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Last month, Acadia Center co-hosted the first event in the South Coast Community Energy Series with Leadership SouthCoast, the Marion Institute, South Coast Media Group, and Toxics Action Center. The New Bedford forum, “Building the SouthCoast’s Clean Energy Future,” explored the current energy landscape, energy challenges affecting the SouthCoast, and local clean energy alternatives for the region.

Because of new developments in the way energy is generated, delivered, and used, communities and neighborhoods have exciting opportunities to benefit from clean, efficient, and affordable energy at the local level and move away from increasing their overreliance on fossil fuels. However, reforming our existing and outdated utility model is necessary to enable these transformative community energy projects to flourish. Through forums like this one, residents can learn more about their current energy system, the reforms that are possible, and the ways they can have an influence.

Speakers at the event included: Claire Miller, Lead Community Organizer, Toxics Action Center; Roger Cabral, Organizer with South Coast Neighbors United; Peter Shattuck, Director of the Clean Energy Initiative and Massachusetts Office, Acadia Center; and Janet Milkman, Executive Director, Marion Institute.

The diverse panel examined how energy decisions affect a person’s wallet, health, and community. The speakers presented an overview of the current energy system and how it works; highlights of local efforts to combat proposed pipeline expansions; an explanation of the Attorney General’s Natural Gas Report and of Acadia Center’s EnergyVision — outlining a pathway for creating safer, cleaner, and more affordable energy systems; tips for deciphering a utility bill; and local opportunities, like the SouthCoast Energy Challenge, for reducing energy usage through energy efficiency.

SouthCoast Today, a local media outlet, covered the event with a piece here: Panel Explores SouthCoast Region’s Clean Energy Future.

The New Bedford forum was the first event in the SouthCoast Community Energy Series, which seeks to explore energy issues affecting the SouthCoast and how local residents and communities can maximize the economic, environmental, and public health benefits of clean energy. Two more events are planned for the coming months.

SONY DSCTyler Soleau is Acadia Center’s Energy and Climate Outreach Director working from the Boston office. He focuses on raising awareness, network building and advancing Acadia Center’s clean energy program goals in Massachusetts and the Northeast. Tyler came to Acadia Center from the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served most immediately as Staff Director and Counsel for the House Committee on Climate Change.