Energy Is a Community Coversation

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It’s never been more obvious that energy is a COMMUNITY conversation. More and more we see municipalities making “Ready for 100” announcements, committing to a version of the Paris Climate Accord, e.g. 100% renewable energy (RE) for electricity by 2035 and for all sources by 2050. These communities are activating as a result of federal inaction, and their commitments demonstrate that indecision at the state or federal level doesn’t have to happen in your home town. From grassroots community organizers to engineering studies, our energy future is one of inclusion and choice.Development of renewable energy projects traditional focuses on one project at a time, resulting in a one-off debate about a utility’s distribution systems capacity and one person’s need to pay for an incremental improvement to allow equipment to be interconnected and operated. This creates a distortion in a grid users’ value proposition and limits project development. The fix is to think instead at a community or portfolio scale. This leads us to hosting capacity. Conversations about hosting capacity are multifaceted and can be highly technical, but for PV at least, they are typically based in one of two camps:

  1. How much sunlight you get where you have rooftops, or
  2. How much current the wires on the street can handle.

These are two very different perspectives representing roughly distribution utilities and activists/developers. The first is a raw estimate of potential, while the second is a (not un-solvable) technical constraint. Communities interested in seeing renewable energy built locally need to understand both perspectives – whether they’re considering a single site, multiple projects on a distribution circuit, or the whole town.

Whatever your community’s goals, it’s important to remember that getting to 100% will take a large-scale focused effort. When you’re ready to move from goal-setting to planning, ProtoGen is ready to help. Reach out with your ideas and let’s work together to navigate to your future!