Local governments are increasingly committing to aggressive, near-term renewable energy goals. However, the ability of these governments to act on their goals can be heavily influenced by, or completely dependent upon, the policies and regulations that govern their local energy markets. As a result, many local governments may find it valuable—and even essential—to engage with regulators, government offices and officials, or their utilities to advocate for policies and programs that support their energy, climate, and equity efforts. Local governments are in a unique position to influence state or regional decision making because they are not only large energy customers in their own right but can also represent their communities.
Note: This content highlights some of the engagement pathways available to US local governments, along with links to resources that they can use to determine whether and how to engage with stakeholders. This content is not intended to be a comprehensive guide or definitive list of all resources on the topic.
Common Engagement Pathways
There are several options for engagement available to local governments looking to increase and expand access to renewable energy in their communities. The specific engagement pathways available will vary by state and are not mutually exclusive. For each pathway addressed here, we have characterized what the pathway entails, why it is important, and how local governments can proceed with it. Local governments can engage with the following energy system stakeholders:
- Electric utilities
- State energy regulators
- State energy offices
- State legislative processes
- Wholesale energy markets
What Have Local Governments Already Done?
Many local governments have already utilized one or more of the pathways discussed here to advance their renewable energy goals. To review examples, check out the Engagement Tracker in the Local Government Renewables Action Tracker.
Learn About the Engagement Pathways
To learn about these different pathways, click the “Next” button below to explore each in the order above or use the side menu to navigate directly to the pathway of your choice.