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How Local Governments Can Maximize Clean Energy Investments

Cities and states are closely paying attention to the economic opportunities offered by the clean energy industry. Large-scale investments can translate to significant economic growth that local municipalities are eager to bring to their constituents. Karp Strategies has guided a wide spectrum of offshore wind stakeholders–from private developers and suppliers to state and local governments–to advance complex clean energy initiatives. Below are effective cross-sector strategies to equitably maximize the benefits of offshore wind:

Offshore Wind: Demystifying the Numbers

In the realm of economic growth and job prospects, distinguishing between genuine opportunities and inflated numbers can be a daunting task. Regional economies demand more precise projections to facilitate strategic planning, prepare workers, as well as establish training and manufacturing facilities.

That's where our Economic Impact Assessment services come in. Leveraging advanced input-output modeling tools such as IMPLAN, Lightcast, RIMS II, and JEDI, we assist our clients in charting the cascading effects of their investments and initiatives across various sectors, industries, and communities.

Our goal is not just to measure the economic impacts but to help our clients design strategies that align with their values and priorities. We collaborate to select the most suitable tools tailored to their industry and reporting needs—enabling us to assess the potential benefits and costs of diverse projects or initiatives, estimate the return on investment, and identify potential risks and trade-offs.

Utilizing Economic Impact Analyses to Advance Offshore Wind in New York

Our economic impact assessments play a fundamental role in assisting our clients in building more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economies, aligning with our core mission.

In our recent work supporting several offshore wind developers and manufacturers vying for NYSERDA’s third solicitation, Karp Strategies took the lead in developing comprehensive projections for the economic and workforce development impacts of the proposed projects.

This involved generating estimates for the anticipated job creations, the engagement of minority- and/or Women-owned businesses, and the accessibility of jobs for residents in designated disadvantaged communities. Our quantitative assessments, coupled with extensive economic and stakeholder research, played a crucial role in shaping our clients’ New York Jobs and Workforce Plans and OEMs’ Supply Chain Investment Plan(s).

Securing Meaningful Community Benefits Agreements

Municipalities should broaden their focus beyond just creating jobs and economic outputs when considering the impact of investments. A crucial aspect that demands attention is the substantial community benefits investments being made, particularly in historically underserved communities where environmental injustice has been prevalent.

However, it's essential to recognize that not all CBAs are created equal. At Karp Strategies, we believe that CBAs must be co-designed with impacted communities and stakeholders. This collaborative approach ensures that investments are created equitably and are tailored to meet the diverse needs of the community.

When working with public, private, and community stakeholders to develop holistic community benefits strategies, we keep several core principles at the forefront of our work:

  • Diverse representation. At the outset of any community benefits initiative is to develop an understanding of the full landscape of actors with a demonstrated history and connection to the community. Representatives should come from many different groups, and it’s the responsibility of the entity making the investment to conduct deep outreach to understand who should have a seat at the table.

  • Upfront and ongoing inclusion. Engagement is a cornerstone of effective and successful community benefits strategies—from the initial steps as the process is being developed, through negotiations on the final structure of programs and investments, to ongoing community input as these strategies are implemented.

  • Understanding economic impacts. Conducting an economic impact analysis is critical to understanding how the intersecting challenges—both historical and current—influence the way the impacts of major projects and investments manifest across communities.

  • Centering equity. Environmental justice communities, disadvantaged communities, and those who have borne the burden of decades of pollution and environmental racism must be at the forefront of the transition to a clean energy economy—in terms of inclusion, impact, and benefits.

  • Structured implementation. We focus on the long game when developing community investment and benefits strategies, incorporating accountability benchmarks, outlining the strategic dispersal of funds, and planning for the long lifetime of projects.

What do community benefits strategies look like in action?

Karp Strategies is proud to showcase two recent examples of community benefits work highlighted below—the development of Equinor Wind US’s Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund and the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) Green Economy Fund.

Equinor Wind US: Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund

In 2022, Karp Strategies worked with Equinor Wind US to conceive and initiate the company’s community benefits strategy, setting it up to deliver on the $47 million in community benefits and $25 million in environmental research commitments made to New York State. As a result of this collaborative effort, the $5 million Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund was launched. This fund was purposefully created to make targeted investments in historically marginalized communities and environmental justice areas within New York City.

Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE): Green Economy Fund

Karp Strategies, with our partner Empowering Work Advising (EWA), launched and is administering the $40 million Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) Green Economy Fund. This government-sponsored project is designed to support disadvantaged communities, low-income individuals, and transitioning fossil fuel workers in accessing and building careers in New York State’s green economy. The Green Economy Fund will finance workforce development programs and organizations providing wrap-around services that support workers in these target communities to access good jobs in the green economy.

Let us know how we can support you!

Karp Strategies' community benefits practice draws on our expertise across engagement, impact analysis, and strategy design to help our clients develop successful and equitable strategies that center the needs of diverse communities. Let us know how we can support your work!


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