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Energy Access & Economic Mobility

As renewable energy technologies progress, disparities in access to these technologies — and indeed, access to energy itself — persist. Poorer and historically disadvantaged groups spend disproportionate amounts of their incomes on energy costs, while being more prone to shut-offs, more reliant on the grid, and less able to affect policy change. University of Michigan experts, at centers like the Urban Energy Justice Lab (UEJ) and Poverty Solutions, are researching the intersection between energy access, economic mobility, and social justice, and then engaging with communities near and far to pursue more equitable approaches.

News and Impact

1930s map of Detroit, Michigan, which graded land based on race. The “least desirable” neighborhoods were color-coded as red. Map courtesy of “Mapping Inequality” and the National Archives and Records Administration.
Redlining and environmental racism
Shobita Parthasarathy
Equity considerations must be an integral part of energy research and development, Parthasarathy tells Congressional committee
Daniel Raimi
Raimi maps U.S. energy economy in new report
Tony Reames
SEAS professor Tony Reames tapped by DOE to lead energy justice policy
an illustration of people holding up solar panels
U-M Energy Equity Project to develop first standardized tool for driving equity in clean energy industry
A new University of Michigan-led project, in partnership with four Detroit community-based organizations, will try to lighten that load a bit. Team members will work with residents of 200 low- and moderate-income (LMI) households in three Detroit neighborhoods—Jefferson Chalmers, Southwest Detroit and The Villages at Parkside—to improve home energy efficiency and to lower monthly utility bills.
U-M, community partners tackle energy insecurity in three Detroit neighborhoods
Downtown Detroit with the People Mover
New U-M report lifts up Detroit residents’ priorities for economic mobility
Catherine Hausman
Understanding Carbon Tax
house with large buildings in background
Energy Poverty in the United States
Small tanks of water outside of a home in the desert
Solving water access issues with solar energy
Urban Energy Justice Lab founder Dr. Tony Reames
Energy access is not created equal. This Ann Arbor organization is trying to change that