Local Government

Bright Futures Grants Awarded to Nonprofit Organizations to Educate Communities About the Benefits of Renewable Energy

The Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) – a community energy provider – announced on September 29, 2023, four recipients of its first Bright Futures Grants, which provides funding to local nonprofits, schools, and educators in their efforts to educate communities on the benefits of renewable energy and Community Choice Aggregation (CCA).

Funds were awarded to organizations that brought forward the most creative and innovative ideas. Particular focus was given to the organizations focused on underrepresented communities and multi-lingual campaigns, as well as those initiatives that brought together multiple partners to collaborate on renewable energy education. In total, $70,000 was awarded through the Bright Futures Grant Program.

“Being able to grant these funds to local nonprofits is a direct result of the Orange County Power Authority’s first successful year of procuring renewable energy for our member communities,” said OCPA Board Chair Fred Jung. “One of the most valuable aspects of operating a not-for-profit community energy program is that we are able to reinvest our revenues back into the community for programs that will help address climate change.”

This year’s recipients are:

  1. Climate Action Campaign – to conduct multilingual outreach and education in Buena Park and Fullerton to build community support for the development of Climate Action Plans.

“Community members need to know what is possible with a climate action plan and understand the benefits of clean energy,” said Ayn Craciun of Climate Action Campaign. “The Bright Futures Grant will allow us to accomplish this additional outreach.”

2. Cool Irvine – to expand programming to reach overlooked and underserved communities in Irvine and share sustainable living strategies and how clean energy options like OCPA can help residents save money while protecting the environment.

“This funding will allow us to educate hard-to-reach communities with information about climate action, adaptation, and the importance of clean energy,” said Patty Oh, Cool OC.

3. OC Goes Solar – a collaboration with Climate Reality OC to expand community engagement and education in renewable energy, energy efficiency savings, and Community Choice Aggregation to diverse communities.

“Our goal is to get more information about community energy programs into the communities through events and partnering with organizations to help reach low-income communities,” said Linda Kraemer of the Climate Reality Project.

4. Pretend City – to provide hands-on STEAM experiences focused on renewable energy sources, solar and wind turbines; use learning spaces within Pretend City to show examples of renewable energy “powering” city elements; create a field trip curriculum that teaches about renewable energy sources and how it powers places in our cities; and increase adult and child familiarity with renewable energy sources and the associated terminology.

“We’re bringing renewable energy to the city for the kids,” said Sue Harrison of Pretend City. “From a solar car derby to adding solar panels to the café and home, kids can practice with these tools and learn to bring natural energy into the ‘city’.”

About Orange County Power Authority

The Orange County Power Authority is a not-for-profit public agency that offers clean power at competitive rates, significantly reducing energy-related greenhouse emissions and enabling reinvestment in local energy programs through consumer choice. OCPA serves over 225,000 customers in Orange County, with approximately 845 MW in peak load. To learn more, visit www.ocpower.org.