Shalanda H. Baker was my guest earlier this year on Inside Ideas. She had recently been appointed Deputy Director for Energy Justice at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), after the DOE announced its new Biden-Harris Administration senior leadership appointees.
A professor of law, public policy, and urban affairs at Northeastern University, Shalanda has spent more than a decade conducting research on the equity dimensions of the global transition away from fossil fuel energy to cleaner energy resources. She teaches courses on renewable energy development, energy justice, and environmental law. And in 2015 was awarded a 2016–2017 Fulbright–García Robles grant to explore Mexico’s energy reform, climate change, and indigenous rights.
Biden’s deputy director for energy justice at the DOE is also a veteran and former Air Force officer who fought to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. After her honourable discharge due to the then existing policy, she became a vocal advocate for its repeal.
In her new role Shalanda will help drive the Biden-Harris Administration’s plans to ensure more than 40% of its climate investments are directed towards ‘environmental justice communities’ – populations living close to fossil fuel energy plants. To give black Americans fair access to green energy and reduce power pollution.
She is the author of over a dozen articles, book chapters, and essays on renewable energy law, policy, and development; and is the cofounder and co-director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, an organization committed to providing technical law and policy support to communities on the front lines of climate change. She also serves on the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board, the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act Implementation Advisory Committee Climate Justice Working Group, the Board of the Solutions Project, the Board of the Clean Energy Group, and the Board of Solstice Solar.
Shalanda’s latest book: Revolutionary Power: An Activist’s Guide to the Energy Transition was published this month. In it, she argues that the transformation of the energy system is a civil rights issue and offers practical steps to upend the energy sector’s unequal power dynamics.