Investing in Relationships: Strategies State Agencies Can Use to Equitably Partner with Community Representatives

Energy Trust of Oregon | Clean Energy States Alliance

State agencies generally experience a degree of separation between themselves and the communities they serve. It is essential that they partner with community representatives deeply and often, in order to best realize their missions of service.

This case study analyzes six programs conducted by the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) that have shown success in building meaningful and impactful relationships with community representatives:

  • Diversity Advisory Council
  • Community Partner Funding Program
  • Working Together Grant Program
  • Community Based Liaison Network
  • Solar Ambassador Pilot Project
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion Plan Engagements

The report profiles the programs listed above and highlights essential best practices for community engagement. These programs can serve as a model for other state agencies seeking to develop relationships with community partners in order to better meet their shared goals.

This case study was developed as part of the Clean Energy States Alliance’s Solar with Justice: Connecting States and Communities project. The Solar with Justice project aims to bring together state energy agencies (SEAs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) developing solar for environmental justice communities to create opportunities for dialogue and collaboration. This case study is the first of six case studies that will be published by CESA under the Solar with Justice project, highlighting models of collaboration between CBOs and SEAs on solar for environmental justice communities. ETO’s Bayoán Ware and Lidia Garcia produced this case study based on interviews with ETO staff and community partners.

This case study was produced by ETO and is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0009360. Under this project, known as Solar with Justice, ETO is working with CESA, in conjunction with academic and nonprofit partners to understand and improve how state energy agencies and community-based organizations collaborate on solar.


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Date: May 5, 2023

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