Roofers installing solar panels

UCLA Teams Up With LADWP for Equitable Energy Solutions

More than 20 UCLA faculty and researchers have entered into a $2.6 million agreement to conduct research for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to help the city achieve its goal of producing all of its energy from carbon-free and renewable energy sources by 2035 and doing so in ways that benefit all Angelenos equitably. The Luskin Center for Innovation, Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and Latino Policy and Politics Institute are among several UCLA research entities collaborating with the LADWP’s LA100 Equity Strategies, which will guide the department as it creates the first justice-focused, carbon-free energy transition of any major city. The effort builds upon interdisciplinary work already being done across campus, including the Center for Innovation’s research on energy affordability. “It takes careful intent to ensure that the costs associated with the transition to renewable energy get translated equitably through rates, and to protect low-income households in disadvantaged communities from bearing too much of that cost,” said Gregory Pierce, co-director of the center. “Historically, sustainability investments have not been equitable, so in some ways this project is trying to tackle that transition.” Recommendations from Pierce’s team could include enhanced rate discounts, speeding up energy efficiency and solar programs, and adjusting what criteria would trigger the shutoff of a household’s water or energy if it falls behind on payments. The university’s participation was made possible through an existing agreement between the LADWP and the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge. — Jonathan Van Dyke

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