KneeDeep Times: The future of renewable energy may lie in microgrids—but what does it actually take to implement one?
From navigating utility regulations to weathering the effects of COVID-19, the Oakland EcoBlock has had its fair share of challenges. Intended to serve as a scalable model for sustainable, block-level retrofitting, the pilot project aims to outfit an existing neighborhood in the Fruitvale District of Oakland with energy-efficient technologies, electric mobility, and shared ownership of a solar microgrid.
Sustained community engagement and collaboration underpin the success of the project. During the initial block selection process—where respondents were asked to self-nominate—the EcoBlock community “was most organized and already most supportive,” said Daniel Hamilton, the Sustainability and Resilience Director for the city of Oakland. The EcoBlock is “a truly diverse block,” noted Cathy Leonard, the Community Liaison for the project, with residents hailing from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
Amid its complexities, the Oakland EcoBlock is now gearing up for construction, as the research team works with the community to pave a pathway for urban decarbonization.