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The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded a $9 million grant to the Energy Coalition, Community Electricity, and a consortium of energy partners to support disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles through the implementation of innovative technologies.

The CEC is providing the grant through its Electric Programme Investment Charge (EPIC) Programme, which supports clean energy research in California.

The Basset-Avocado Advanced Energy Community (BAAEC) project is expected to give rise to the perfect formula to design a feasible community-scale decarbonisation strategy.

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Phase 1 of the project was started in 2016 and phase 11 will be completed by 2023. The two phases require up to $20 million in funding to be completed.

Innovative and versatile technologies are being deployed to enable the delivery of affordable and locally-produced renewable energy and energy services to consumers in Basset and Avocado.

The model being developed is expected to further support communities highly affected by the COVID-19 crisis by providing them with resilient energy, improve their quality of life, and result in economic benefits.

The BAAEC, a 28,000-resident community in Los Angeles will serve enrolled participants using a complex system comprised of seven main components:

1) A digital application to engage and guide community members towards decarbonisation: “people first”.

2) A smart community solar and storage system to offset annual electricity load.

3) A campus microgrid resilience hub to provide clean back-up power to the community in emergencies, severe heat days, or blackouts.

4) A prosumer network and a virtual power plant integrating 50 single-family homes equipped with solar photovoltaic and battery storage to demonstrate a blockchain community network pilot.

5) A mobile grid that includes a community-operated EV vanpooling service and a network of fast EV charging stations to decrease the use of fossil fuel vehicles, reduce carbon emissions, and improve air quality.

6) An indoor-outdoor smart pollution sensor network including an IoT-based NOx emissions monitoring system to measure and improve emissions from fossil fuel vehicles still operating within the community.

7) A mobile living laboratory to periodically perform rounds throughout the community, measuring and reporting real-time decarbonisation impact.

Luis Felipe Cano, Community Electricity CEO, said: “ The motivation and potential are huge – approximately two thousand similar disadvantaged communities could benefit from this protocol inside California, and even more when we replicate the formula outside the state.

“We are excited to be part of the co-development of this multi-asset community-scale prototype using a blockchain backbone, making this Advanced Energy Community the biggest and most versatile in the world when built out.”

Other project partners include ACLIMA, Ampere Energy, EnelX, Google, Green Commuter/EVShare, Grid Alternatives, IoT SENSORCOM, Purple Air, Solarays, Sonnen, Space AI, StrongBlock, Tetra Innovations Group, Tritium, and Winn Energy Control.