100% Renewable Cleveland: Fighting Poverty, Creating Opportunity

Year Complete: 2021
Grant Amount: $50,000
Local Government: City of Cleveland, OH
Local Foundation: The George Gund Foundation

Project Purpose

To create a community-wide transition plan to 100% clean and renewable energy that prioritizes resiliency, energy security, and green jobs for Clevelanders most in need.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

To reach Cleveland’s 100% clean electricity goal, the team explored a wide variety of best practice technologies and policies, and throughout the analysis of each programmatic and policy option, factors such as cost, feasibility and economic development potential were taken into account to ensure these projects could be supported long into the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic required a shift in approach which inspired creative solutions to securing information, including grocery incentives to residents for completing the survey on community priorities.

Be sure to understand external factors that may limit the work.  For example, regulations at the state level proved to be a hindrance to achieving the clean energy goals. Discussions with the Mayor and other City leadership, along with advocacy at the state-level to address and improve these types of issues may need to be a priority.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

Development of the 100% Clean Energy Plan outlined a number of collaborative opportunities to support long-term and sustainable implementation of the plan. Specifically, formation of a Municipal Clean Energy Task Force and a Community-wide Clean Energy Task Force. These are expected to provide accountability and a centralized venue for ongoing discussions, and to help all stakeholders see the bigger clean energy picture.

Additional Information and Resources

The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability continues work on a plan that will arm Cleveland residents, stakeholders, and decision-makers with the information they need to transition to 100RE by 2050 in a beneficial, achievable, and equitable manner. More information can be found here.