Health

Using the Sun to Achieve Clean Energy

Local Programs Offer Subsidies

The D.C. Public Service Commission hosted the Clean Energy Summit in late September, bringing in many energy professionals to discuss the ways to expand renewable and cleaner energy throughout the city.

The path to clean energy is ongoing but lower-income communities and more particularly communities of color “face the harshest consequences of climate change,” says D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5).

During the panel discussions, industry experts explained how their work is contributing to a more renewable and sustainable path to clean energy in the city and throughout the country. City and federal industry leaders gathered and exchanged ideas on how together they are improving the state of clean energy in the U.S.

Ted Trabue, managing director of DC Sustainable Energy Utility, says his office has a goal to reduce local electric consumption by one percent each year and reduce natural gas use by about .75 percent a year.

Thus far, he said, there are more solar systems in Ward 7 than there are in Ward 3 and that they have installed more than 1,000 solar systems for local residents whose income meets requirements for subsidies.

By the end of the year, he added, the program is expected to help “an additional 6,000 income-qualified residents get subscriptions to the community solar systems [and] thereby cut their electric bill in half for the next15 years.”

The Clean Energy Summit closed with a discussion on how the federal government is contributing to the ongoing fight for clean energy.

Kelly Speakes-Backman, principal deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. The Department of Energy, says the work that is being done is contributing to decarbonizing the electric grid, decarbonizing the industrial sector, reducing the carbon footprint of buildings, decarbonizing the agriculture sector and decarbonizing the transportation sector which, she adds, contributes to the largest greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

“First, it is important to acknowledge that, while there has been extensive work in the field of energy, climate and environmental justice, there’s still so much we can and will do,” says Dr. Cecilia Martinez, senior director of environmental justice at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

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