Meet DOE in St. Louis!
By Marjorie F. Harris, Assistant Director of External Affairs
A mural on one of the walls at Delmar Divine, a collaborative space that maximizes the financial and human capital of St. Louis, Missouri's, social initiatives and institutions, displays the axiom "Even in the darkest of nights there is hope." The space has been a catalyst in the city's West End, supporting the work of innovative social service agencies, such as the Cabanne District Community Development Corporation (CDCDC), which invited SCEP to join them for their program, "Equitable Energy Access: Intro to the Justice 40 Initiative."
It was fitting that this diverse community in the City that was the starting point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804 would host a local conversation to discuss how the energy community is ensuring that the tenets of the Biden-Harris Administration's Justice40 Initiative are reaching residents in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The Cabanne District CDC (CDCDC) focuses on the systemic and environmental inequities experienced by historically marginalized people in St. Louis's West End. The organization focuses on renewable energy, smart sustainable infrastructure, and technology.
"[We] lead the charge in the clean energy transition, positioning the West End as a blueprint for future clean energy communities," said Justin Idleburg, CDCDC President. "Our commitment is showcased through pioneering efforts to shift away from traditional energy sources, embracing sustainable alternatives for a greener future."
The first half of the daylong program featured a panel discussion with SCEP, Constance Taylor, Senior Manager, Sustainability, Diversity, Philanthropy and Energy Equity Solutions for Ameren; Paula Carey-Moore, Regional Vice President of Housing and Economic Empowerment, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; and Jessica Deem- Founder of VIRESCENT Architect + Design. The panel was moderated by Sophie Kelian, a student at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. The afternoon program was a feature presentation by SCEP. The program's attendees were familiar with SCEP's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) program but leaned in closely to hear about the opportunity to collaborate on the Energy Futures Grant (EFG) and the newly-announced Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP). They are also hopeful that their State will support the upcoming IRA 50121 and 50121 Home Energy Rebates.
Although many of the homes in the West End have fallen into painful disrepair after decades of social and economic challenges, under the direction of the CDCDC and with the support of the dozens of activists – many of whom showed up for the presentation program – this reemerging neighborhood is poised for a comeback.
"Our vision extends beyond a cleaner and more efficient West End; we aim to set a lasting precedent for sustainable urban development that resonates far beyond our city limits," Idleburg added.
The Cabanne District CDC's efforts will ensure that the City of St. Louis remains at the forefront of the clean energy movement.