Graphic showing neighbors working together

2021: A Year in Review

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It’s hard to find the right words for 2021. 

Racism. Democracy. Pandemic. Climate. Single words evoke the complex challenges of our time. 

Progress can be agonizingly slow. For EcoBlock, we’re not quite where we had hoped to be by the end of the year, but we’ve accomplished much more than meets the eye.

A key milestone was the formation of the EcoBlock Community Association, which is now incorporated as a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation. The Association also elected its first Board of Directors! Creating a new framework for community governance–with the ability to collectively own, manage, and operate the shared assets–a huge success. 

The end-of-block stormwater mitigation project was an example of community decision-making in action. Neighbors voted on one of five design options, and our Water Team is working on the implementation. Holding our first laundry-to-landscape workshop in November was also an example of something bigger: working on a project together, for a better community.

With PG&E, another big win was to obtain approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to make EcoBlock and similar projects eligible for the Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff (CMET). This was a key step to let the block operate off-grid–and it also paves the road for others to follow. Solar energy and microgrid advocates across California and beyond are watching EcoBlock, hoping to replicate the idea. 

Over twenty home assessments were completed in 2021. A physical survey of the entire block was conducted to understand exactly what can fit where, from the community battery and transformers to curbside electric vehicle (EV) chargers. We’re determining what permits are needed for implementation and a list of equipment to order is almost ready.      

Community. A single word can’t solve all our problems. But it points in a good direction. We’re so thankful to be working with this dedicated group of residents. Together, we’re building something amazing.

Sascha, Therese, and Cathy     

Timeline of the Oakland EcoBlock project's key milestones in 2021
Design by Anna Haefele

Cover image credit: StateFarm

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