Local Government Leaders for Electrification
At the nonprofit Rewiring America, we believe America’s local government leaders are critical to success. So we are building a coalition: Local Government Leaders for Electrification. It will leverage your voice of authority with your constituents, share policy ideas, case studies, and best practices, and help shape the local and national conversation.
Electrification is the most hopeful and impactful way for individual Americans to do something about the climate – and since that means healthier and cheaper-to-operate homes, well, that’s a great message for you to share.
To join us, we ask that you either: 1) sign a pledge that is designed to be directional and individual to your leadership, or 2) share Rewiring America’s IRA calculator with your constituents on your city’s website and/or via social media. Joining does not require specific policy commitments upfront, but we have built out electrification actions that your city can consider and will continue to be a place for building and sharing ideas and best practices for municipal leadership on this issue.
Rewiring America is just over a year old. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy hired Saul Griffith, our co-founder, to map the energy flows of the U.S. economy from supply to demand down to a 0.1 percent fidelity. This analysis opened our eyes to just how much emissions in the U.S. are tied to energy and, within that, come from the American household. About 40 percent of climate-harming emissions come from decisions Americans make around the kitchen table: from the types of cars we drive, to how we heat and cool our homes, heat our water, cook our food, and dry our clothes. If we add our commercial buildings, that number grows to over 60 percent. So much policy is focused on energy supply – but it’s the small machines on the demand side that we now must change.
Think about that: the American people have the power to fight climate change in their own lives by electrifying everything.
Accomplishing this requires replacing or installing approximately 1 billion machines, starting at the household level. This includes those we replace with a clean electric equivalent – cars, furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and dryers – and the enabling infrastructure we need to make the transition in full – breaker boxes, EV chargers, battery storage, and rooftop solar.
And electrification can and should be an optimistic path for all Americans. With the right policies, $37.3 billion a year saved on energy bills for households, and a decreased burden on the healthcare system from the 42 percent of children experiencing an increased risk of asthma symptoms.
But it also means energy savings for cities, exciting new opportunities for affordable housing development, jobs (our modeling shows that electrification represents 80,000 manufacturing jobs and 800,000 indirect and induced jobs), and a very direct path to zero emissions. Recent reports about the incredible climate damage being done by methane leakage from our natural gas infrastructure, and this winter’s coming price spike for gas and oil home heating lend even more urgency to mayoral and municipal leadership, and the opportunity to talk about really good, new solutions.
Take the Pledge or Share our Calculator to Join
Local Government Leaders
- Councilmember Anderbois
- Mayor Aronson
- Mayor Arreguin
- Mayor Barrett
- Mayor Bauters
- Councilmember Beckman
Corte Madera, CA
- Mayor Bhalla
- Mayor Biss
- Alderwoman Boyd
St. Louis, MO
- Former Mayor Peduto
"I am joining Mayors for Electrification as a founding member because electrifying all the machines in our lives is both crucial to addressing climate change and a strategy that works for the hard-working people of Pittsburgh. As a mayor, I often have to decide that we can solve a collective challenge if everyone gives up a little. With electrification it's the opposite: zeroing out our emissions will lower our monthly bills, make indoor and outdoor air healthier, make our homes more comfortable, and create local jobs that can't be outsourced or automated. That's an easy call for a mayor."
- Mayor Weinberger
“Burlington was recognized as the first city in the nation to source our electricity from 100% renewable generation in 2014. Building on that accomplishment, I’ve worked as Mayor to advance our efforts in Burlington to meet one of the most ambitious local climate goals in the country – to become a Net Zero Energy city by 2030 across the electric, thermal, and ground transportation sectors. Through public power utility incentives, city policies, and efforts to lead by example with our own city fleet, Burlington is embracing electrification as the strategy that can help us decarbonize while supporting a strong local economy and better, healthier lives for our residents. Communities can and must lead on climate, and I’m proud to be a Mayor for Electrification leading the charge.”
How to Electrify a Mid-Size City
A condensed version of the DC report that presents universal takeaways and opportunities for municipalities everywhere.
Adopt All-Electric Building Codes
- Require new residential and commercial construction to use only electric appliances, and breaker boxes that can handle the load.
- Educate contractors, utilities, homeowners, and additional stakeholders about the new codes, and the benefits.
- Streamline city and utility processes to electrify buildings, assisting with approvals or permits needed to fully electrify and add rooftop solar.
- Place electrification and efficiency requirements on local funding or subsidies used to support affordable housing preservation and development, to ensure affordable housing is retrofitted or built right the first time to minimize both health risks and energy burdens.
Fund and Facilitate Housing Retrofits
- Provide technical assistance to building owners to complete upgrades and access utility incentives, financing, and grants.
- Offer incentives such as a tax- or fee-waiver to homeowners who choose electric appliances, and prioritize funds for those who need them most in the community.
- Enter into bulk purchasing agreements to lower the cost of electric appliances.
- Establish programs to transition housing that serves the most vulnerable.
Engage and Educate Every Community
- Engage community leaders and local industry leaders to raise public awareness about the benefits of household electrification.
- Engage effectively with low-income communities, communities of color, and other under-represented communities who have historically been left out of the policymaking process to ensure their needs and priorities are centered.
Electrify Municipal Buildings and Fleets
- Retrofit existing municipal buildings, including public schools, by adding rooftop or adjacent solar arrays and building efficiency measures, and replacing costly-to-operate space heating and cooling, water heating, and other appliances which use gas or oil.
- Build only-electric new city facilities, including public schools, with efficient design and renewable energy capture.
- Add battery storage instead of fossil-fueled generators for resiliency in time of disaster.
- Retire gas-powered, high-emitting municipal vehicles including school busses and replace them with electric-powered alternatives. Economies of scale can be offered through the Climate Mayors EV Purchasing Collaborative.
Jumpstart EV Charging Infrastructure
- Help provide the necessary infrastructure for personal and municipal electric vehicles around the city, streamlining permitting processes, establishing EV-ready building codes, and working with utilities on the planning and deployment of the charging network.
- Require EV charging infrastructure on new buildings.
Build an Inclusive Workforce to Make the Transition
- Partner with labor unions, community colleges, apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and other partners to train and match workers for electrification jobs.
- Partner with local institutions and nonprofit organizations to recruit under-represented or historically-marginalized students and workers into local training pipelines to prepare them for good quality, career-track jobs.
- Help educate the existing workforce on how to install heat pump space and water heaters, induction cooktops and electric ovens, electric dryers, residential and public EV chargers, (where needed) EV battery storage, rooftop solar, and how to upgrade the breaker box to support electrification.
- Invest in supplier and service provider diversity programs so that smaller, minority and women-owned employers can equitably participate in this transition.
- Work closely with labor partners to develop a just transition plan for fossil fuel workers.
Forge Utility Partnerships
- Advocate or negotiate with local utilities to allow and assist homes with solar to make grid connections and sell power back power.
- Negotiate with utilities to provide more power from renewable energy sources.
- Engage beyond your borders in your utility’s integrated resource planning (IRP) and regional transmission planning processes to support electrification.
Prioritize Electrification with Federal and State Funds
- Advocate that the federal government earmark funds or requirements for existing federal block grant programs offered by US DOE, US DOT, USDA, US EPA for electrification projects.
- Urge the federal government to increase funding in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that subsidizes the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing to maximize electrification.
- Advocate that electrification and efficiency requirements be placed on federal funding used to support affordable housing, to ensure new affordable housing is built right the first time, to minimize both health risks and energy burdens.
- Use American Recovery Plan funds to electrify affordable housing. A rare influx of federal dollars can be a win-win-win: creating jobs, lowering monthly bills for those who need it most, and lowering emissions causing climate impacts.