Thought Leadership

A Vision of Clean Technology Integration in the Transformative Climate Communities Program


By Center for Sustainable Energy

October 2, 2017

California to connect clean technologies and communities in high need

On August 24, the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) approved the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program’s final guidelines. By the end of the year, California will embark on the first-of-its-kind effort with the outlay of $140 million of California Climate Investments (cap-and-trade) funds in three communities—$70 million in Fresno, $35 million in Los Angeles and $35 million in a third location (see: Eligible Project Areas and Planning Areas).

The goal of the TCC Program is to accelerate catalytic, transformational change in some of the state’s most disadvantaged and polluted communities to achieve large-scale, holistic impacts in areas of high need. As the SGC prepares to make these investments in combination with public agencies, community groups, foundations, businesses, financial institutions and nongovernmental organizations, the Center for Sustainable Energy provides a vision of a TCC Program with rich energy planning and deeply integrated clean technologies. The council is accepting project concept proposals through Oct. 18, with full applications due the last day of November.

To learn more about CSE’s insight and recommendations, read Hernandez’s white paper
As We Lift All Boats: A Vision of Clean Technology Integration in the Transformative Climate Communities Program

CSE provided feedback before SGC (January, March, April and August 2017) under the umbrella of Six Clean Technology Policy Principles focused on the empowerment of TCC Program residents and community members. Through the pursuit of these principles, the program will be able to leverage clean technology as a tool to promote engagement, cultivate curiosity, empower residents and instill environmentally and community-focused values deeply aligned with the program’s transformative objectives.

Principle 1: As interactive as possible

Create education and outreach (E&O) resources that provide hands-on experiences and empower residents to better understand clean technologies. This interactivity should be intuitive, but also driven by tailored and targeted E&O initiatives in languages and culture appropriate to community residents. CSE’s experience across broad E&O channels has shown the value of group-targeted events, such as electric vehicle ride and drives and home solar workshops, as effective accelerants to clean technology adoption.

Principle 2: As much as possible

Focus on maximizing clean energy technology access—a clean energy choice inundation tactic of sorts. This strategy recognizes the value of using mass exposure as an opportunity to create widely available and seamlessly integrated clean technology into the community member’s lifestyle and daily practices. Such proliferation will help drive business development opportunities and consumer adoption.

Principle 3: As diverse as possible

Concentrate on multiple channels of clean technology delivery and dissemination—essentially a “menu of low- and zero-carbon choices”—that leverage the value in technology diversification to solve localized community needs and challenges, with wider touchpoints on regional and grid-level resiliency strategies consistent with statewide efforts and initiatives.

Principle 4: As early as possible

Maximize exposure quickly and early, essentially a youth-focused strategy, with the goal to create experiences that inspire individuals to learn more. The TCC Program presents significant opportunities to build community-scale and community-focused learning centers, incubators, job and workforce training and additional leadership areas, where clean technology and acquisition can merge with educational and training experiences and activities.

Principle 5: As integrated as possible

Develop seamless integration, maximizing clean technology assimilation into communities. Ironically, the most successful projects will go “unseen” by becoming quickly absorbed into the social and community landscape and practice. Success is achieved when the TCC Program becomes a demonstration of “deep clean technology integration” and a testament to furthering program activities in additional cities.

Principle 6: Savings and pocketbook-oriented investments

Recognize that our everyday choices can improve our planet while saving us money. Investments need to maintain focus on the TCC resident’s pocketbook with a concentrated focus on relating projects to savings. Here, the program succeeds when the resident’s disposable cash from clean technology integration increases, which can lead to any number of auxiliary benefits, including financial stabilization and wealth building.

These principles will be achieved by implementing specific strategies, including

  • Leveraging existing plans
  • Developing “a menu of clean technology offerings”
  • Developing a robust education and outreach plan
  • Seeking to “trigger a rare event”
  • Ensuring a robust data collection plan
  • Ensuring data is usable and in clear formats
  • Conducting deep program analysis
  • Adjusting program activities based on feedback (as needed)
  • Repeating successful practices

Lifting all boats

The TCC Program represents a unique opportunity to strengthen the interconnection between clean technology and local communities. It presents opportunities to apply our capabilities, spirit and resolve, not only to address social inequities, but to create incubators and data that can drive innovative technology activities in the communities that will benefit the most from their integration.

Through policies that prioritize inclusion, interaction, inundation, technology diversity, early exposure and savings, the TCC Program will spearhead this effort. By using education, outreach, data and incentives, the program will leverage proven policy tools that support program success. Through implementing strategic practices that organize and develop systematic program design and data collection plans, the program will capture insight into this unique undertaking.

Moreover, through the concerted integration of a menu of clean technology program offerings, we will in fact build a program capable of “lifting all boats.”