Read IEJ’s latest report, Justice in 100 Report

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Getting into the weeds for the grassroots

Communities are developing solutions for a just transition to an equitable and renewable energy economy. The Initiative for Energy Justice works to bring these visions into reality by providing concrete policy resources to advocates and policymakers.

Read IEJ’s new report, Justice in 100 Report

Read more >

What is energy justice?

Energy justice refers to the goal of achieving equity in both the social and economic participation in the energy system, while also remediating social, economic, and health burdens on those disproportionately harmed by the energy system. Energy justice explicitly centers the concerns of communities at the frontline of pollution and climate change (“frontline communities”), working class people, indigenous communities, and those historically disenfranchised by racial and social inequity. Energy justice aims to make energy accessible, affordable, renewable, and democratically managed for all communities.

What We Do

IEJ conducts research, provides policy analysis, and facilitates dialogue to advance concrete policy pathways towards energy justice. We partner with frontline organizing groups and allies who are striving for universal access to affordable, renewable, and democratically managed energy.

Partner – We cultivate and sustain partnerships with frontline organizing groups and allied advocacy organizations, staying in sync with their organizing and advocacy priorities.

Research – We use a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods, such as community-based participatory research, that value genuine and meaningful relationships with frontline communities and organizing groups.

Engage – We facilitate dialogue among frontline organizing groups and allied advocacy organizations to coordinate strategy, share policy analysis, and build capacity for energy justice advocacy.

Policy/Issue Areas

Community Benefits and Governance

To advance policy that centers on energy justice, it is critical that communities experience material benefits from the energy system and have decision-making authority over energy infrastructure. Benefits can include monetary payments, pollution remediation, infrastructure investment, jobs programs, and health improvements; policy interventions that account for, track, and allocate benefits are key to policy change. Some countless strategies and structures attempt to center community decision-making and benefits, with as many successes, failures, and lessons learned. IEJ researches and evaluates these structures to supply our partners with the necessary tools and knowledge to design policy interventions and apply best practices in community benefits allocation and democratic governance structures. 

Utility Justice

In the U.S., the primary model of electricity provision is to carve up geographic territories and allow one utility to operate a regulated monopoly in that region. The existing utility system has proved to be a consistent barrier to advancing universal access to affordable, renewable, and democratically managed energy. IEJ advances alternatives to conventional utility business models, such as community choice aggregation, municipal utilities, public power policies, and other policy solutions to advance energy justice.

Clean Energy Policy Implementation

Clean energy policies can advance energy justice through the equitable deployment of renewables but also have the potential to promote false solutions to climate change that embed inequity and existing power structures. IEJ focuses on long-term state and federal energy policy evaluation projects to highlight best practices/energy justice wins in the policy realm and identify opportunities for policy improvements. IEJ creates and applies evaluation frameworks in collaboration with partner organizations to analyze existing clean energy and energy justice policies. 

Partners & Funders