CommonBound Track: "Democratizing Energy"

Addressing climate change means creating a new economy. And that new economy requires a fundamentally new, decentralized and equitable energy model to power it.

Energy democracy means bringing energy resources under public or community control and ownership--a key aspect of replacing our current corporate fossil-fuel economy with one that puts racial, social, and economic justice at the center of the transition to a 100% renewable energy future. That's no small task.

This track will explore the many aspects of democratizing energy: the political strategies, the necessary policies, the grassroots and frontline community organizing needed to implement these policies, the reconceptualization of the electrical grid, and the financing needed to build community-based renewable energy systems. Sessions will serve to lift up and promote energy democracy as a key pathway to a just transition of the energy sector.

Energy democracy intersects the movements for renewable energy, climate/environmental justice, racial (social/economic) justice, new economy, resilient communities, and youth empowerment. We are looking for workshop proposals which address these movements and that:

Explore the pathways to a more equitable, renewable, and democratically controlled energy system.

Discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by energy democracy initiatives, both internally in our movement building and externally as we confront the dominant system.

Show working models and projects that demonstrate the principles of energy democracy in practice.

Connect the struggle to democratize energy to other social movements and opportunities to advance economic and racial justice.

Some examples of the types of workshops we’re looking for address questions that include (but aren’t limited to!):

  • What is Energy Democracy? What are the essential elements that a democratic energy system must have? What are the organizing strategies and practices for advancing toward a democratized energy system?
  • How does race play a central role in the leadership of the movement for a just transition to 100% renewable energy? What are the emerging narratives that speak to the intersection with the Movement for Black Lives, Immigrant Justice, Voting Rights, and other movements for social and economic justice?
  • What are some of the technical and economic shifts and policy fights (Net Metering, Clean Power Plan, subsidies, and so forth) that are determining the future of renewable electricity infrastructure and control of the grid?
  • How can the community exert control over municipal and state decisions about energy system design, a space currently controlled by technocrats and corporate interests?
  • What are some working models of community-based, collective renewable energy development, and how do they empower their respective communities?
  • How do we finance community-owned and community controlled energy projects, especially in communities most impacted by the fossil-fuel energy system?

These are just a few examples of the kind of topics we hope to explore in this track. We invite participatory and educational workshops of all formats.

If you have any questions, please contact Al Weinrub, Coordinator of the Local Clean Energy Alliance, at al.weinrub [at]

Coordinated by:

  • Al Weinrub, Local Clean Energy Alliance
  • Jacqui Patterson, NAACP
  • Colette Pichon Battle, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
  • Jessica Azulay, New York Energy Democracy Alliance (NYEDA) / AGREE
  • Shiva Patel, Energy Solidarity Cooperative
  • John Farrell, Institute for Local Self Reliance


Propose a Session