Image: Community Electricity

Blockchain is to be deployed to bring local energy markets to disadvantaged communities in North and Latin America.

Community Electricity, the California-based energy community developer, and Energy Web are partnering on the project, which should bring the benefits of affordable, low-carbon energy to the communities.

The partnership will focus initially on three projects, one in Los Angeles County, California, and one each in Bogotá and Medellín in Colombia.

In each project, Energy Web and Community Electricity will deploy digital infrastructure across multiple power plants, customers and distributed energy resources to enable multiple applications leveraging the Energy Web Decentralised Operating System (EW-DOS) blockchain technology stack.

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“We know that disadvantaged communities disproportionately bear the burden of air pollution and negative health impacts from burning fossil fuels, as well as heightened mortality risk from exposure to extreme heat with the climate crisis,” says Felipe Cano, Community Electricity’s CEO.

“Together, Community Electricity and Energy Web can help to bring them the benefits of digital technology and clean, low-carbon electricity first, rather than last, in the energy transition.”

The project in Los Angeles County is funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and focuses on the neighbourhoods of Basset and Avocado Heights, located in the San Gabriel Valley. These majority-Latinx communities have suffered from pollution from three major freeways and industrial businesses adjacent to the project site.

California-based non-profit The Energy Coalition will provide locally produced renewable electricity to 235 households through a community solar tariff structure. The project will also provide 50 homes with no-cost solar and residential battery storage and will develop an electric vehicle (EV) mobility service, EV charging infrastructure and a community carbon management system. Other partners include UCLA, Enel X, Grid Alternatives and sonnen.

Transactive Energy Colombia

The project in Medellín, Transactive Energy Colombia, is similarly bringing fleets of low carbon assets to low income and otherwise disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Led by Colombia’s Universidad EIA and the city’s utility EPM, the project is focused on creating a series of local energy markets using combined solar and storage systems deployed on households and a community-owned solar array in Comuna 13, previously known as one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the city.

In addition, 60 renewable generators will be connected to the campus microgrid at the Universidad Nacional in Bogota, thought to be Latin America’s largest.

When the project is concluded, Community Electricity will have deployed 121 renewable facilities making the project the first-of-its-kind ‘energy community’ in the Americas, a statement says.