Pushing for Energy Justice with Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition: Community Organizing Lessons from Alaska

The Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition (FCAC) is working to advance a Just Transition away from fossil fuel extraction and towards renewable energy and a regenerative economy in interior Alaska. For several years, FCAC’s Renewable Energy Working Group has been organizing around their local electric utility cooperative, Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), to support more generation from renewable energy sources and energy justice initiatives and decarbonization of electricity. FCAC’s organizing efforts have supported more pro-renewable candidates to be democratically elected to the GVEA’s Board of Directors and pushed the utility to consider community solar projects and on-bill financing. A major win came in June 2022 when the GVEA Board adopted a strategic generation plan including a commitment to close down one of their coal plants and pursue a large scale wind power project.

In this webinar, FCAC shares learnings from their Microgrant Report: Cooperative Opportunity: Clean Energy documenting the development of their campaign, sharing reflections on how their organizing structure led to wins, the challenges they faced, and the lessons that can be learned to succeed in future campaigns.

Cooperative Opportunity: Pushing for Cleaner Energy

Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition's (FCAC), a community-led grassroots organization working towards climate justice on Lower Tanana Dene lands in interior Alaska. This report was developed by their Renewable Energy Working Group in partnership with the Lab to capture and share out the learnings of their in their longest standing campaign organizing around their local electric cooperative, Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) which provides electricity for almost 100,000 residents in Interior Alaska.

Applying an Alaska Native Lens to Climate Sovereignty, Economic Justice, and Healing

The Alaska Just Transition Collective is working to build a solidarity economy that will help Alaska move towards a just transition that cultivates grassroots processes incorporating indigenous sovereignty and stories from the land. Indigenous economic frameworks for redistributing wealth and resources must inform an approach to economic recovery. Traditional indigenous economic frameworkers ensure the health and well-being of the community and center the concept of reciprocity. 

Alaska Resources and Opportunities in Response to Global Climate Change

To position itself as a global player in climate response, and to orient the economy of tomorrow toward the opportunities presented by this global imperative, Alaska’s political, business, and tribal leaders must act boldly to: 

  • Attract investment in testing and deployment of climate-responsive tech, ranging from renewable energy solutions to climate capture and sequestration.
  • Lead in the development and deployment of natural climate solutions, building on the extraordinary terrestrial and marine resources of the state. This must include the quantification and monitoring infrastructure necessary to position Alaska for investment.
  • Use strategic partnerships and homegrown capacity to create novel market tools and stake out a leadership role in the “financialization” of greenhouse gas sinks.
  • Aid municipal, tribal, and other local scale projects in identifying and capturing capital market opportunities; and drive federal programmatic dollars toward climate-linked opportunities in communities across the state.
  • Exert the necessary political influence so that federal investments in climate are scaled for Alaska’s opportunities, and drive benefit to Alaskans.

Beyond Fossil Fuels: Planning a just transition for Alaska's economy

This report seeks to describe key features of Alaska’s economic landscape and highlight existing community projects and ideas that are signposts on the road to a sustainable economy. Many of these ideas were brought forth during two workshops in July 2016. Participants were predominantly Alaskans from across the state who hold a great diversity of knowledge and expertise in the different subject areas. In addition to these existing projects, the report includes recommendations for policies that could help amplify and accelerate this transition beyond a continued economic dependence on fossil fuels and toward a just and sustainable economy.