Clean Energy For All
Scenes from a clean-energy revolution:
- A young boxer from the Bronx turns away from a life of drugs and trouble to become a leader bringing solar power to her community.
- At a former steel-making site in western New York, wind turbines and solar panels generate clean energy to power a growing economy.
- Families in Buffalo save money thanks to an energy-efficiency program that also creates living-wage jobs for people who need work.
From Main Street to Wall Street, from farms to factories, and from churches to corporations, New Yorkers are driving a shift from the dirty, dwindling energy sources of the past to the clean, renewable energy sources of a better future. And that is what the 100% campaign is all about: making clean energy accessible and affordable for all.
The 100% campaign launched in New York this summer, and is rolling across the country with activities, programs and events designed to open doors to a clean energy future for everyone. From a 100% Hotline that provides clean energy concierge services to celebrity events to policy work, the 100% campaign is making it easier and cheaper for consumers to switch to clean, efficient energy. And along the way, the campaign celebrates progress — from major milestones to individual achievements.
“We see clean energy as a means to something greater for individuals and for all of us collectively,” says actor Mark Ruffalo, co-founder of the 100% campaign, who lives in New York State with his family. “It is not just about clean air and clean water — though that is critical. It is not just about our changing climate change — though that is imperative. It is about building a world that frees people to invest in what matters most to them and brings out the best in people.”
Take Krystal Ruiz, who spoke at the 100% campaign’s launch. The young boxer from the Bronx was heading down the wrong path when she joined Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit bringing affordable solar power and job training to struggling communities.
“I love being out there on the roofs and in the field,” Krystal says. “We really are helping low-income families save money. And not only are we helping people save money, we are giving people like me jobs.”
Researchers at Cornell University, Stanford, and the University of California-Davis have found that moving toward 100% clean efficient energy could double the number of energy-related jobs, while saving every American thousands of dollars a year in health and utility costs.
“100% clean energy is possible using today’s technologies, and we have the science to prove it, ” says actor and philanthropist Leonardo DiCaprio, who participated in the 100% campaign launch. “But there are very real economic, regulatory and political barriers to adoption. That’s what this campaign is all about — addressing those barriers and making it easier and cheaper to move to clean energy for 100% of the people.”
America’s electrical system was built on a century-old model of big, centralized generating facilities powered by fossil fuels and owned by utilities. But across America, people are discovering the benefits of generating more of their own power closer to home, using homegrown energy sources that can never run out.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy plan, Reforming the Energy Vision, is a step in the right direction, and the 100% campaign is working to make sure everyone is included. The governor is calling for half of New York’s electricity to be generated by renewables by 2030. A new “shared renewable” program allows New Yorkers who can’t do solo renewable projects — including people living in multifamily housing — to participate in community-based solar gardens and wind farms, with 20 percent of the slots reserved for people with low and moderate incomes.
Committing to clean energy puts New York in great company. Businesses from Google to General Motors to Walmart are deploying solar and wind energy. Schools from Alaska to Nebraska to New York’s Hoosic Valley are generating renewable power. The U.S. military — America’s largest energy consumer — plans to produce 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025.
New Yorkers who want to join the clean energy revolution can start by joining the 100% campaign at 100.org. There, they can see who else is participating and connect with the energy concierge service Domino, which provides customized energy advice and recommends trusted service providers. The 100% campaign is also engaging with businesses, citizens, and governments to encourage high standards and fair rules that allow everyone to access clean energy. And the 100% campaign’s Leadership Fund supports local organizations working on clean energy access, adoption and affordability.
The clean energy revolution is everywhere. On the site of a shuttered steel plant, America’s largest solar-module factory is being built in Buffalo. Upstate, a couple living from paycheck to paycheck embraced energy efficiency and started saving $200 a month, allowing them to go out to dinner for the first time in years. An Orange County farmer installed solar panels, lowering energy costs and making room in the budget to expand the family farm’s cheese-making operations.
Clean energy is freeing people to give their 100% to whatever matters most to them. It is leading to a better life for all New Yorkers — and a better future for the state they call home.