The Oakland EcoBlock: Building energy and social justice into the innovation and planning process

On July 16, 2021, EcoBlock co-PI Dan Kammen testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on how to foster equity in energy innovation.

In his testimony, Kammen highlighted the Oakland EcoBlock as an example of “implementing clean energy where innovations on the hardware side (novel solar and energy storage technologies and smart-grid interlinking technologies) are partnered from the outset with efforts to build inclusive input from diverse, low-income and racially diverse participants.” He described the key goals of the EcoBlock concept, which include water and energy efficiency retrofits, neighborhood-shared energy storage, shared Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations, a community microgrid, and innovative legal, regulatory, and financial mechanisms to facilitate the project and create a prototype for future models.

Kammen noted that the Oakland EcoBlock presents “both the warning signs, and opportunities to make the process of […] decarbonization efforts ones that build job creation, social acceptance, and economic empowerment” and recognized the potential of “pro-justice, mission-driven basic and applied research […] [to] accelerate the clean energy transition.”

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