Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast

Electricity Instead of Gas: How can communities embrace efficiency and electrification and avoid new fossil gas infrastructure?

July 29, 2021 Fresh Energy Season 2 Episode 11
Decarbonize: The Clean Energy Podcast
Electricity Instead of Gas: How can communities embrace efficiency and electrification and avoid new fossil gas infrastructure?
Show Notes

Tune in to Part 4 of Fresh Energy's "Intersection of Energy and Community" webinar series!

The transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral economy will bring big changes to our communities. State and federal policies, utility programs, and the overall evolution from a world powered by oil and gas to a clean electricity-powered future, play out in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. But it’s not just communities adapting to change. Cities, counties, and local institutions are often leading through model projects and Climate Action Plans to shape a new reality.

In summer 2021, Fresh Energy hosted a webinar series to raise the question: How can we dramatically reduce carbon emissions in a way that improves our communities and benefits everyone?


Margaret Garascia, Associate Director, Research and Innovation at Elevate Energy
Margaret Garascia is Senior Manager for Research and Innovation at Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to designing and implementing programs that lower costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of renewable energy reach those who need them most. As part of the Elevate research team, Ms. Garascia conducts research on whether low- and moderate-income households are equitably served by renewable energy programs. In addition, she coordinates Elevate’s research, policy, and demonstration projects on building decarbonization with a focus on the affordable housing sector. She also conducts quantitative and qualitative research on topics including energy insecurity, water affordability, and residential energy use. She was lead author of a report on the multifamily building stock in Chicago and the potential for energy savings. She has presented and written on the relationship between energy efficiency, health, and wellbeing in forums including Electricity Journal, Retrofit Magazine, American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, and others.

Keith Kinch, Co-founder and General Manager at BlocPower
Keith Kinch serves as General Manager and co-founder at BlocPower. Keith received his undergraduate degree at John Jay College and his graduate degree at American International University. He spent eight years as a community organizer, and two years as Deputy Field Director in New York State for the Democratic National Committee under President Obama’s grassroots arm Organizing for America. He helped advance key pieces of legislation such as the Affordable Healthcare Act.

In the summer of 2016, Keith led the Solarize Brownsville campaign where more than 200
homes were outfitted with solar panels. Solarize Brownsville brought together community

Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, Lead Director, Energy Transition at Fresh Energy
Margaret Cherne-Hendrick steers Fresh Energy’s work to decarbonize our economy through the transition of end-uses currently served by fossil fuels to efficient, equitable, carbon-free electricity. She leads a team of staff shaping and driving solutions that use beneficial electrification, efficiency, and other carbon-reduction strategies to dramatically reduce emissions from the building and transportation sectors. She also leads Fresh Energy’s work on carbon sequestration and low-carbon fuel standards as well as actively evaluating other opportunities to move Minnesota toward an equitable carbon-neutral economy by 2050.  In addition to Minnesota policy work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, State Legislature, and administrative channels, Margaret leads Fresh Energy’s involvement in multiple key partnerships and is a primary architect of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition.