WORCESTER COMMUNITY ENERGY ACTION
Worcester Community Energy Action is a Community Energy Cooperative run by Co-op Power members in Worcester County, MA to organize and advance the goals of justice and sustainability.
They're focusing now on building nonprofit and low income community solar projects in collaboration with staff at Resonant Energy and Co-op Power's common office with support from a DOE SunShot "Solar in Your Community" Technical Assistance Award..
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Contact Judy Diamondstone, firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved or for more info.
Mission: Our mission is to move our communities toward locally owned and controlled, energy efficient, self-sustaining, ecologically sound economies that are respectful of natural systems and all living beings.
Our vision is to build energy independence within our community by using a cooperative model to bring justice to the social and economic arrangemements we take part in and to create opportunities for the development and recovery of power by oppressed groups with attention to class, race, gender, criminal record and legal status.
After many years of organizing, a Community Energy Co-op has formed in Worcester and Providence. Our recent conversations with Worcester and Providence residents grounds our regional profile in "limited resource" communities, with large, unemployed and underemployed populations in needs of jobs. Memberships dues are a hurdle with our low-resource constituents. We have devised a low-pay option with potential work-trade options (youth members are excited about this option). While our Community Energy Co-op is still in its formation stage, our goals remain general. We strive to develop projects that will bring energy independence to our community while providing living-wage jobs to community residents that are self-sustainable. We aim to be socially and politically conscious in building a fair economy based on the values of equaility solidarity and justice.
We noticed a lot of academic activity around sustainable energy, but few job-creating initiatives. We have kept the regional profile in view in our current outreach and planning efforts. Participants at Community Energy Co-op planning meetings developed the Community Energy Co-op vision and mission statements to address the socioeconomic conditions that impact most residents of our region.
Our core group is made up of committed social justice and energy justice organizers with deep connections in the community as well as experience developing successful projects. We operate by modified consensus; for all decisions we start with striving for consensus and if a decision is blocked, we revert to a majority 2/3 vote. All members have full decision-making power (can block, vote, etc).
Successes: In collaboration with Stone Soup and other partners, we are setting the bar high for pre-apprenticeship programs in Worcester. The Stone Soup training program provides on the job vocational training with expertise of skilled instructors, site supervisors and carpenters. Participants gain weatherization experience and receive BPI, LEED RRP and OSHA certifications.
The following organizations have affiliated with this CEC’s efforts:
- Worcester Roots Project / Toxic Soil Busters Co-op/ Diggers Co-op
- Worcester Housing Energy Community
- Worcester SAGE Alliance
- Worcester Energy Barnraisers
- Stone Soup (and rebuilding partners: YouthBuild Boston, carpenters union, Shriver & Westover Job Corps, Worcester Common Grounds )
- Global Village
- Empower Energy Co-op
- English for Action