How Do We Decarbonize Our Electricity Supply? Please click on each of the below planning pages to discover more info and resources. Download the PDF 1. Convene Identify and map key partners, decision makers, and stakeholders Convene Who in our community will be positively or negatively impacted by renewable energy development? Begin identifying stakeholders by considering how electrification and decarbonization might impact vulnerable communities. View tract-level energy burden and social vulnerability indices in the Data Viewer, part of NREL’s SLOPE platform. Consider who in your community lacks access to clean energy using Berkeley Lab’s Residential Solar-Adopter Income and Demographic Trends. Conduct a community assessment and barriers analysis using Better Buildings Clean Energy for Low Income Communities Accelerator (CELICA). Who should be involved in developing our electricity decarbonization strategy? Identify key stakeholders, foster support, assemble an advisory team, and determine what stakeholders’ roles might be in program or policy adoption, implementation, and long-term operation using Chapter 2 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities and Stage 1 of USDN’s Guidebook on Equitable Clean Energy Program Design for Local Governments and Partners. Identify local grassroots organizations involved in energy (e.g., Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) and consider contacting members of the Florida Advisory Council on Climate and Energy to include in planning and outreach activities. Make participation as easy as possible for stakeholders using NREL’s Best Practices in Community Energy Planning. Lastly, document each stakeholder’s role, impact, and interest in planning and implementation using DOE’s Stakeholder Matrix. 2. Engage Invite diverse perspectives, center community voices, identify stakeholder priorities, and develop a shared vision Engage How can we improve equity through renewable energy development? Begin by defining equity with the stakeholders. Definitions of equity, energy justice, energy burden, and energy insecurity outlined in the Energy Justice Workbook provide a starting point. In addition to revisiting indicators of social vulnerability using SLOPE’s Data Viewer, explore how various housing and household characteristics relate to energy burden using DOE’s LEAD Tool. Explore how to advance equity in renewable energy planning using DOE’s SolSmart Guidance for Advancing Solar Equity. Which economic, environmental, and community resilience benefits matter most to our community and stakeholders? With stakeholders, outline goals and desired outcomes using Stage 1 of USDN’s Guidebook on Equitable Clean Energy Program Design for Local Governments and Partners. Get help with goal-setting using EPA’s Goal Setting Guidance. As you explore possibilities with stakeholders, consider potential community benefits of renewable development using the 100% Network’s Comprehensive Buildings Blocks for a Regenerative & Just 100% Policy (p. 14). What is our shared vision of success? Create a shared vision of success to help guide conversations with stakeholders, build public support, attract investors, and bolster grant applications. Revisit Chapter 2 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities to learn how to create a shared vision and craft a compelling story for public messaging. Explore projections for energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and technology adoption rates to help connect stakeholder visions and priorities to mobility, renewable energy, and decarbonization goals using SLOPE’s Scenario Planner. 3. Assess Map existing assets and analyze policy, market, societal, and technical barriers and opportunities Assess What does our energy supply look like today? How might that change in the future? Explore solar pricing and design trends using Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun Tool and SEIA’s Solar State By State map. Identify the electric utilities serving your area using DHS’ Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data – Electric Retail Service Territories. Review city-level strategies relevant to your utility type using Section 2 of Cadmus’ Pathways to 100: An Energy Supply Transformation Primer for U.S. Cities. Which renewable energy technologies and procurement options should we prioritize? Use an energy analysis to balance energy consumption and production by consulting Chapter 8 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities. Review typical sizes and applications of solar in Section 1.5 of DOE’s Solar Power in Your Community Guidebook. View modeled maximum technical generation potential for renewable energy technologies in your area using the energy generation layers in SLOPE’s Data Viewer. What are the social, cultural, and political factors affecting renewable energy deployment? Explore how sociodemographic factors affect the distribution of environmental burdens and learn about the role of government in combatting inequities using Chapter 2 of USDN’s Guide to Equitable, Community-Driven Climate Preparedness Planning. Investigate demographic trends in solar adoption using Berkeley Lab’s Solar Demographics Trends and Analysis tools. What are the key planning documents and policies that affect our energy supply and grid infrastructure? Navigate federal and state regulations renewable energy projects using DOE’s Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit. Lastly, develop an energy master plan by consulting Chapter 5 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities. 4. Plan and Prepare Identify human, technical, and financial resource needs and align with equity and resilience goals Plan and Prepare Will our energy plan support our community’s equity goals? Consider the shared vision of success your community created and consult the Initiative for Energy Justice’s Justice in 100 scorecard to gauge whether your plan supports your equity goals. How can we help local businesses and workers benefit from decarbonization? View data on solar employment using SEIA’s National Solar Jobs Census. Consider the workforce policies in NAACP’s Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide (p. 36–41) and IREC’s Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry. Help workers gain the necessary skills and credentials with DOE’s Weatherization Standardized Curricula and IREC’s Clean Energy Resources and Training. How can we anticipate potential risks and plan for long-term resilience? Explore the American Cities Climate Challenge’s library of tools and resources. Filter by procurement type and “finance and risk” to find case studies, templates, tools, and webinars. View Better Buildings Webinar Series on resilience for best practices and cost-effective strategies for growing resilience in the building sector. Find additional guidance on resilience in DOE’s Resilience Resource Navigator and Energy Resilience in the Public Sector. What financial and institutional resources are needed to carry out our plan? Develop financial and business models using Chapter 3 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities. Access technical assistance resources through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Estimate year one cost of energy and levelized cost of energy for renewable energy projects using NREL’s Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST). 5. Gather Resources Finalize budgets, schedules, and partnerships for near-term projects Gather Resources How do we identify the best funding opportunities for our near-term projects and craft successful applications? View the Florida Race to Zero Webinar for an overview of funding provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and how state and local governments and utilities can access these funds. Find information about federal funding opportunities, including program details, eligibility requirements, and helpful tips in the Federal Funding Opportunities for Local Decarbonization (FFOLD) resource. Explore SAM.gov and Grants.gov, which are the most comprehensive lists of Federal grants. Also explore Better Buildings Financing Navigator and Carbon Financing Decision Tree. How do we coordinate with the public and private sectors and with institutional partners on near-term projects? How do we establish consistent and transparent reporting processes? Engage partners and prepare for collaboration using the American Cities Climate Challenge’s Procurement Guidelines to Engage Potential External Partners. Develop strategies to collaborate with local utilities using Chapter 4 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities. Use the Sponsor Coordination Matrix to keep track of projects’ timelines, funding sources, and funding amounts. What is our long-term plan for financial sustainability? For an overview of financing options and lessons learned, consult Better Buildings In It for the Long Haul: Long-Term Financing Solutions for Energy Savings. Consider Revolving Loan Funds in Commercial Real Estate using Better Buildings guidance. Explore the benefits of challenges of different solar ownership options using SolSmart’s Toolkit for Local Governments: Market Development and Finance and their webinar How Local Governments Can Buy Renewable Energy & Support Market Development. 6. Implement Issue contracts and permits, mitigate risks, and track and report progress Implement How can we mitigate potential environmental, social, and safety risks? Follow guidance on safely siting, installing, and operating renewable energy systems. Consult SolSmart’s Best Practices in Solar Planning and Zoning and Solar PV Fire Safety Training, EPA’s Handbook on Siting Renewable Energy Projects While Addressing Environmental Issues, and NREL’s Best Practices for Siting Solar Photovoltaics on Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. Establish consumer protection measures using USDN’s Guidebook on Equitable Clean Energy Program Design for Local Governments and Partners (p. 58). Explore opportunities to use investments in energy as tools of social change using Greenlining Institute’s Investing in Climate Equity: Lessons and Opportunities for Increasing Green Bank Investments in Communities of Color. How can we vet contractors and vendors for energy efficiency services and streamline permitting processes? Use a request for proposals to convey specific expectations and requirements to project developers. NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities describes how to align an request for proposals with the community’s vision and what to expect during land entitlement processes to mitigate complexity and costly delays. Review permitting best practices and application forms for renewable energy and bulk transmission projects by revisiting DOE’s RAPID Toolkit. Consider simplifying your community’s solar permitting process using SolSmart’s Solar Permitting page and using SolarAPP+ to implement an instant permitting process. How can we structure performance plans and establish metrics to track and report progress? To define metrics and accountability plans, consider using the Shared Accountability Framework, IRENA’s Evaluating Policies in Support of the Deployment of Renewable Power, and/or the Initiative for Energy Justice’s Justice in 100 scorecard. 7. Maintain and Accelerate Monitor performance, maintain reliability, and promote success Maintain and Accelerate How can we incorporate feedback and lessons learned to identify opportunities for improvement? Review the iterative program design and implementation processes outlined in Stages 1 and 3 of USDN’s Guidebook on Equitable Clean Energy Program Design for Local Governments and Partners. How can we expand renewable energy access to more homes, businesses, and institutions? Make solar available to more households, businesses, and nonprofits using DOE’s Local Government Guide for Solar Deployment resources. Help homeowners, businesses, and institutions understand their options by developing outreach and education materials. Consider using DOE’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar. Consider ownership models that help lower costs, including those described in SWEEP’s EV and PV Power Purchase Handbook and Clean Energy Group’s Owning the Benefits of Solar + Storage. What policies can help renewable energy deployment while improving health and equity in our community? Consider the policy recommendations in the NAACP’s Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide and the Southern Economic Advancement Project’s State + Local Decarbonization Policies for the South. 8. Adapt and Iterate Strive for continuous learning, growth, innovation, and amplification Adapt and Iterate How do we future-proof our energy system and prepare for emerging technologies? Explore possible impacts of electric technology adoption and grid decarbonization on energy consumption and emissions in your county using SLOPE’s Scenario Planner. SLOPE’s state planning metrics can help you plan for infrastructure development. Plan for grid integration, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure using the analysis approaches described in Chapter 9 of NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities. Explore Better Buildings resources on Utilizing Emerging & Existing Technologies to Reduce Carbon and Leveraging Renewables to Reduce Carbon and gain specialized knowledge using the Technology Information Suites. How do we support an adaptable local workforce and business community to keep pace with future repair, replacement, growth, and upgrade needs? Support mentorship and networking opportunities for underrepresented workers using SEIA’s Diversity Best Practices Guide for the Solar Industry. Revisit DOE’s Weatherization Standardized Curricula, IREC’s Clean Energy Resources and Training, NAACP’s Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide (p. 36-41), and IREC’s Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry to see how else local governments can support a clean energy workforce. How do we amplify the impact of early wins and harness momentum to achieve our more ambitious goals? To pave the way for future development, ensure that early projects are done right by revisiting NREL’s Guide to Energy Master Planning of High-Performance Districts and Communities (p.30). Assess the social equity impacts of early projects and communicate the results and lessons learned using Greenlining Institute’s Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience: A Guidebook. This can help the project team find opportunities to achieve more ambitious goals and maintain public trust, enthusiasm, and support.