Empowering front-line organizations to expand renewable energy access to underserved populations is the goal of a new community investment initiative from IGS Energy. The Ohio-based energy provider announced $1.2 million in funding to 10 non-profits with projects focused energy equity and the benefits of the green economy.

IGS Energy’s Clean Energy for Everyone community investment program helps non- profit organizations accelerate the adoption of clean energy, create higher paying jobs in the green sector and extend the benefits of renewable energy to underserved communities. “Theseorganizationsworkhardeverydayinaverydirectway tobringthebenefitsof the clean energy economy to communities and populations that have been overlooked,” said Jen Bowden, vice president of Social Impact for IGS Energy. “We’re proud to partner with them in such a meaningful way.”

The projects were evaluated on their ability to ensure that the benefits of renewable energy including healthier communities, workforce development and a strong economy are available to everyone in an equitable and just way.

2021 Clean Energy for Everyone investments

  • GRID Alternatives: Addresses critical energy needs in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico through solar installations (121 kW) and job training for 32 individuals in the renewable energy sector
  • Native Renewables: Empowers Native American families lacking energy access to achieve energy independence through on-home, off-grid solar installations (7.2 kW) and provides job training and opportunities for 19 individuals in the renewable energy sector
  • Shared Power Network: Showcases solar energy and brings solar energy education into Ohio classrooms by providing mobile solar kits and renewable energy curriculum to 10,000 students and educators
  • IMPACT Community Action: Development and implementation of an energy efficiencyworkforce developmenttrack (weatherization, solar installation, electric vehicles, and energy industry certificates) to train individuals in Central Ohio and connect them with employers and jobs
  • Mid-Ohio Food Collective: Creation of workforce development programming around solar installation, energy efficiency, EV technicians, and EV charging electricians to train under-resourced individuals and match them with future employers while providing wrap-around support and services
  • The Nature Conservancy: TNC will work to reforest and site renewables on reclaimed land mines in WV (Mining the Sun program). They will also work with local WV landowners to help them protect family-owned forests and connect them to the carbon markets (Family Forest Carbon Program).
  • Ohio Energy Project: Programming will be developed and implemented to connect textbook energy science to real-world experiences. 1,520 Educators and students will be equipped with the awareness and strategies they need to take charge of their energy footprint
  • Girl Scouts of Ohio Council: Programming will be developed to and implemented teach 273 Girl Scouts the principles of sustainability and renewable energy and give them tools to take action in their households and lives
  • COSI: Clean energy will be incorporated into learning materials that are available online nationwide and physical kits for families in Central Ohio
  • Boy Scouts – Simon Kenton Council: 75 Scouts will participate in workshops to learn about sustainability and energy, and the connection between their choices and the climate

The data is clear when it comes to the negative impact of climate change and the lack of broad access to the benefits of renewable energy in underserved communities:

  • A new EPA analysis shows that the most severe harm from climate change falls disproportionately upon underserved communities who are least able to prepare for, and recover from, heat waves, poor air quality, flooding and other impacts.
  • Despite the risks associated with climate change, less than 2% of annu al worldwide giving is directed toward climate change mitigation, according to a report published by ClimateWorks Foundation
  • To be considered affordable, utility bills should be no more than 6% of one’s income. But energy costs now represent 20% or more of income for many of the poorest Americans (source: Independent Institute).

Clean energy jobs paid 25% more than the national median wage in 2019 (source: Clean Jobs, Better Jobs Report).

The clean energy economy workforce is older, dominated by male workers, and lacks racial diversity when compared to all occupations nationally. Recent data shows that less than 20% of workers in the clean energy production and energy efficiency sectors are women, while black workers fill less than 10% of those jobs (source: The Brookings Institution).

The Clean Energy for Everyone program is also designed to build a connection between energy use and environmental benefits for young people. Several grant partners are developing a curriculum that creates this awareness and then challenges young people to act as a result of learning about how their energy use impacts the environment.

“There are significant benefits to the expansion of renewable energy, and they need to be extended to everyone,” Scott White, president and CEO of IGS Energy. “That collective understanding and broad awareness is the only way we can move forward as a society grappling with climate change.”

For more information, visit www.igs.com.