How to close the clean-energy divide
An engineer and clean-energy entrepreneur discusses the troubling socio-economic gap in access to sustainable energy and the things we can do now to narrow and, perhaps, close it.
As the world moves to more efficient and cleaner energy solutions, there is a growing divide between the clean-energy haves and have-nots, says Anthony Kinslow II, PhD, a lecturer in civil and environmental engineering.
Too often the divide falls along racial and socio-economic lines, as minority and low-income communities do not benefit from clean energy to the degree that whiter and wealthier communities do.
The problem is founded in history and in the federal government’s askew system of financing and incentivizing clean and renewable energy systems. The money flows to certain communities and not to others, Dr. Kinslow says.
Fixing the problem won’t be easy, but solutions might begin with energy audits of minority and low-income homes and communities to better understand where the gaps are and how wide they have become, as well as greater diversity in federal appointments to energy and finance positions in government. With audits will come opportunities for low-interest loans and other financing to transition to greater efficiency, as Dr. Kinslow tells host Russ Altman on this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast.