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Bronzeville Microgrid - Chicago, Illinois

2019

The Bronzeville Microgrid project deployed in a neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois demonstrates how utilities can invest in pilot microgrid projects to benefit underserved communities. Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) implemented a 7.7 MW community microgrid that will provide service to approximately 770 customers in the historically black neighborhood of Bronzeville Chicago. The project, which is a key component of the utility’s “Community of the Future Initiative,” will serve an area that includes facilities that provide critical services, including hospitals, police headquarters, fire departments, a library, public works buildings, restaurants, health clinics, public transportation, educational facilities, and churches. Bronzeville, considered to be a climate vulnerable urban area, was selected using a data-driven process and based on many socioeconomic factors including income, public health, and lack of investment in the community’s existing infrastructure. 

Related Organizations: Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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The Energy Democracy Scorecard and Flipbook

January 2020

According to the Energy Democracy Scorecard and Flipbook from the Emerald Cities Collaborative, “Energy Democracy” is defined as an ideal scenario where a frontline community “shifts completely away from an extractive economy, energy, and governance system to one that is regenerative, provides reparations, transforms the power structures, and creates new governance and ownership practices. ” The Energy Democracy Flipbook is designed to help frontline communities, such as low-income people of color, who are vulnerable to climate change to self-evaluate their communities’ energy economy condition.

Related Organizations: Emerald Cities Collaborative

Authors or Affiliated Users: Anthony Giancatarino, Donna House

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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Baltimore Shines - Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore Shines is a Baltimore City initiative that helps low-income residents access solar energy through either rooftop installations or community solar projects in Baltimore, Maryland. The program also expands workforce development opportunities in the solar installation industry. Baltimore Shines pilot projects were used to learn about barriers preventing solar installation in low-income communities and to inform the development of a sustainable financing model to increase access to solar energy. As the initial step to teaching energy affordability awareness, Baltimore Shines had community residents’ homes retrofitted by its close affiliate, Civic Works, which installed energy and water conservation equipment in homes. This program was not income restricted and is open to any Baltimore City homeowner or tenant residing in a house or apartment. Baltimore Shines also incorporated the development of workforce opportunities for underemployed and unemployed Baltimore residents through job-training and job placement. Additionally, Baltimore Shines leveraged a state funding program - the Maryland Community Solar Pilot program - that supported investments in renewable energy projects benefiting low- and moderate- income customers and encouraged private investment in the state’s solar industry with incentives for the investors. The program ultimately lowered bills, increased wages for some of the City’s low-income, under-employed or unemployed residents, and enhanced access to solar for many throughout the city. 

Related Organizations: City of Baltimore, Maryland

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Buffalo, New York Medical Microgrid - NY Prize

Microgrid projects selected for funding through the NYSERDA NY Prize competition, including a project serving the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, demonstrate how states can fund microgrid pilot projects and evaluate the resilience benefits delivered by these types of projects. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) secured $1 million in funding from the New York Energy and Research Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) NY Prize to deploy a microgrid project to serve vital medical facilities in Buffalo, New York. The project covers nine health care, life science research, and education facilities including New York’s only freestanding pediatric health facility. The project also serves portions of the adjacent Fruit Belt low income residential neighborhood, which shares common electric infrastructure with the medical campus. BNMC’s proposal emphasized the importance of enabling the health and cancer research facilities to maintain 100 percent service quality during extended power interruptions. The proposal also stressed engaging with surrounding communities to identify priority investment areas, building on existing neighborhood assets by planning a multipurpose community center, advancing a collaborative workforce development strategy, and establishing a land bank program for example. The proposal used the Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEc) model to evaluate the costs and benefits of the microgrid project for critical services. The state of New York created the competition  to spur microgrid development in light of climate change impacts, and called for a variety for microgrid designs involving Combined Heat and Power (CHP), renewables, energy storage, alternative fuel/generation, and controllable loads. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus microgrid project was selected for funding as part of an initiative to upgrade and redevelop the campus and its surrounding neighborhoods. 

Related Organizations: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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The Value of Resilience for Distributed Energy Resources: An Overview of Current Analytical Practices

April 2019

This analysis from the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) evaluates existing practices of calculating the value of resilience in Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) installed within an energy distribution system. The report examines how the value of resilience was calculated and was applied in both regulatory decision-making and non-regulatory cost-benefit analyses, and provides state regulators with guidance for taking resilience into account when evaluating investments in DERs in the face of high-impact, low-probability extreme weather events.

Related Organizations: National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

Authors or Affiliated Users: Wilson Rickerson, Marisa Bulkeley, Jonathan Gillis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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New Mexico SB 489 - Energy Transition Act

March 22, 2019

New Mexico’s 2019 Senate Bill 489 enacts the Energy Transition Act, establishing ambitious statewide renewable energy standards and a pathway the state will use to transition its economy towards one powered by clean energy. The bill includes tens of millions of dollars of economic and workforce support for communities affected by the transition away from coal. By incorporating equity considerations into its framework, this bill not only ensures greater renewable energy production, but also eases the burden of energy transition on frontline and disadvantaged communities.

Related Organizations: State of New Mexico

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Owning the Benefits of Solar+Storage: New Ownership and Investment Models for Affordable Housing and Community Facilities

February 2018

This policy paper examines five models for financing solar PV coupled with battery storage (solar + storage) with the aim of identifying solutions for increasing access to renewable energy in affordable housing and community facilities serving low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities. Solar + storage can reduce utility bills, increase the resilience of power systems, and, in some cases, can lead to revenue from grid services. For these reasons, solar + storage is seen as an equity strategy that can benefit LMI communities.

Related Organizations: Clean Energy Group

Authors or Affiliated Users: Robert Sanders, Lew Milford

Resource Category: Funding

 

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California Public Utilities Commission Clean Energy Research Projects for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities

January 2018

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) allocates its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) to fund projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities, which is an example of utility commissions participating in equitable grid investment. EPIC funds come from rates charged to electricity customers of the state utilities and supports investments in clean energy technologies that benefit ratepayers of investor owned utilities. AB 523 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to expend at least 25 percent of its EPIC funds for Technology Demonstration and Deployment funding (TD&D) at sites located in, and benefiting, “disadvantaged communities,” and adds an additional requirement that the CEC expend at least 10 percent of its EPIC funds for TD&D at sites located in, and benefiting, low-income communities located in the state. The CPUC approved the allocation of $60 million of its EPIC funding to projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities that are also specifically prioritized for the investment of proceeds from CA’s cap-and-trade program. These investments are aimed at improving public health, quality of life, and economic opportunity in disadvantaged communities, which are defined by AB 523 as those most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects, considering socioeconomic characteristics and underlying health status.

Related Organizations: California Public Utilities Commission

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Strategies

November 2016

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)'s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Strategies report describes the utility provider’s risk exposure to climatic hazards, as well as progress the company has made and the plans it has to address climate change impacts across California. As described in the report, “PG&E is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric companies in the U. S. Based in San Francisco, with more than 23,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in Northern and Central California.

Related Organizations: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER)

Administered by the California Energy Commission, the Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER) was created to advance science and technology in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced electricity technologies, energy-related environmental protection, transmission and distribution, and transportation technologies. The PIER Program awards up to $62 million annually to support new energy services and products that create statewide environmental and economic benefits. Priority research areas defined in PIER’s five-year Climate Change Research Plan are: monitoring, analysis, and modeling of climate; analysis of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; assessment of physical impacts and of adaptation strategies; and analysis of the economic consequences of both climate change impacts and the efforts designed to reduce emissions.

Related Organizations: California Climate Change Center (CCCC), California Energy Commission

Resource Category: Funding

 

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