gather clean energy data and share it with lawmakers and the public to craft smart clean energy policies that support a prosperous, low-carbon economy.

The MN Department of Commerce commissioned a study that will be published in 2020 to conduct an economic impact and benefit/cost analyses to quantify the net economic impacts of CIP investments made from 2013 through 2018. The key impacts from CIP’s 2013-2018 program activity years, include nearly 48,000 jobs, $11 billion in new economic activity, and a return of $3.75 in societal benefits for each dollar invested. Income generated equate to an extra $900 for each Minnesotan.

Last Updated: September 2020

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

Division of Energy (DE) is in the early stages of the Missouri State Energy Planning (MoSEP) process and held a Virtual Energy Stakeholder Kickoff Workshop in October 2020. DE requested and received the participation of a representative from Consumers Council of Missouri in the meeting to represent the interests and needs of the low-income consumers in Missouri energy planning, who offered challenges low-income customers face including energy insecurity, service disconnections, and others. A value statement was developed based on stakeholder feedback received during the kickoff meeting that includes affordability and equity in access to energy resources, services and programs. DE is taking a regional approach to energy planning that will enable a greater level of granularity in the local goals and priorities included in the MoSEP process. The regional approach will allow community and organizational leaders of marginalized groups to have their interests and needs heard to a greater degree than might have been possible through a more generalized approach to energy planning.

The Missouri Energy Efficiency Advisory Collaborative, established by Missouri Public Service Commission rule and docketed under Case No. EW-2013-0519, includes a Low-Income Work Group that meets multiple times a year to specifically address low-income customers' energy efficiency needs. The work group meetings include a variety of stakeholders. In addition, the Missouri Public Service Commission rules at 4 CSR 240-20-094(3)(A)4 require that market potential studies, "Include an estimate of the achievable potential, regardless of cost-effectiveness, of energy savings from low-income demand-side programs. Energy savings from multi-family buildings that house low-income households may count toward this target."

DE anticipates the inclusion of clean energy workforce development initiatives in the MoSEP process. Potential initiatives being offered for stakeholder consideration include military transition assistance programs and inmate career readiness programs that focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and power lineman training. DE staff are monitoring the Midwestern Governor Association’s initiative to prepare Midwestern communities for power plant closures through attendance of the meetings held by several subgroups, including the subgroup for workforce and education. DE WAP staff are engaging the Missouri Department of Workforce Development to discuss the development of energy retrofit skills training with the ultimate goal of filling the void of technical staff in the community action agencies around the state. DE is developing a grant program to support small agriculture businesses that would provide funding for energy projects in agricultural operations. Enabling energy updates could lower energy bills and improve the bottom line of agricultural operations. DE is also developing an energy audit grant program for local government critical infrastructure (including public safety facilities, water and waste), public K-12 schools, public universities and colleges and public and private not-for-profit hospitals, small commercial/industrial and multifamily properties. Reducing energy costs in public buildings will allow funds to be redirected to other needs, such as workforce development. Related, DE has continued to offer its Energy Loan Program (ELP) to public entities to reduce energy costs. During the COVID pandemic, DE has offered loans with interest rates of 1.75%, lower than the average rate used by the program of approximately 3.67%.

Last Updated: July 2021

At this time, the state has not taken specific steps to engage with marginalized groups in the community for the creation or implementation of its energy, sustainability, or climate action plan, and has not adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track or evaluate how any energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives being taken are affecting local marginalized groups. The state does not currently include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

The state's climate strategy mentions equity and the importance of focusing on climate justice to achieve the goals outlined in the report.

We were unable to determine if the state has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track or evaluate how any energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives being taken are affecting local marginalized groups, or if it currently includes specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: July 2021

The Home Energy Assistance (HEA) Program provides energy efficiency improvements specifically for the low-income customers. The program serves single family and multi-family units. Utilities partner with NH’s Community Action Agencies to deliver program services. These agencies also deliver services through the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program so are well positioned to deliver needed energy efficiency services along with health and safety measures which may include heating system and indoor air quality issues. Per Settlement Agreement, the HEA program's budget is 17 percent of the total plan budget. Any unused monies in the HEA program carry forward to the next year. In addition. RSA 374-F:3, VI, signed into law on September 26, 2019, provides "that no less than 20 percent of the portion of the [system benefit charge] funds collected for energy efficiency shall be expended on low-income energy efficiency programs." The 20 percent requirement is specific to the electric utilities.

The state's utilities offer workforce training programs as part of the energy efficiency programs.

We were unable to determine if the state has taken specific steps to engage with marginalized groups in the community for the creation or implementation of its energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Last Updated: July 2021

The Clean Energy Act calls for the Board to adopt programs that “ensure universal access to energy efficiency measures, and serve the needs of low-income communities,” and the Energy Master Plan establishes that the State’s priorities in developing its statewide EE structure are affordability, equity, environmental justice, economic development, decarbonization, and public health. On June 10, 2020 the Board of Public Utilities adopted the framework for the next generation of EE programs, which seeks to reduce the inequity currently experienced by groups and individuals across New Jersey who disproportionately lack access to energy-efficient housing, appliances, and technologies. There are several approaches that the framework provides for addressing energy equity. The Board will create an Office of Clean Energy Equity, and will establish an Equity Working Group under the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, which will comprise stakeholders from representative organizations across the state familiar with the intersection of energy, equity, and health issues, as well as representatives from each of the other working groups. This working group will be responsible for developing recommendations for integrating equity metrics and approaches in EE and PDR programs for utility-run, State-run, and co-managed programs. The EWG will collaborate with the Supplier Diversity Development Council on recommendations for increasing economic development opportunities for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses, including through, but not limited to, procurement policies for contractors and subcontractors. Other approaches are the expansion of eligibility criteria for LMI programs by geography, streamlining eligibility criteria among state programs, Additionally, the utility targets and incentive/penalty structure considers performance in the category of low-moderate income programs as part of its evaluation criteria.

The Board of Public Utilities is establishing a Workforce Development Working Group to inform energy efficiency program design and evaluation. The WFD WG will comprise Staff, Rate Counsel, the utilities, EE suppliers, job training institutions and organizations, equity stakeholders, and other agencies, organizations, and representatives from the other EE working groups as appropriate. This working group will develop recommendations for establishing coordinated and collaborative workforce development and job training pathways and pipelines statewide, with a focus on providing economic opportunities for underrepresented and socially or economically disadvantaged individuals. Underrepresented and socially or economically disadvantaged individuals may include women, people of color, veterans, disabled, and formerly incarcerated individuals, as well as those who are unemployed, underemployed, or low- and moderate-income. Programs may include contractor and subcontractor coaching and mentoring of underrepresented, disadvantaged, and small business enterprises. The State will collaborate with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, other state agencies, the utilities, the Workforce Development Working Group, and other entities, as applicable, the development of statewide workforce development pathways, training, coaching/mentoring, and other initiatives, including for underrepresented and disadvantaged individuals, communities, and business enterprises.

Last Updated: September 2020

The final supporting funds from a three-year Clean Energy States Alliance program on LMI efforts have been used to provide training supplies and tools for a LMI trades program at Northern New Mexico College. The college is located in the largest LMI community in the state, and supporting the trades program there is viewed as being a possible path for a brighter future for this community. The CESA program in New Mexico over the years of 2016 to 2019 developed the PV-on-a-Pole concept where a small system could be installed without using rooftop space or much ground space and still provide significant solar energy production for a low-income family. This concept has resonated with individuals both in state and out of state. The present largest effort for this type of solar sinstallation is in Humboldt County California. Also, the state is currently engaged in a statewide modeling effort (USDOE funded) to evaluate energy efficiency policies using a systems dynamic model. Results will show county impact levels. These results will be the first step in ensuring the LMI program(s) the state wants to pursue will have the desired impact on all residents, both rural and urban residents from all different income strata.

The 2019 Energy Transition Act includes apprenticeship requirements for renewable energy development in New Mexico and created three new funds (at the Indian Affairs, Economic Development, and Workforce Solutions Departments) to provide transition assistance to tribal communities, displaced workers, and communities affected by coal plant closures. The State Climate Change Task Force has an action team including ECMD, the State Economic Development and Workforce Solutions Departments whose goals include developing educational training, degree, and apprenticeship programs in state universities, community colleges, and technical schools. In addition, the statewide modeling effort will include job impact.

Last Updated: September 2020

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), signed by Governor Cuomo in July 2019, includes provisions to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive at a minimum 35% of the benefits associated with the state’s clean energy investments, and sets a goal of 40% of the benefits from a broader set of investments accruing to disadvantaged communities. The CLCPA establishes a Climate Justice Working Group, which will be responsible for establishing criteria for defining disadvantaged communities.  

In the Order Authorizing Utility Energy Efficiency and Building Electrification Portfolios Through 2025, the Public Service Commission directed the utilities to allocated a minimum of 20% of new energy efficiency budgets to low-to moderate-income energy efficiency initiatives. Further, the PSC required the utilities and NYSERDA to develop a statewide LMI portfolio and an approach to better align utility and NYSERDA-administered initiatives to increase the effectiveness and impact of clean energy initiatives targeting the LMI market segment.

NYSERDA is investing over $108 million to train over 40,000 workers and to build on its long history of working in partnership with education and training systems to deliver the workforce skills employers need. With many of the state’s most skilled employees approaching retirement age, an insufficient pipeline of skilled workers to fill the gap, and technologies that are evolving rapidly, New York needs a readily available workforce that is skilled and adaptable. Many initiatives will target incumbent workers but, whenever possible, efforts will seek to identify and support future workforce needs and increase economic opportunity for unemployed, underemployed, and disadvantaged workers by developing and promoting middle‐skill jobs. Disadvantaged workers include but are not limited to those residing in low and moderate-income communities, underrepresented populations including women and people of color, and disconnected youth.

NYSERDA utilized an industry partnership (i.e., an ongoing dialogue among industry leaders on common workforce issues and opportunities) to identify the workforce training needs associated with building operations and maintenance. Building operations and maintenance partnerships is an industry partnership model intended to: help identify worker skill needs; inform investments in skills and talent development; support career pathways; and develop the training infrastructure needed to better link supply and demand in the labor market.

NYSERDA is also investing in developing a clean energy talent pipeline, a proactive approach to defining, attracting and developing the right mix of critical talent that is responsive to industry needs and market demand. Through increasing training capacity, incenting businesses to train new hires through on-the-job training, and supporting an internship program, the initiative will ensure that New York has the skilled workers necessary to meet clean energy and energy efficiency business needs.

The talent pipeline initiative is designed to support NY Clean Heat or building electrification and energy efficiency market enablement strategies. A total of $38 million will be targeted at training needs to support NY Clean Heat including targeted training to address critical needs related to NY Clean Heat incentive programs, a new career pathway training program for new workers from priority populations, new building electrification training programs and increased training capacity for designers, installers, technical sales staff and associated professional service workers and, increased incentives for companies hiring new heat pump workers. Working in partnership with businesses, training providers, and communities, this investment will provide training support for over 14,000 building industry professionals – helping New York State meet the labor needs associated with  NY Clean Heat goals and supporting New York’s vocational and training institutions for the long-term transformation needed to fundamentally change the way we heat and cool buildings.

Last Updated: September 2020

The state's Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan offers climate justice recommendations for low income citizens that promote job creation and promote public health for the sector. The NC Energy Efficiency Roadmap addresses energy efficiency and demand-side management strategies for low and moderate income communities. The state's Clean Energy Plan addresses energy efficiency and clean energy programs specifically targeted at underserved markets and low-income communities. The 2018 NC Energy Policy Council Biennial Report includes recommendations for residential energy efficiency measures for low and moderate income consumers, including manufactured housing programs and weatherization assistance programs.

The Clean Energy and Clean Transportation in NC: A Workforce Assessment Plan recommends and prioritize actions to help NC develop skilled and educated workers for a clean energy economy. The NC Clean Energy Plan contains recommendations related to "Equitable Access and Just Transition, addressing methods to relieve the energy burden on low income communities, provide job training, and develop a clean energy workforce. Various state agencies, college/universities and non-profits are taking actions identified in these recommendations.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

We were unable to determine if the state has taken specific steps to engage with marginalized groups in the community for the creation or implementation of its energy, sustainability, or climate action plans, or if its energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers. We are unsure if the state includes specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: July 2021

The Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agency – offers workforce training and educational programs in energy efficiency through their Interstate Renewable Energy Council Accreditation to provide training for Building Performance Institute Home Performance Certified Professionals. Other training programs, like Certified Energy Manager, while not offered by the State, are available in Oklahoma through private third-party organizations.

At this time, the state does not conduct a state energy, sustainability, or climate action plan, and has not adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track or evaluate how any energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives being taken are affecting local marginalized groups.

Last Updated: July 2021

OHCS leads research with Oregon State University to determine the energy burden of low-income households by race. An ArcGIS map was developed to demonstrate the needs of BIPOC communities demonstrating where Oregon can and should focus its efforts. OPUC's work plan in response to EO 20-04 includes an extensive list of activities for working with impacted communities. Under OPUC COVID Impacts workshop series, the OPUC is engaging on opportunities to provide expanded low-cost energy efficiency services and increasing access to rooftop solar for low-income customers.

ODOE has adopted a strategic plan featuring an imperative to “build practices and processes to achieve inclusive and equitable outcomes.” Implementation of the strategic plan is underway. OPUC applies annual "diversity, equity, & inclusion" performance metrics to Energy Trust. These metrics are updated annually. The metrics for 2021 are:

  • Implement a supplier diversity tracking system as outlined in the 2021 Budget and Action Plan.
  • Develop a trade ally dashboard to track diverse spend in trade ally activities with stakeholder participation.
  • Complete implicit bias training for all hiring managers.

Oregon's Ten-Year Plan: Reducing the Energy Burden in Oregon Affordable Housing. Oregon Health and Community Service's (OHCS) Low-income Weatherization Program (LIWP) initiated a workforce development strategy to support the needs of low-income multifamily projects in Oregon. OHCS is completing a plan now for workforce development plans in Oregon, identifying the construction-related trades that need the most assistance, identifying geographic areas in Oregon needing the most assistance, and ways to best leverage current efforts to help address labor shortages in the trades.

Last Updated: July 2021

In 2020, PADEP’s Energy Programs Office (EPO) worked closely with its Office of Environmental Justice to arrange a series of in-person and virtual education sessions with several organizations throughout the state on the 2018 PA Climate Action Plan (CAP). The purpose was not only to educate those organizations on the 2018 CAP but also to gather their feedback on the document, so as to better inform the development of our next statewide CAP. It was the first bilingual presentation that DEP provided. Later in the year, DEP staff developed a fact sheet in Spanish on PA’s anticipated participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. One of the training webinars provided as part of EPO’s Local Climate Action Program (LCAP) in January 2020 focused on “Community Engagement and Equity.” Twenty local governments in PA participated in LCAP, as well as numerous college students, from January – June 2020. Beginning in August 2020, a new cohort of 21 local governments and college students began the LCAP training & technical assistance program. Of the 41 local governments participating in LCAP in calendar year 2020, 32 of them contain at least one census block group that meets DEP’s EJ community criteria. DEP considers a community an EJ area if 20 percent or more individuals live in poverty, and/or 30 percent or more population are residents of color as defined by the US Census. All of these communities are encouraged during the training webinar below to engage their EJ communities in climate action planning.

DEP worked with BW Research Partnership to deliver Pennsylvania-specific reports that will help determine the future direction of energy workforce development activities. This included a Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment 2020 Report (PACEER) and a Pennsylvania Energy Employment 2020 Report (PAEER). These reports were based on data that BW collected as part of its US Energy and Employment Report. These reports were released in summer 2020, and new 2021 reports will be released in summer 2021. The PACEER highlighted employment in the major clean energy sectors and also included workforce data such as demographics and employer hiring difficulties, revenue or wage data, and other customized data points. The PAEER contained information on job growth over time and employer hiring projections in all energy technology sectors, not just clean energy. The Energy Programs Office and BW released a follow-on report in May 2021 to identify training needs and gaps in Pennsylvania for clean energy jobs. The findings of this report have informed conversations between DEP, the PA Department of Labor and Industry, and the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Last Updated: July 2021

Community and stakeholder engagement

The Office of Energy Resources has developed public participation guidance to begin addressing the inherent inequities that exist in public participation processes. As part of this effort, the Office of Energy Resources is gathering data and information about who in our communities is attending public workshops. Following these workshops on clean energy initiatives (such as the state’s goal of meeting 100% of electricity demand with renewables by 2030), OER circulates a survey to workshop participants via email to collect anonymous demographic data. When collated, this information provides insight on which voices were in the room and which were underrepresented. In turn, that insight can be used to improve our participation processes and enhance diversity.

For Community Solar efforts, OER ran a White Glove Pilot Program to guide two electric distribution customers on the Income-Eligible rate (A-60 customers) through signing up and participating in Rhode Island’s Community Solar opportunities. The purpose of this pilot was for OER to better understand the needs and challenges of A-60 customers regarding participation in Community Solar opportunities as well as supporting a more equitable distribution of the benefits of Community Solar. OER also established a Low and Moderate Income (LMI) working group specific to Community Solar. This group discussed various barriers to participation that existed and attempts to address them through program changes.

Other efforts included partnering with trusted community organizations to establish foundational definitions pertaining to energy equity and using those to collaboratively develop equity metrics that can be used to track and monitor progress as part of Rhode Island’s 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 Report. Additional agencies that OER worked to establish ongoing relationships with included Rhode Island Housing and the Rhode Island Office of Diversity, Equity & Opportunity. Community organizations that OER also partners with for these efforts include, but are not limited to, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), Groundwork RI, the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee, the George Wiley Center, People’s Port Authority, Youth in Action (YIA), and NeighborWorks. To better conduct and assist with these community outreach efforts, OER also hired a full-time Energy Justice Program Manager.

Goals and metrics for tracking progress

The Office of Energy Resources (OER), recognizing the importance of equity in energy programs, hired a full-time Energy Justice Program Manager in 2019. This staff member is focused on energy equity and is integrated into all of OER's workstreams to help explore specific policies and data around improving the equity of our state’s energy work. Recommendations made by the Energy Justice Program Manager that have been implemented by OER include: equity focused on public participation protocols and guidance, updated data demonstrating energy burden in communities across Rhode Island, and the beginning of an effort to map current deployment of clean energy assets and investments, as can be seen in the map of electric vehicle charging stations in the State.

Other state reports and utility-based programming in Rhode Island have included targeted funding and recommendations to increase investment in sectors or areas serving marginalized communities. Thanks to the efforts of this position, the State and the utilities are making a concentrated effort to track the success and efficacy of these efforts and develop additional metrics, with significant community input, to evaluate how local marginalized groups are impacted by energy policy and programming.

Rhode Island's State Energy Plan - Energy 2035 - establishes a number of policies that direct support towards low-income and underserved customers. Specifically, it charges the Department of Human Services to oversee the WAP and LIHEAP programs, including the Henry Shelton Act which provides enhanced funding (~$6.5-$7.5million per year) from the State to the LIHEAP program. There is also a provision calling for the continued exploration of targeted energy efficiency programming for delivered fuels customers, which is an underserved population in Rhode Island. One outgrowth of this effort was that in 2019, through the Utility run Energy Efficiency (EE) program, delivered fuels customers were able to receive enhanced incentives for Air Source Heat Pump installations. The recently released Heating Sector Transformation in Rhode Island Report also advocates for the equitable transition of the heating sector through its policy recommendations, and encourages program designs that deliver appropriate incentives and financing opportunities for low-income customers that address first-cost barriers and energy burdens, and tracks the success of those efforts. Lastly, the utility's annual energy efficiency plans dictate a certain amount of spending on the income-eligible (e.g., low-income) sector. In 2019's Annual Energy Efficiency Plan (Docket 4888) National Grid sets funding levels of residential income eligible programs at 14% of implementation funding for electric programs and 26% of implementation funding for natural gas programs.

Clean energy workforce development

Increasing the size and skill of the Rhode Island clean energy workforce has been a priority since the inception of the State Energy Plan in order to ensure all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities can be pursued. A component of the Grid Modernization Working Group was focused on identifying barriers in the workforce supply chain and developing strategies for recruitment and training to mitigate those. That focus is echoed in the recently released Heating Sector Transformation Report, which identifies workforce growth - particularly in emerging technology areas like heat pumps - as a key strategy to deploy in order to meet Rhode Island's decarbonization goals. In order to implement these strategies, the State has often utilized the Utility run energy efficiency programs as a vehicle for enhancing the workforce through targeted training and recruitment opportunities (often with waived enrollment fees). This partnership has led to significant growth in the RI clean energy workforce over the years, with a 25% increase in jobs since 2015. Additional emphasis is being placed on workforce development in the 2021-2023 Three-Year plan cycle currently under development, with a focus on increased contractor training around heat-pump technology, enhanced recruitment and partnerships with colleges/universities/vocational schools to promote Energy Efficiency as a career, providing more training opportunities to existing workers looking to upskill or transition away from work in the delivered fuels sector, and promoting more participation in building operator certification trainings, to name a few. The Office of Energy Resources collaborates with the Rhode Island Commerce Department each year to conduct a clean energy jobs report in order to track the industry and find ways to support growth, which is in direct service of Gov. Raimondo's 20,000 clean energy jobs by 2020 goal.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

At this time, the state has not taken specific steps to engage with marginalized groups in the community for the creation or implementation of its energy, sustainability, or climate action plan, and has not adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track or evaluate how any energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives being taken are affecting local marginalized groups. The state does not currently include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: July 2021

Community and stakeholder engagement

TDEC OEP has created several resources and/or funded programs designed to bring energy efficiency opportunities to low-income communities across the state. The office has  updated its Low-Income Energy Efficiency Funding Matrix for 2021. The Matrix is a tool intended to connect low-income homeowners, affordable housing owners and operators, and technical assistance providers with information on existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programming that can help fund or finance energy improvements (e.g., lighting upgrades; weatherization; insulation; window replacement; HVAC and other essential building upgrades; etc.) for residential, multifamily, and commercial audiences. This Matrix was published on OEP’s Energy Resources website and was shared with the TDEC Office of External Affairs and other external partners, who circulated the resources with low-income and marginalized communities across the state.

TDEC OEP is planning to create an Energy Affordability web resource and information hub by the end of 2021. This site will detail funding/financing program opportunities, no-to-low cost energy savings tips, and other information on low-income energy efficiency and energy conservation programming (e.g., residential energy upgrades, weatherization, efficient appliances, etc.). The office will work with the TDEC Office of External Affairs and other community partners to circulate the resources and provide increased awareness of these energy improvement opportunities.

TDEC OEP and OPSP also convened the Single- and Multi-family Low-Income Energy Efficiency Exchange Group (the “Exchange Group”) in December 2015 and met regularly through the end of 2017. The Exchange Group was comprised of a number of State and local agencies, utilities, and non-governmental entities, such as the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), the Department of Economic and Community Development, Metro Nashville Government, TVA, Pathway Lending, and Memphis Light, Gas, and Water. The Exchange Group sought to share best practices regarding single and multifamily low-income energy efficiency exchange programming efforts in Tennessee; to leverage existing technical and financial resources to further design, implementation, and administration of energy efficiency programming targeting low-income single and multifamily audiences; and to explore opportunities to develop resources that can assist with implementation of energy efficiency programming targeting low-income single and multifamily stakeholders. The Exchange Group’s efforts are reflected in the Single & Multifamily Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program Resource Manual—a work product housed on TDEC’s website. Specifically, the Resource Manual provides a framework for designing, implementing, and evaluating key elements of low-income focused EE programming and is accompanied by extensive resource annotations and an online asset map. The resource matrix, which was included within the Resource Manual as an appendix and which outlines single and multifamily low-income energy efficiency funding opportunities, was updated in 2021.

Clean energy workforce development

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides several workforce development opportunities, including opportunities addressing energy, under partnerships with Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, Community Colleges, and other training institutions within the state.

On June 18, 2020, U.S. DOE announced that it would invest $20 million in the University of Tennessee to advance workforce development in emerging energy fields. U.S. DOE’s investment will expand the University’s partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) through the Oak Ridge Institute (ORI). Over the course of the funded five-year interdisciplinary program, participating University of Tennessee students will focus on research and development in evolving technical fields, including resilient energy systems. In addition, students will also receive professional development training, including communications, computational literacy, and technology transfer, to prepare them for the 21st century workforce and develop their entrepreneurial skills. ORI will also develop a flexible workforce development program with modular interdisciplinary curriculum options that can be used as a model for workforce development partnerships between other universities, agencies, and national laboratories in the future. The program will support increased diversity and inclusion by encouraging participation among underrepresented minority groups, including military veteran, rural, and first-generation college students.

Several Tennessee entities also provide workforce development programs with an environmental or clean energy focus. For example, Knoxville’s Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development Program (SEEED) is a green community development non-profit focusing on creating and sustaining jobs for the city’s urban young people, as well as ensuring clean energy technologies are available for low income residents. SEEED creates pathways out of poverty for young adults through clean energy career readiness training, while equipping communities with environmental literacy skills. Learn more about SEEED at http://seeedknox.com/.

Additionally, Build it Green (BIG) is a workforce development program offered by green|spaces in partnership with Build Me a World and Empower Chattanooga. Based on Knoxville’s SEEED program, BIG is a paid, 12-week energy jobs training initiative for young adults from low-income communities. BIG prepares its participants for entry level jobs in the energy services field while equipping them to engage low-income residents in sustainability practices and programs, such as for residential energy efficiency and weatherization projects. BIG also provides job shadowing opportunities and job placement assistance for all participants.

THDA offers a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) against federal income tax liability each year (for 10 years) for owners and investors in low-income rental housing. The amount of tax credits is based on reasonable costs of development, as determined by THDA, and the number of qualified low-income units. Tax credits are awarded through both competitive and non-competitive processes. Competitive applicants could be awarded additional points in the application process if they agreed to achieve Enterprise Green Communities Certification at the properties being funded. The Enterprise Green Communities Certification process mandates energy efficiency at properties being evaluated and rewards the following energy efficiency activities: compliance with other energy efficiency building programs, including the ENERGY STAR New Homes Program or Multifamily High-Rise Program (MFHR); installation of energy efficient appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling equipment; preparation of property for future or expanded renewable energy generation onsite; and other energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to decrease residents’ energy burden. Competitive applicants could also be awarded additional points for meeting certain ENERGY STAR requirements. In 2019, $34,828,731 in LIHTC was allocated between both competitive and non-competitive applications; by the end of the year, 16,076 units were under construction, and 51,232 units at 595 properties had been placed into service under the program. THDA continued to update its LIHTC interactive map that displays properties assisted through the program since 1989.

Other programs, LIHEAP, and WAP

THDA offers a Low-Income Housing Credit (LIHC) against federal income tax liability for owners and investors in low-income rental housing. The amount of tax credits is based on reasonable costs of development, as determined by THDA, and the number of qualified low-income units. Tax credits are awarded through both competitive and non-competitive processes. THDA’s Low Income Housing Credit 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan includes a number of energy efficiency related requirements under Section 12 (Threshold and Minimum Construction and Rehabilitation Requirements). By Q3 2020 (the latest data publicly available), $9,259,916 in LIHC was reserved/allocated between both competitive and non-competitive applications; by the end of the year, 12,648 units were under construction at 112 properties. THDA continued to update its LIHC interactive map that displays properties assisted through the program since 1989.

THDA also administers Tennessee’s Weatherization Assistance Program. The WAP program is designed to assist low-income households in reducing their fuel costs while contributing to national energy conservation through increased energy efficiency and consumer education. Households that include young children, elderly, or disabled members are given priority for service. By Q3 2020, THDA allocated $9,695,185 to eligible candidates under the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Finally, THDA administers Tennessee’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program aims to assist low income households, primarily those who pay a high proportion of household income on home energy, in meeting their immediate energy needs (including through weatherization outside the Weatherization Assistance Program). In Tennessee, LIHEAP is administered through a network of 19 local agencies that reach all 95 counties. By Q3 of calendar year 2020, THDA allocated $214,590,142 to eligible candidates under LIHEAP, $10,061,456 of which was committed specifically to low-income weatherization projects under the program.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

The Governor's Office of Energy Development worked with the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to produce a series of videos for residents in response to the top questions and problems that WAP encounters in their work. These videos are meant to help residents resolve some of the basic energy-related issues and save energy at home before WAP sends technicians to the home, thereby increasing WAPs bandwidth and ability to respond.

Utah currently has no specific required spending or savings requirements for low-income energy efficiency programs.

The Office of Energy Development through their Building Talks program educate contractors on Energy Code and how to meet Energy Code requirements. The Office of Energy Development also supports and partners with workforce training programs in higher education including the University of Utah's Intermountain Industrial Assessment Center and Salt Lake Community College's Energy Institute. The Weatherization Assistance Program provides extensive training to Weatherization Technicians based on assessments that monitor individual and workforce competencies. Additionally, technicians earn Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifications including Energy Auditor, Envelope Professional, and Quality Control Inspector. Technicians receive practical "hands-on" training at the Intermountain Weatherization Training Center in traditional vs advanced energy efficient building practices, whole house and duct air-leakage testing, infrared thermography of building components, HVAC installation and repair, and energy efficient lighting technologies.

Last Updated: July 2021

The Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2020 requires the preparation of Vermont Climate Action Plan (‘the Plan’) by December 1, 2021. The Vermont Climate Council (VCC), created by Global Warming Solutions Act of 2020, has taken a unique and targeted approach to community engagement with traditionally marginalized and impacted communities as it seeks to develop Vermont's Climate Action Plan (CAP). The Council, through the Just Transitions subcommittee, is working in coordination with consultants to "co-create" a public engagement plan with Vermont communities, particularly focused on those most impacted. This process is currently underway. The co-creation process aims to both engage with communities that are typically not engaged well and develop the public engagement plan for the VCC CAP process. This strategy will utilize multiple communication mediums to engage these communities and the public at large, including interviews, focus groups and round tables, and online surveys and polling platforms. In particular, the process will begin with 15 one-on-one interviews and two roundtables of community leaders (one BIPOC specific affinity space) to inform the development of public engagement plan. The Department of Public Service (PSD), assisted by other state agencies, is also in the process of writing the state's Comprehensive Energy Plan (which occurs every six years). The PSD is working closely with the VCC and their consultants to coordinate on this stakeholder engagement, so as to not overburden communities and make sure insights from the process are incorporated into both plans.

All VT EEU's have low-income sector minimum spending requirements. Additionally, Efficiency Vermont has conducted a statewide energy burden study to determine the areas of the state with the highest energy burdens for targeting efficiency programs. Distribution utilities, which operate Renewable Energy Standard Tier 3 programs for fossil fuel reduction, must achieve equity in all sectors, including low-income, in measure/programs offerings. Programs include incentives for CCHPs, weatherization, and Electric Vehicles. Numerous other efforts are underway to develop tools to help further evaluate how initiatives are affecting marginalized groups. The State of Vermont has developed an Equity Impact Assessment tool to help agencies evaluate policies across numerous dimensions - such as which communities will benefit from policies, how adverse impacts will be mitigated, community engagement and consultation, and the metrics and data required to track or evaluate the program. The VCC through their Just Transitions subcommittee is also in the process of developing a series of guiding principles for a just transition, including a series of questions and draft equity scoring rubric, to help the VCC evaluate potential recommendations for inclusion in the Climate Action Plan.

The VT General Assembly recently allocated $2,000,000 to Efficiency Vermont for energy efficiency & weatherization workforce development initiatives and to support the expansion of Neighborworks of Western Vermont’s Heat Squad program. They also called for formation of a Weatherization Workforce Development Group to develop plans for the coordinated delivery of a standardized statewide Building Sciences curriculum that includes weatherization. The curriculum shall be designed to establish a career pathway in energy efficiency construction and shall include a certification that is broadly recognized, transparent, and portable. The plans are due to the VT General Assembly by October 1, 2021.

Last Updated: July 2021

The Virginia Clean Economy Act (SB 851/HB 1526) was passed by the General Assembly and enacted in April 2020. The VCEA commits utilities to timelines to provide 100% clean power (by 2045 for Dominion Energy, and 2050 for Appalachian Power Company). The VCEA increases the utilities' required investment in energy efficiency programs to serve LMI customers from 5 to 15% of total program spending. During the 2020 General Assembly session, legislation passed to enable Virginia's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Clean Energy and Flood Preparedness Act (HB 981) requires that fifty (50) percent of the revenue generated shall be credited to an account administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to support low-income energy efficiency programs, including programs for eligible housing developments. DHCD shall review and approve funding proposals for such energy efficiency programs.

The Virginia Energy Workforce Consortium (VEWC) is working to build and strengthen collaborative efforts to significantly impact career awareness, education pathways, and approach tomorrow’s workforce needs in the energy sector.

Weatherization Training Centers. Through these centers, energy professionals gain expert training in the creation of healthier, safer, more energy-efficient living and working environments.

Last Updated: July 2021

Community and stakeholder engagement

The state's 2021 State Energy Strategy centered around equity, with an equity lens being used to frame the executive summary as well as an introductory chapter devoted to equitable policy design. One of the most critical pieces of this equity chapter was identifying who has been left out in the clean energy transition by "ensuring public participation and inclusion of historically marginalized voices" (pg 24, Equity chapter). However, to date these community engagement strategies are still underdevelopment. In the 2021 Legislative session, Washington state passed a bill that directs agencies to incorporate environmental justice into its strategic plan (SB 5141), including the development of a robust community engagement plan (see bill language, section 13). Supported by this new statewide mandate, the State Energy Strategy will be part of a greater effort across state agencies to ensure that marginalized voices are centered in the grant programs, agency request legislation, and other significant actions taken by the agency.

Goals and metrics for tracking progress

In 2019, legislation was passed that created a prevailing priority across all CEF grant programs: priority must be given to projects that benefit vulnerable populations including Tribes and communities with high environmental or energy burden. Further, a new allocation of funds was established specifically for community solar projects that provide benefit to low-income households, low-income tribal housing programs, affordable housing providers, and nonprofit organizations providing services to low-income communities. Also in 2019, the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) was passed, creating new low-income and equity provisions for energy planning in WA. 19.405.120 RCW (Energy assistance for low-income households) mandates that all electric utilities in WA make programs and funding available for low-income households (a threshold to be decided upon by UTC and Commerce) prioritizing those with high energy burden (> 6%). Additionally, all electric utilities must provide data to Commerce on the amount of money spent on energy assistance programs, how many households and household type every other year. Utilities must also submit a biennial assessment report analyzing the effectiveness of programs (short-term and sustained) to reduce energy burden, outreach strategies including tribal consultation and language access and the funding levels necessary to meet: (A) 60% current energy assistance need, or increase of 15% from 2018, by 2030; and (B) 90% current energy assistance need by 2050. Utilities are mandated to make progress on these goals as part of compliance with CETA.

CETA also included equity provisions as part of the utility planning process. In addition to electricity being reliable, clean, safe and affordable, it must be equitable as well. Provisions as part of the 2030 greenhouse gas neutral standard (19.405.040(8) RCW) include language that states that every customer must benefit from the transition to clean energy including through an equitable distribution of benefits to highly impacted communities (19.405.020(23) RCW) and vulnerable populations (19.405.020(40) RCW). This requirement also extends to two new utility planning documents, the Clean Energy Implementation Plan (19.405.060 RCW) and Clean Energy Action Plan (19.280.030 RCW), where utilities must include these requirements as part of their long-term planning. The rules for how this will be implemented are still in process. There is also a new requirement that integrated resource plans include an analysis informed by a cumulative impacted analysis based on a mapping tool currently being developed by the WA State Department of Health. Commerce and the UTC will develop rules to implement this tool into the utility planning process.

Commerce incorporated specific income, air quality, transportation and energy justice indicators into two of the agency's most recent Clean Energy Fund grants (EV infrastructure and LI Community Solar). The state plans to track these indicators across the census tracts of applicants to monitor changes to the environmental or health factors the indicators measure.

Clean energy workforce development

CETA includes incentives for workforce development in the form of a tax credit for using certain labor standards. The statutes includes a 50 percent tax exemption for projects that make a good-faith effort at “procurement from and contracts with women, minority, or veteran-owned businesses; procurement from and contracts with entities that have a history of complying with federal and state wage and hour laws and regulations; apprenticeship utilization; and preferred entry for workers living in the area where the project is being constructed,” 75 percent tax exemption for projects that meet the above criteria and also “compensate workers at prevailing wage rates determined by local collective bargaining," and a 100 percent tax exemption for projects “developed under a community workforce agreement or project labor agreement,” as certified by the WA Department of Labor and industries.

Last Updated: July 2021

The state's energy plans or electrification strategies do not currently establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers, nor do they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020

The State of Wisconsin published a Climate Change Task Force Report in October 2020, containing a section on climate justice and equity along with a few goals listed. In addition, The University of Wisconsin in partnership with the Office of Energy Innovation performed research and analysis on energy poverty in Wisconsin.

Last Updated: July 2021

We were unable to determine if the state's energy plans or electrification strategies establish specific policies or equity-related metrics to ensure access for underserved customers or if they include specific measures to prioritize clean energy workforce development.

Last Updated: September 2020