Local Clean Energy

How can we effectively combat climate change? How can we push back against what is happening at the federal level? The answer - GO LOCAL!

We all know we need to get to 100% of our electricity coming from renewable energy. We also know we need to electrify everything - our cars, our heating, etc. How can we do that in the shortest amount of time, while making our communities better and creating jobs as we clean up our air and water?

Local clean energy projects and policies are key to get us to 100% renewable energy. That's why MCAN, in conjunction with our Mass Power Forward colleagues, has put together the Local Clean Energy Toolkit. It's finally ready!

Based on experience from dozens of chapters and local volunteers like you, the materials included are intended to bring you all the way from "I'd like to do something locally that helps solve climate change" to "wow, we just won our first campaign!" Even better, each of these victories gets your community and our state closer to being completely clean. We built these materials so that you can build a team, make decisions about your next steps, and take action. If you want any of these in word so you can localize it for your community, email us. 

You can see the full toolkit here or click on the links below for each individual section. 

Here is what is included:

So, now what?

Start with taking a look at it all.

Next, we suggest you fill out the checklist and email it to us ([email protected]). That helps us know where you are and to schedule out webinars to talk through various types of policy and project recommendations. 


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This unprecedented threat we face is also an unprecedented opportunity to create clean energy jobs, develop sustainable neighborhoods, and clean up our air and water. With our state and federal governments considering multi-billion dollar investments in fossil fuels, now more than ever we need to lead a clean energy revolution from the ground up and show that we can get 100% of our energy from clean sources.  We can live better lives while creating good jobs, making great neighborhoods, and saving our green space.

How Does Local Energy Help Everyone?

A switch from dirty to clean energy helps communities in several ways:

  • It puts the power and the solutions in the hands of our communities

  • It creates sustainable jobs - clean energy solutions generate good safe jobs

  • It protects green spaces - investing in clean energy and energy efficiency will help prevent the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens our natural landscapes

  • it cleans up our air and water - the more clean energy we put into place, the more dirty energy we can take offline

Is the transition to clean energy possible?

Though a 100% clean energy future may sound daunting, it is possible with strong local action. Emerging as environmental leaders, communities including San Diego CA, Burlington VT, Boulder CO, and Rochester MN have all committed to 100% renewable energy along with major corporations such as Amazon, Google, and Johnson & Johnson. Studies from major universities and institutions — including Stanford University, the University of Delaware, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Earth System Research Laboratory, and others — have shown that a 100% clean electric grid is within reach.

As we transition to 100% clean energy, as much of that energy as possible should come from local sources, like wind and solar installations in New England. That way, we can maximize the economic and environmental benefits for our communities, while ensuring that the dollars we spend are resulting in more clean energy on the grid.

Why local action and local projects?

Local action and local projects are good for two reasons: they let your community make choices based on your values and priorities, and they prove that climate change solutions work. Your town gets to decide what our energy future looks like, and prove to state policy makers that communities can . We can set the example at the local level and show that it is possible to clean up our state and transition to a clean energy future!

Across Massachusetts, cities and towns are already leading the way towards 100 percent renewable energy. For example:

  • New Bedford has installed 16 megawatts of solar to power its municipal facilities, and more than a third of the vehicles in its municipal fleet are electric vehicles.

  • Cambridge has adopted a Net Zero Action Plan, laying out steps for the city to reduce carbon emissions from its buildings by 70 percent by 2040.

  • Sutton has received $440,000 in funding for energy efficiency upgrades for municipal buildings through the Green Communities program.

What can YOU do? 

We have built you a toolkit walks your local team through the process of figuring out what your town has done, and helps you think about next steps.

  1. Join an upcoming webinar (or watch a recording) to learn how to assess your town’s progress and choose your next steps

  2. Complete our clean energy checklist on your town’s actions so far

  3. Build your team, and select your first  project or policy to work on from our list of recommendations.

  4. Form an energy committee if your community does not have one already

  5. Ask your city councilors or selectboard members to pass a resolution committing your community to achieve 100 percent renewable energy and identifying the next steps your community will take to achieve that goal. (If you live in a community with town meetings, consider introducing the resolution at your next town meeting.)

  6. Choose a local clean energy policy or project from our list and get it done!

For more information or for help and coaching to get projects done in your town, email us!

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