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Advocates: Poor, Middle Class Left Out of Clean Energy Program

Clean energy advocates say so far only 200 low-income families in New York have gained access to solar power. (Geo Geller)
Clean energy advocates say so far only 200 low-income families in New York have gained access to solar power. (Geo Geller)
September 28, 2017

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – New York's working class and minority communities still can't access clean, renewable power, according to activists seeking the attention of New York's energy czar.

Members of the Energy Democracy Alliance interrupted the keynote speech at the Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV Future 2017 Conference in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Two years ago, the state launched a program that was supposed to help bring solar power to communities that couldn't afford to install panels on their roofs.

But according to Kim Fraczek, director of the Sane Energy Project, so far there's been little progress.

"If only 200 low-income families in the whole state of New York are being served, how is this actually reforming the energy vision?" she questions.

Richard Kauffman, the state energy czar, wrote earlier this year that the goal of REV isn't to make solar work for every customer right now, but it would become more accessible over time.

But Fraczek says the state is not allocating the resources it has to give low-income communities access to renewable energy sources. She points to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to push for billions of dollars in subsidies to prop up aging nuclear power plants.

"So we have the means to do it,” she states. “We just have to force our decision makers to have the will to serve our communities instead of their banker friends."

The Energy Democracy Alliance says the state needs to ensure that all New Yorkers can participate in decisions about their energy futures, and share the benefits of renewable energy.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY