Monday, November 13, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
How to Engage Communities on Clean Energy Projects: Lessons Learned in New York and Massachusetts
Session ID
E3 - Community Engagement
Social Science Insights
Sean Brennan

As part of market transformation strategies, utilities and state and local governments have explored opportunities for harnessing local, regional, and grassroots efforts for driving community awareness, education, and adoption of clean energy technologies. These community-based outreach and education initiatives typically pursue a multifaceted approach to encourage adoption of clean energy technologies of interest, including outreach and marketing strategy, a competitive contractor selection process, a limited-duration campaign to enroll building owners, and technical and decision-making assistance from implementers. At the upcoming Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change (BECC) conference, we will present key insights and results from supporting the design, implementation, and assessment of over 50 community-based initiatives aimed at encouraging the adoption of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electrification technologies in homes and businesses in New York and Massachusetts. Our presentation will synthesize findings from several programs, including New York’s Clean Heating and Cooling Communities, Solarize NY, Solarize Mass Plus, HeatSmart Mass, and other city-based initiatives. We will discuss results from these programs, including their effectiveness at improving technology awareness, accelerating the installation of the targeted clean energy technologies, and reducing soft costs, as well as the challenges of educating building owners, communicating complex concepts, and engaging and coordinating contractors. We will explore the different organizational structures, geographic focuses, and technology-specific factors around these initiatives and their contributions to program success. We will discuss strategies for engaging local volunteers and community-based organizations and resources, which can offer unique approaches for driving interest in clean energy. Our presentation at BECC will offer a concise and compelling summary of these community-based initiatives, with a focus on the Northeast. By highlighting successful strategies and identifying areas for improvement, we hope to highlight the opportunities for program administrators and policymakers to harness community-based initiatives to promote clean energy adoption and achieve market transformation goals.

Supporting Document 1