GOOD

Giving Power to the People

An activist advocating for a community's energy rights turns entrepreneur reconceiving a city's power...

An activist advocating for a community's energy rights turns entrepreneur reconceiving a city's power structure.What if you could choose between brewing your morning coffee by burning coal or harnessing solar power? For the past 15 years, Paul Fenn has worked to divert control of the energy supply away from the utility companies and into consumers' hands. His core concept: Community Choice Aggregation, which gives residents in certain districts the legal authority to amass their individual buying power to purchase energy for their households from alternative sources instead of buying individually from the power company's coal plants.In 1994, as the 28-year-old director of the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Energy, Fenn-influenced by Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase's ideas of incorporating economics into environmentalism-penned statewide legislation that would become CCA. His bill passed, and Cape Cod was the first region to enact CCA. Today, more than 1 million Americans receive energy through CCA, from Martha's Vineyard to northeast Ohio.California passed CCA legislation seven years ago. And while cities like San Francisco are still working on alternative energy–provider logistics, the 2002 California bill Fenn authored incorporated unprecedented addendums, such as opening up access to utility meter data. That information allows potential energy distributors to cost-effectively identify and court customers by consumption habits.San Francisco called in Fenn and his energy consultancy firm Local Power to implement its first CCA. The company set an impressive target: to provide 51 percent renewable energy to the city's residences and businesses by 2017. "We set this schedule as our standard because of the severity of the climate crisis," Fenn says. A recently confirmed solar public works project, which combines energy generated largely from San Francisco rooftops with power from heat capture, wind, and batteries, should help in reaching that goal and ensuring that San Franciscans will soon decide where their energy comes from. Says Fenn: "We want to connect people to what they want."Photos by Mike Linksvayer (via Flickr) Return to the interactive site


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via International Monetary Fund / Flickr and Streetsblog Denver / Flickr

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In her address, she called for a public and private sector divestment from fossil fuel companies

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mocked the teenager on Thursday during a press briefing in Davos.

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via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

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Communities