Electric Municipal Utilities & the Transition to a Clean Energy Future

A Guide for Municipal Utility Leaders

Transitioning to clean energy can create a more flexible, economic, and resilient electricity system – helping small and mid-sized cities enjoy safer, cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable service. Municipal utility leaders face unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to making the most of this transition.

This paper, co-authored by Climate Cabinet Education, the Regulatory Assistance Project, and Pace Law, is designed to provide a guide for municipal utilities seeking to make responsible, forward-looking planning decisions and investments within a clean energy transition while meeting their bedrock obligations to ensure reliable service in an economic manner. You can download the full report or explore this resource in sections, below. The Executive Summary provides an overview of the entire report.


Executive Summary

Start here for a summary of the clean energy transformation, the role of municipal utility leaders, and an overview of this toolkit.

Read the Executive Summary


Resource Planning: The Cornerstone of a Smart and Equitable Energy Transition.

Planning has always been a critical aspect of utility operations, but its importance has grown during periods of high technological and policy change like we see today. This section dives into the changing planning landscape, goal-setting, Integrated Resource Planning, and resource development and procurement.

Read the Planning section here.


Building a Clean & Equitable Energy Future: Put Energy Efficiency First.

Energy efficiency can simultaneously reduce costs for utilities and customers, decrease price volatility, improve indoor comfort, and create hundreds of local jobs.

Read about Energy Efficiency.


Building a Clean & Equitable Energy Future: Capture Demand-Side Flexibility:

The energy sector is undergoing a paradigm shift. Whereas utilities have historically focused on energy supply in order to meet demand, advances in technology are enabling supply-side and demand-side levers.

Read about Demand-Side Flexibility.


Building a Clean & Equitable Energy Future: Electrification for Buildings & Transportation.

Electrification provides one of the biggest opportunities in the power sector today to connect customers with more affordable resources, improve grid management, and reduce harm to the environment and public health.

Read about Electrification for Buildings & Transportation.


Building a Clean & Equitable Energy Future: Expand Clean Energy Generation.

This section discusses various options that municipal utilities have to develop or procure clean energy, and policies that may affect these decisions.

Read about Expanding Clean Energy Generation.


Policies to Address Energy Burden.

Electricity is a necessity and a prerequisite for many aspects of our lives.This section discusses policies municipal utilities can adopt to help customers facing high energy burdens pay their bills.

Read about Policies to Address Energy Burden.


Good Governance

As publicly-owned utilities, municipal utilities have a special opportunity to serve their community. Ensuring fair, transparent, and responsive governance is key to ensuring equitable representation and meeting local needs.

Read about Good Governance.