I-WEST Seminar: Tips for Writing an Impactful Community Benefits Plan

Picture of Dr. Deborah Sunter

Dr. Deborah Sunter

Senior Advisor, DOE Office of Economic Impact & Diversity

Picture of Sonrisa Lucero

Sonrisa Lucero

Special Advisor, DOE Office of Economic Impact & Diversity

Seminar Information:

Date: October 4, 2023

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm MDT

Location: Held via Webex. A no-cost registration is required to attend.

Register here or contact [email protected] for assistance. 

The I-WEST seminar series hosts thought leaders on a spectrum of topics tied to transitioning the Intermountain West to carbon neutrality, including technologies, policy, workforce, and environmental justice. 

Seminar Summary

As the energy transition gains momentum, the topic of energy justice is getting a lot of attention. With the Justice40 initiative, we have a national goal that 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate and energy will flow to disadvantaged communities. If you’ve applied for funding from the U.S. Department of Energy lately, you’re probably familiar with the new requirements for a community benefit plan as part of the application package. This is just one way in which DOE is putting Justice40 into action—working with project teams to ensure that energy justice is something they are thinking about at every stage in the process. 

Join us for this seminar to learn about DOE’s objectives for requiring community benefit plans, tips for how to write an impactful plan, and best practices for implementation. Whether you’re a researcher trying to understand how to incorporate community benefits into your R&D project, an industry partner interested in partnering with a local stakeholder on a demonstration effort, or a community member who has been invited to participate in a community benefits plan, this seminar will provide valuable insights on how to effectively incorporate energy justice into your initiative. 


Dr. Deborah Sunter serves as the senior advisor of energy justice policy and analysis in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy. While in the government, she is on leave from her role as an assistant professor at Tufts University. She holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University. She was formerly an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy and a Data Science Fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. Using computational modeling and data science techniques, her research explores the interface of technology innovation and policy for improved environmental sustainability and social justice.

Sonrisa Lucero is a Special Advisor for Stakeholder Engagement in the DOE Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. She was most recently the Equitable Buildings Decarbonization Manager at RMI where she led the efforts to integrate equity into carbon free buildings policy and advocacy. Previously, she worked to advance equitable sustainability and climate policy at the City and County of Denver in the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. A lifelong activist for social justice, Sonrisa is skilled at building coalitions and guiding diverse stakeholders to equitably advance sustainability and combat climate change. Sonrisa was born and raised in Denver, CO and graduated from Stanford University with an Individually Designed Major, Environmental Systems Engineering.


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