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Energy Democracy Leadership Institute

            A Collaborative Project of NC Climate Justice Collective and NCWARN

The Energy Democracy Leadership Institute 

[EDLI] effectively galvanizes a frontline-led energy democracy movement in North Carolina. EDLI builds grassroots power and sows the seeds of energy democracy in the region that is first and worst impacted by climate disasters and environmental injustice. The first round of this program (June 2020-Feb 2021) trained 16 emerging leaders from 10 eastern counties in NC.

To read more about the Energy Democracy Leadership Institute check out this Medium article from the launch of the program & a recent article by EDLI trainer, Shiva Patel. 

Energy Democracy 

Energy Democracy means that all communities have an inherent right to choose an energy system that is localized, resilient, democratically controlled and based on renewable sources. Energy democracy ensures that no one and no place is treated as a sacrifice to the greed of fossil fuel industries and monopoly utilities. A focus on energy democracy is also key to responding to the climate crisis. Globally and in our state, the energy sector is the number one source of climate-wrecking greenhouse gas emissions.

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EDLI Roundtable and Issue Briefing

On February 25, 2021, our first cohort of 16 graduates--Black and Indigenous leaders from Eastern NC communities impacted by environmental harms--held a roundtable and briefing for 15 elected officials across North Carolina to talk about energy justice issues.

Fight the bad

EDLI participants take a stand against four main harms impacting their communities and the climate:

  • Biomass from forest destruction, most significantly forest destruction for the production of wood pellets for international sale as energy source

  • fracked gas infrastructure, such as liquified natural gas (LNG)

  • coal ash pollution, caused principally by Duke Energy

  • Biogas from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)/factory farms

Build the new

EDLI participants are working to put their communities on the path toward a local, green economy with clean, renewable energy.

During the Roundtable and Briefing, Jim Warren from NCWarn gave a presentation on the Clean Path 2025 and Gabi Porter from The Center for Climate Integrity gave a presentation on how to make polluters pay for the harm they have caused.

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Energy Injustice Map

The yellow counties show where EDLI participants live and the cumulative impact of polluting industries in NC; wood pellets, coal ash dumps, fracked gas facilities and CAFOs.

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"Tonight we are asking all of our elected leaders to prioritize solutions that create, use and distribute energy in an equitable and sustainable way.”

-Ms. Kristal Suggs, City of Kinston Council Member

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“By fighting for energy choice as a collective we are helping to shape the present and the future.”

-Kennedy Goode speaking on the lack of energy choice due to monopoly utilities

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“Energy democracy matters to me because of how it affects my community specifically in Robeson County, and my fellow indigenous community as a whole, from Alaska to Argentina.”

-Samuel Woods speaking on energy burden and utility shutoffs