Bloomberg Philanthropies launches Clean Energy Initiative

blogimage_bloombergIn January 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Heising-Simons family announced the launch of a new Clean Energy Initiative to support collaborative, state-based solutions to address improved clean energy efficiency initiatives in the United States. This initiative is part of a large clean energy portfolio of programs and supports a range of cross-sector partners, including national organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, regional groups like the Center for a New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, and many local groups, to ensure strong state carbon pollution standards that will help drive the transformation of the power grid to a low-carbon, clean energy future.

Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, accounting for about 38 percent of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon pollution causes long-term impacts on the economy, including increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather patterns. Climate change also exacerbates health risks due to worsening smog, which can cause a range of respiratory illnesses. The goal of the new Clean Energy Initiative is to assist states in adapting recent technologies to ensure their energy production and consumption is clean, affordable, and reliable.

The initiative will provide $48 million in grant funding to a broad range of stakeholders across all sectors that will accelerate the transition of the United States power infrastructure toward cleaner electricity generation. The grant includes the deployment of technical assistance, research and advocacy resources, and expertise. The Clean Energy Initiative will also help states implement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, a set of draft rules for reducing carbon pollution from the power sector. A key feature of the Clean Power Plan is that it lets states choose the best combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and improvements in current power plants.

Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former Mayor of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg believes that the initiative has the potential to positively impact both carbon emission reductions and the health of communities across the country: “With the price of clean power falling, and the potential costs of inaction on climate change steadily rising, the work of modernizing America’s power grid is both more feasible and urgent than ever. Pollution from power plants takes a terrible toll on public health, and it’s the biggest contributor to our carbon footprint. But smart investments can reduce it while also strengthening local economies. These grants will help states meet new federal clean power requirements in ways that save money and lives.”