Green Economic Development Initiative


Philadelphia urban agriculture photo
Urban Agriculture in Philadelphia. Photo credit: Tony Fischer Photography

Operational Energy Savings & Economic Development -This project proposes strategies to grow the emerging ‘operational energy savings’ (OES) sector in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region. OES includes includes services such as building commissioning that can realize deep energy savings and large financial returns. GEDI uses a three-pronged strategy of market transformation - examining how to simultaneously increase demand for OES, increase the capacity of local businesses to serve this demand, and increase the skills of the local workforce. GEDI recommends that the City of Minneapolis establish an OES Taskforce to coordinate initiatives in the region.

Read the full report.

Read our shorter Briefing Paper for economic development practitioners.

Energy Efficiency Market Transformation Strategy - Now Recruiting!

Building from the Operational Energy Savings and Economic Development project noted above, GEDI is currently recruiting economic development organizations interested in developing their own Energy Efficiency and Economic Development Strategy. GEDI will assist selected organizations with research, industry analysis, and policy guidance to develop their own market transformation strategy. Read more and apply. Email Program Coordinator Brendan McEwen for more information.

Prospects and Practice in Green Economic Development

During 2009, MIT faculty conducted research on how economic development organizations are addressing green economic development, and the challenges they face. Our results show that about half of economic development organizations are introducing new efforts to advance environmental practices among firms or to pursue new green markets. However, opportunities abound to deepen green economic development practice. Review our findings here.

Financing District Energy System

GEDI is working with the Portland Sustainability Institute to assess the financing needs and gaps to implement urban district energy systems, and to develop strategies and tools to address this financing gap.

Economic Development Opportunities in Green Stormwater Management Planning

Cities and States across the USA are changing their stormwater management practices, focusing on distributed green infrastructure to control stormwater runoff pollution. This project suggests how cities, and other partners such as community economic development organizations, can more purposefully integrate business development, workforce development, diversity, and opportunity for low-income communities into their green infrastructure planning.

Energy Systems Roadmap

Achieving green energy systems, characterized by much greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, is a key economic development priority. However, economic development practitioners often are not well versed in the functioning of the energy industry, including the different types of utilities, their industry structure, the legal and regulatory oversight system, and effective approaches and policies to work with utilities to advance green economic development goals. The goal of this project is to provide an accessible and informative guide and roadmap to help practitioners develop agendas and work effectively in transforming energy systems. The Energy System Roadmap will outline utility regulation and business models; review key energy policies at the state and local level; suggest how engagement to encourage sustainable energy fits within the traditional scope of economic development organizations; and profile strategies to transform the energy system in which economic development practitioners can engage.

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