US energy management company Itron is sponsoring a Texas-based project to power a community using crowd sourced energy.
Mayor of Austin Steve Adler kickstarted a campaign this week to generate donations of electricity for powering Community First! village during the first year of its operation.
The new community, which is set to open within the first quarter of 2015, is a 27-acre master-planned community in Southeast Austin that will provide affordable, sustainable housing and a supportive community for approximately 240 disabled, chronically homeless people.
Community First! Village needs electricity to power 240 micro-homes, RVs and canvas tents, outdoor kitchens, restrooms, laundry facilities, a sanctuary, a hospitality center, a medical office, an outdoor theatre and an operations building.
The village’s first-year electricity costs are estimated to be US$213,000, or about US$895 per resident.
Peer to peer energy sharing platform
The program uses Gridmates, an internet platform aimed at alleviating energy poverty through peer-to-peer energy sharing.
The public can donate through the platform on a PC or smart phone.
Gridmates will then provide energy saving tips so donors who gives electricity can offset the cost of their donation.
A donation of US$10 will fund a village resident’s energy needs for more than five days, while US$50 covers the cost of running the bathhouses every day so residents can take hot showers.
Dr. George Koutitas, founder and CEO at Gridmates, said: “Leveraging technology to make sure everyone has access to basic resources such as electricity is just the right thing to do so we are thrilled to be a part of this project.
"Our vision is to empower people with the ability to share a small amount of energy with those in need, anywhere and anytime.”
Other sponsors for the campaign aside from Itron include CLEAResult, an energy efficiency consulting firms, Silicon Labs, which provides semiconductor, software and system solutions for the global electronics industry.