In the wake of spring outpourings of grief and anger over the killings of Black Americans such as Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, numerous companies in the clean energy industry turned the lens inward. Companies that had never before spoken out about racism published statements condemning it, and some donated to the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Despite the unprecedented action, inequality is not a new or unrecognized problem in the renewables industry. It remains to be seen whether these newest expressions of upset and accompanying initiatives to combat racism within and outside company ranks will continue.
“If we’re really going to make advances that move the needle in a more comprehensive way, we need to be thinking of more comprehensive solutions than just what is the quickest solution to the problem right in front of me,” said Stephanie Chen, the former energy equity director at The Greenlining Institute and now senior policy counsel at community-choice aggregator Marin Clean Energy. “It’s up to the clean energy industries, as well as to policymakers, to make that commitment across the sector to do better.”