Renewable Energy and Taking Control of Your Future


Renewable Energy


1:17 Mike introduces Tom Butt, Mayor of Richmond, CA.

2:06 Why was Chevron motivated to defeat Tom?

3:29 How the refinement project, Community Power and City Action: Solar Farming in the Refineries Backyard, came into existence.

6:13 What type of emissions impact will Richmond’s solar farm have on the city and surrounding cities?

7:55 How will the Environmental Benefits Agreement improve the lives of local citizens?

9:29 Tom discusses the holistic approach they took when developing the Environmental Benefits Agreement.

11:25 Tom shares advice to other community leaders who are looking to bring more sustainable energy to their city.

14:57 Tom discusses how Richmond successfully built strong relationships between the police department and low income communities of color.

17:29 What role did the Richmond police chief play in the positive response of the local Black Lives Matter movement?

18:08 How can others learn more about what Richmond is doing with the refinement project.

18:54 What one change would Tom implement to improve the future?

20:00 What action would Tom recommend that listeners take to make a difference?

20:25 What will Richmond look like 30 years from now if Tom’s plans are successful?


Tom Butt is a 20-year member of the Richmond, California City Council, and was elected to a four-year term as mayor in 2014. He serves on the board and is vice-chair of Marin Clean Energy (MCE), a Community Choice Aggregation joint powers authority serving parts of four California counties. He also serves on the board of the Local Government Commission.


“Statistically, people who come from low income neighborhoods don’t live as long, they don’t have as good health as people who live in wealthier neighborhoods. I think this example of the 50% local hire rule and training people from low income neighborhoods in Richmond be proficient in the solar industry and to find jobs in that is a way of essentially ultimately improving their health.”

“Well, the big thing here really is getting control of your future. Once you can control your future, whether it is in energy or whether it is in agriculture or whether it is in heath or whatever, then you have an opportunity to make it better because you are no longer subject to somebody else’s decision making.”

“About 80-85% of electricity users have chosen to stay with Marin Clean Energy. The way it’s set up, it’s an opt-out system, so once the city decides to make that change over then everybody gets changed over automatically unless they decide not to.”

“This is an example of how people can get control of their destiny.”


Episode 019: Taking Back the Power – Community Choice Aggregation – In this episode, we speak with Alex DiGiorgio of MCE Clean Energy about how Community Choice Aggregation gives back the power to local residents, providing them with access to competitively-priced renewable energy.

City of Richmond, CA

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission


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