17 Days, 17 Goals: Goal 7 - Energy
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all -
This post is part of our blog series: 17 Days, 17 Goals. The blog series features foundations working on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals leading up to the first anniversary of the SDGs. The Council on Foundations Sustainable Development Goals & Philanthropy initiative is in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Find us on social media with #PhilSDGs.
Why do we need Goal 7?
- 1 in 5 people still lacks access to modern electricity
- 3 billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating
- Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions
- In 2015, only 10% of US energy consumption came from renewable sources
What are some of the targets?
- Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services
- Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
- Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
Featured: Berks County Community Foundation & The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
Met Ed & Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund
Berks County Community Foundation (BCCF) and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (CF Alleghenies) jointly operate the Metropolitan Edison Company (Met Ed)/Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) Sustainable Energy Fund, which provides loans and grants to companies and nonoprofits throughout Pennsylvania. The seed money for both pieces of the fund came in the late 1990s as a result of deregulation and settlement agreements from First Energy, which operates Met Ed and Penelec, two of Pennsylvania's largest electricity providers.
Both community foundations have used these funds to find innovative solutions to energy issues in Pennsylvania. A combination of grants and mission-related investments has maximized the impact of these funds. For example, a loan from the Penelec portion of the fund to Johnstown, Pennsylvania-based Gautier Steel allowed them to efficiently construct a new mill, upgrade the water treatment plant, and install LED lighting. Combined, these efforts should have combined savings of over $240,000, 3.5 million kWh, and 3,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. Simultaneously, this supports the economy of Johnstown and fights climate change, addressing more than just one goal.
Across the state, the fund has provided grants for nonprofits to do energy audits, which allow organizations like the Animal Rescue League and an arena and performing arts center to maximize the efficiency of their energy use and save money for their missions. A number of LEED-certified buildings have been constructed with the help of grants and loans from the Sustainable Energy Fund.
The benefits of sustainable energy are clear and extensive. Most of its costs lie in the start up phase. Through projects like the Met Ed/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund partnership between BCCF and CF Alleghenies, philanthropy can provide innovative ways to surpass the initial hurdles and achieve a future powered by clean energy.
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