Jina Kim:

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us for the final panel of the day. My name is Jina Kim. I am… Did I [inaudible 00:00:22] something? [inaudible 00:00:24]. Okay.

Matt Roberts:

You got to do a little dance.

Jina Kim:

I’ll try not to touch anything. Okay. So, as I said, I’m Jina. I’m an attorney at Communities for a Better Environment, which is an environmental justice organization in the Bay Area/L.A. area. I also represent the California Environmental Justice Alliance and [inaudible 00:00:42], and I’ll be moderating today’s panel on project development in frontline communities.

Jina Kim:

Hopefully, you all got a chance to hear some of the previous speakers talk about their vision for a clean and resilient future to the policies and technologies that can help us get there. For this panel, our objective is to share and discuss what people can do on the ground to ensure that this vision is realized, first, in the communities that suffer the most from air pollution, power outages and our current energy system.

Jina Kim:

So, I’m going to start by giving just a little bit of background, and then I’ll introduce our amazing panelists, and then each panelist will give a quick presentation, and then we can jump into some questions. So to provide just a little bit of context of our conversation today, you may know that the state of California has allocated $3.7 billion for climate resilience for this fiscal year. That money includes $200 million for community resilience centers, which you’ll hear about in a moment, as well as funding for other community hubs grant programs and other transformative climate communities program.

Jina Kim:

There are also programs funded in other ways like the Microgrid Incentive Program at the California Public Utilities Commission, which directs $200 million of grid [inaudible 00:01:51] funding, maybe not deal but alas, toward microgrid development in communities hit hard by power outages. [inaudible 00:02:00] all this funding being rolled out, and we might want more but, regardless, with funding comes opportunity.

Jina Kim:

To really build our new energy system, first, in frontline communities, we need to make sure that these programs are actually accessible and utilized by the communities that have been and will continue to be most impacted by climate injustice. This is something that we’ve been working on in the Microgrid Equity Coalition. MEC is a group of various organizations including the California Environmental Justice Alliance and The Climate Center. So a pretty diverse group of stakeholders advocating for [inaudible 00:02:32] environmental justice and equity all within the Microgrid Incentive Program [inaudible 00:02:37] and other state grant programs.

Jina Kim:

Right now, we’re so fortunate to be joined by our panelists who have on-the-ground experience administering and influencing these climate resilience programs and building resilience centers in the communities [inaudible 00:02:51]. I’ll introduce them. Shina Robinson is the policy coordinator at Asian Pacific Environmental Network, or APEN. APEN is an environmental justice organization that grounds its work and leadership of its immigrant and refugee community members. Shina works on a just transition and energy democracy. She currently works with community members to build community-based climate resilience hubs in Oakland and Richmond.

Jina Kim:

Next, we have Katrina. Katrina Leni-Konig is deputy public advisor and tribal liaison at the California Energy Commission. She advances energy equity by enhancing engagement, building partnerships and developing impactful programs. As we invest in our energy emission, Katrina works to ensure that tribes and communities have access to resources, implement their vision for resilient and equitable and clean-energy future.

Jina Kim:

Last, but not least, Matt Roberts is director of market development at Blue Planet Energy, a rapidly-growing microgrid and energy storage company. He has a wealth of experience and expertise in energy policy, renewables, [inaudible 00:03:50] and sustainable infrastructure. Recently, he’s worked on community resilience efforts with the focus on economic development in Puerto Rico, California and Alaska. With that, I’m really happy to turn it over to our first panelist. Shina, take it away.

Shina Robinson:

[inaudible 00:04:15] this is on. Yeah. So, as Jina mentioned, I work at APEN. We are in the process of supporting a couple community-based resilience hubs at this moment. Today, I wanted to share with you all a little bit more about what goes into that process of not just building resilience hubs, but really building community-based and community-driven resilience hubs in a way that’s rooted in community needs and vision.

Shina Robinson:

So, I’ll start with how we’re defining what we mean by resilience and resilience hubs. We do a lot of advocacy at a state level and there’s a lot of talk about [inaudible 00:04:59] centers. We’ve seen things like resilience efforts on more fair grounds, during climate emergencies, and we’re really talking about hubs that are invested in right where environmental justice communities are, wherever communities are, that are serving these every day. They’re there, they have a presence, they’re building trust, and communities members already know they can go there to get support, they connect to these services, connect to each other.

Shina Robinson:

These are the sites that we want to turn into resilience hubs by adding energy investments, but they do offer resilience and social cohesion in a number of ways. They’re really about shifting power to the community and working at the nexus of resilience, climate disaster response and social equity while providing [inaudible 00:06:00] to become more self-determined and connected and successful. How we describe it is moving from coping and surviving climate change disasters to growing and thriving [inaudible 00:06:13] and stronger by supporting and organizing any partners [inaudible 00:06:18].

Shina Robinson:

This is just an example. This is from the [inaudible 00:06:26] climate action plan of all of the things that communities that APEN works with are facing. They’re all interconnected. They all reflect our capacity to be resilient when the next crisis comes. I just wanted to [inaudible 00:06:45] that when we talk about more vulnerable communities, that vulnerability is a consequence and not a condition. So we have to think about way in which our communities are historically and systemically marginalized, excluded from opportunities, excluded from investments, and what are the ways that we can develop policies and programs that actually get [inaudible 00:07:08] and be more [inaudible 00:07:11].

Shina Robinson:

For example, APEN has its roots in Richmond and the Refinery fires, [inaudible 00:07:19], industrial impacts, [inaudible 00:07:21]. Those are regular occurrences and folks who [inaudible 00:07:27] cancer or asthma that are now facing [inaudible 00:07:30] of displacement and being [inaudible 00:07:32] out before they can enjoy the investments that are beginning to address this [inaudible 00:07:37]. So having PSPS events [inaudible 00:07:42] impacts, fairer solutions have to be just as intersectional as the problems [inaudible 00:07:48].

Shina Robinson:

I won’t spend too long on this one, but I recommend Movement Generation as a source to learn more about just transition [inaudible 00:07:59] by really wanting to highlight this values filter as we talk about shifting into a clean energy economy and really having to transform the way our energy systems are governed. We’ve been talking about that a lot this afternoon, but just to add a visual to that and just say that it’s not enough to have [inaudible 00:08:34], but we really have to address the impact on our politics. It’s not enough for [inaudible 00:08:39] climate disaster responses, but really think about [inaudible 00:08:46] merging to services are linked to county sheriff departments, and how building a network of resilience hubs where local residents are trained to deal with emergencies that really have to do with climate or mental health or other things that folks are dealing with can actually become this most accessible, welcoming and empowering place to build resilience.

Shina Robinson:

I’m [inaudible 00:09:13] go through that one to save some time. Just wanting to bring some of our members into the room. They have been the core of how we have been [inaudible 00:09:27] in clean energy and resilience policy from the beginning. We have done ground truthing processes to help create a process for them to actually come up with legislation that speaks to the greater impacts that they’re seeing. They’ve come up with a bill that addresses energy efficiency, solar, as well as pairing it with public health and tenent protections so that folks can get the kind of ground that they deserve.

Shina Robinson:

Just wanting to note that they’ve helped us come up with the policy ideas, they help drive the advocacy, whether we go to the legislator or advocate the state budget [inaudible 00:10:16] investments. Just to bring them into there a little bit more. They’re part of the core piece of the puzzle when we’re implementing these policies and actually building [inaudible 00:10:29].

Shina Robinson:

Speaking of that, this is just an example of the ways in which we work we members who are going to be using these resilience hubs to actually design surveys to bring to their peers. It’s not just the folks that we work with directly, but actually training them in different skills to engage the broader community, their peers, and their networks. It’s a really democratic process in terms of how these resilience hubs area designed and how they prioritize which resilience aspects they would like to see at the center, what are the most critical under different scenarios, of different lengths of outages. Determining things like the allocation of energy cost savings, to priorities, to how they can serve on the advisory board to determine that, and, more specifically, be able to develop a deeper analysis of a climate and economic crisis.

Shina Robinson:

Lastly, I’ll highlight one that’s moving right now that we’re really excited about in Oakland’s China Town: the Lincoln Center Rec Center. We’re working with community members and [inaudible 00:12:00]. We’re co-designing this from the bottom-up to address resilience that includes safety and all the things that Asian immigrants are facing right now. Physical safety, having a place to go, having a support person [inaudible 00:12:17] language, emotional safety. It’s responsive, it’s a place to connect, to grieve, to debate, to play. There’s aspects of [inaudible 00:12:27] culture to express and decompress during climate emergencies and prepare for them in a cohesive way and [inaudible 00:12:35] a little bit bigger than themselves and a way to build up their community.

Shina Robinson:

So, I’ll just end it there by saying we are working these projects and really deeply listening to the community’s voice and incorporating that directly in to these tangible processes. It’s really important for state programs and investors to support that pre-work before the technical aspects when the partnerships come together. Actually invest in the organizing and education [inaudible 00:13:13].

Katrina Leni-Konig:

Hello, good afternoon, good evening, everyone. It’s close to the evening. My name is Katrina Leni-Konig. I work with the California Energy Commission. Let me shift slides really quick. My new role is deputy public advisor and tribal liaison. Our public advisor’s office has basically transitioned to office of the public advisor, energy equity and tribal affairs. The reason that they did that is very intentional. We understand and we know that the investments that are coming in need to go more intentionally to communities, to projects like what APEN is putting forward, to partner with tribes and helping them as well with their energy transition, and how do we do that and how do we do that better? That’s part of my new role.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I was previously with the energy research and development division, working on technology, skill, and outreach. That’s how I got started into this. I’m going to be talking more about those projects, but also understand that within that context, those are the existing projects that we have. There’s a lot on the edge of coming forward with regards to programs that are being developed, that are being developed more intentionally, and we learn, and we improve how we advance energy equity, energy resilience, just transition that Shina was talking about.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’m going to pass that along. If you guys missed the news, there was a report to the California legislator that we must prepare for the sweeping effects of climate change, here, in California. This comes from the Legislative Analyst’s Office Report. The idea is that they’re really pushing forward, they’re pushing on the legislator to not only do we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and so forth, we all know this, we understand that the hazards of climate change are coming and that we need to be dealing with that, and that we need to be dealing with it through our policy, through our [inaudible 00:15:26] and so forth.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’m just going to do the quote here. “These hazards will threaten public health, safety, and well-being, including from life-threatening events, damage to property and infrastructure, and impaired natural resources.” This means that our schools will be closed, people’s public health will be impacted [inaudible 00:15:45], our infrastructure will be devastated through rising sea levels, housing will be lost in that process as well. So we need to plan for that.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I think all of us know that this is actually in our backyard. These are two photos within a 20, 30-minute drive from my home. This is the Caldor Fire up at Sierra Ski Resort and this is Folsom Lake. This is the marina at Folsom Lake completely drained. I think this was last year. This is all within a year that I personally experienced. I have a lot of other stories, as I’m sure all of you do as well. So just to get more personal.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

We have significant funding. As Shina mentioned, we have a 15-billion-dollar package to tackle climate crisis and protect vulnerable communities. We are all vulnerable at this point, but we also know that other communities are more significantly impacted depending on where they’re at, depending on how their infrastructure has been built and supported throughout the time, how much money they receive, and how much money and resources they have to be able to respond makes them also vulnerable.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

So, this is a little bit of an older 2030 Vision. This is the California-Air-Resources-Board infographic. I still really like it. I think it’s a little bit out-of-date in that, really, by 2030, we’re looking at 60% of electricity will come from renewable energy. But the ideas is this [inaudible 00:17:22] really cool listing in how to tackle and address this. As we [inaudible 00:17:25] we’re building in resilience as we do that. It is not just about transitioning. It’s about transformation. It’s about transformation of how we do things. It’s about building community resilience, like Shina was mentioning, because those are going to be your closest allied as we work through these impacts.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’m just going to talk about some of our investments through the Energy Commission. The Energy Commission has a research and development program. It’s phenomenal, very unique, in California, where we get funding from [inaudible 00:18:00], there’s a small surcharge on your bill, if you look at it, for the EPIC program, and it actually invests in clean energy innovation. These projects are at that edge of, “We have these emerging technologies, how do we bring them together and how do we deploy them at community skill?”

Katrina Leni-Konig:

There are four projects that advanced-sprung the design phase into the build phase. Now, we’ve been funding those projects. There’s been a little bit slow down with COVID, and so forth, but things are moving forward. These projects include resilience hubs, they include investments in new homes, existing homes, energy efficiency and solar, and distributed energy resources throughout the community. Then, what they’re intended to do is to really create a model [inaudible 00:18:53] of how do we invest and transition the community as whole.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

So, we came together. We created this research initiative and we thought, “What’s it going to take? It’s going to take advanced technologies, it’s going to take financial mechanisms to actually be able to scale this. We’d want them to be looking at that, how do we make this affordable? It’s going to be taking in regulatory considerations.” They ran into a ton of regulatory robots. This is a state-funded program. Super challenging, but they had money to navigate this and not every project is going to have that.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

We also saw we need stakeholders and partnerships. Various stakeholders. We’re talking about local governor, we’re talking about community-based organization, we’re talking about the residents themselves. Then we want to make sure that things are all coming back around and leading toward community benefits that are optimized through theses solutions. How do we then also train local folks for workforce development? How can we potentially create new businesses out of this as well? There’s all different opportunities as we invest.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’m just going to highlight the four projects that were funded. For the build phase, we have the Richmond… We call them Advanced Energy Communities. We have the Richmond Advanced Energy Community that took a social impact bond and went to rehabilitate blighted homes after the 2009 housing crisis. We have the Lancaster Advanced Energy Community. Both Richmond and Lancaster are working with their local CCA to also think about how they can do at the scale within their CCA. We have the Bassett Avocado Advanced homes in East Los Angeles. Then, we also have the Oakland EcoBlock, which is taking a block-by-block approach. So transforming a whole block in to an advanced energy community and the how can we then take that and carry that forward to the next…

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’m going to have to wrap it up pretty quickly, but I’m going to talk… We have partnered with tribes. One of our most successful microgrid projects was with Blue Lake Rancheria. They were able to maintain power for 10,000 homes during a PSPS event, there were 78 minutes that the power central command center for the fire [inaudible 00:21:17] during wildfire 2017, 4 lives were saved because they were able to power their medical equipment through the outage, and they’ve received significant awards.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

Since that project, we’ve invested in seven microgrid projects. It’s not enough. It’s $21 million that’s been invested through that big program. I think it’s R&D. It is not deployment. We need many more of these microgrids out there. This is just cutting edge. Let’s fiddle with the technology, let’s refine it, and so forth. Tribes have been a tremendous partner. They have deep connection to stewarding their lands. They have deep connection to their communities. They have a existing sort of infrastructure that really helps us support this kind of vision of how do we transition a whole community, tribe, so forth, going forward with clean energy. Tribes have been a tremendous partner for us.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I just want to highlight the Empower-Innovation website. It is a platform where you can find partners around grant funding opportunities. You can actually use the find-a-partner feature and there’s funding opportunities, not only throughout the state, but also throughout the country. The idea is that it’s an online network platform. You create a profile and connect with others that are interested in this too. Thank you.

Matt Roberts:

All right. Hi, everyone. My name is Matt Roberts. Thanks to the folks at The Climate Center for bringing us all here so we can [inaudible 00:23:03]. But, that being said, I’m going to try and close out and prepare for [inaudible 00:23:08]. I work for a company called Blue Planet Energy. I’ll [inaudible 00:23:15] about that. One thing I did want to note before I started was that during the last conversation, some of the previous conversations, I did hear someone say, “Resilience is impossible with solar and storage.” Anyone who gives you an absolute like that is terribly wrong. There are no absolutes. That being said, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are some challenges to it, different scenarios, different situations. I really appreciate what we’ve been talking about so far about how we adapt that to the community and [inaudible 00:23:46].

Matt Roberts:

That’s where I’m going to focus [inaudible 00:23:49]. We were founded in 2015. We are a clean-energy company. We focus on the battery side. We use what’s called a lithium ferrophosphate battery. It lasts a lot longer and it’s remarkably safer than a traditional lithium and also [inaudible 00:24:06] because it works so well. We have operations in Hawaii. We’re engineered in California. We also have operations in Puerto Rico, which have been key to some of the projects that [inaudible 00:24:17].

Matt Roberts:

When talking about solar and storage, microgrids, resilient power, community hubs… I love that we’re talking more about community hubs, because energy infrastructure folks, like myself, have been at this a little while and start from the energy side. Say, “Okay. I know all the kilowatt hours match up, [inaudible 00:24:36] that’s coming through,” but that is only a part of what resilience is. Resilience very much includes how the community interacts with these different systems. Does it serve their specific needs that are localized to what they want and also to the environment to which we’re operating.

Matt Roberts:

So, when we’re in Puerto Rico, we’re thinking hurricane recovery. These are going to be the most common… Well, PREPA is letting us down a lot, but hopefully the most common source would be from these major weather events, although they do have a lot of other outages as well there. Just about a week ago, they had a [inaudible 00:25:12]. We worked with the Red Cross to put in over 120 solar and storage microgrids. While there’s obviously a lot of commonality when you’re doing a roll-out program like that, each site was different, each hook up was different, who directly was benefiting and interacting with those systems [inaudible 00:25:35].

Matt Roberts:

We’re working on these kind of large-scale problems, ensuring that that input is coming, but also that all parties are paying attention to those different nuances for the system is really important. These are community resilience hubs. So, yes, they are intended to help keep the lights on, but they also serve a greater purpose in Red Cross’ network. Before a storm happens, there is value there. There is resilience there. Obviously, during and immediately following, the electricity can stay on. Then there also become staging sites for Red Cross when they’re coming in after a storm so that they can get their operations up and faster, and recovery can be solar powered instead of diesel power, which most recovery [inaudible 00:26:22] typically are.

Matt Roberts:

But it doesn’t have to be in, let’s say, these more extreme cases, right? These are beneficial solar and storage microgrids, they’re also beneficial in what otherwise would be a grid-connected scenario. We often talk about grid-optional… is the way that we think about the electricity sector. Our systems are designed so that they can help with some of these grid interactions. Things like time of use, for instance, on-demand charge. Some of these things that apply to C-9 residential customers. You can leverage this technology to help reduce some of those costs, reduce your utility bill, to increase your payback period as well as get that free solar energy that you can utilize [inaudible 00:27:07].

Matt Roberts:

This project is done with Habitat for Humanity, NREL, DOE, and Holy Cross Energy. It does take a lot of partners to bring some of these more, not really interesting, but complex microgrids together. This is the number of distributed systems that can operate independently or in concert to give you that resilience [inaudible 00:27:31]. The primary focus, though, is this is a low-modern-income community and the focus is how we bring down those utility bills while also ensuring that we’re not taking away from others and contribute it to the overall [inaudible 00:27:45].

Matt Roberts:

Let’s talk about key takeaways and then we’ll wrap up and jump into questions. So, augmenting communities. These projects, you have to work with communities to make them successful, in part, because the community is the only one who can fully define resilience for that community. What the community needs, what they want, that is inherently a part of what resilience is. If you don’t work with them, you’re going to fail. You’re going to bring the system that is either not providing its whole value or otherwise isn’t being utilized the way that you hoped it would.

Matt Roberts:

That is, I think, a big part of that vulnerability that often gets left out. There also are not a lot of one-size-fits-all solutions. It’s really hard to say, “Hey, here’s this box. We can set it anywhere in the world. It’ll do whatever we want.” One, it’s either going to be undersized or oversized for every single project. [inaudible 00:28:42] I’m just glad that the inherent nature of [inaudible 00:28:51]. Two, there really isn’t a situation and scenario that allows for that reputability. That’s what makes this rather hard at the end of the day is do these communities love a project? It’s where all the value is but it’s also where a lot of the challenge is.

Matt Roberts:

The other part I really like to emphasize for a lot of folks… We’re often talking about places like Puerto Rico, tribal communities, where some of these resilience projects are prioritized. These aren’t test cases for companies to come out and just try out for a new [inaudible 00:29:23]. These are communities. We have to support them in every way we can. This isn’t just a laboratory [inaudible 00:29:29] we try out a new thing and it’s there in an emergency.

Matt Roberts:

Another thing that’s really important to keep in mind here is the increasing frontline. What we traditionally think of as frontlines, say, a community that’s subject to flooding, thing like that, as climate change evolves and the crisis deepens and worsens, we are starting to see new vulnerabilities are being revealed where infrastructure was not up to the task. This could be heatwaves throughout British Columbia, Portland, Pacific Northwest. This is deep [inaudible 00:30:01] Texas, this is climate change melting the river frost in the Arctic Circle. The roads are starting to collapse because they thought that ice [inaudible 00:30:10]. The frontlines where communities are being impacted are changing as climate changes continues to reveal itself in all its [inaudible 00:30:21] glory.

Matt Roberts:

Another really important part about these projects is anticipating. There is going to be future needs as we’re bringing these projects to fruition. Are they expandable? Are the adaptable over time? Or are you walking yourself into exotic components limited-use cases? Last one is really share the knowledge. Everyone has something to bring to the table in these conversations. We’re fortunate. We just finished a project in Shungnak, Alaska. Well, we finished a little while ago. We’re going to announce it on Thursday actually. Very exciting project. We were able to off-set a lot of diesel generation that AVAC uses up there. The list of partners is probably 12 different organizations that all came together to make that happen. Economic development, [inaudible 00:31:10] government, ourselves, installers. All of these different kinds of people who work together on these kind of projects.

Matt Roberts:

That was obviously a great opportunity, but it really is essential that the energy industry brings its part of the perspective and giving that community [inaudible 00:31:28]. With that, I’ll wrap it. Thanks to The Climate Center for doing just that though, getting us all in the same room. Greatly appreciate it and [inaudible 00:31:46].

Jina Kim:

Thank you all for your presentations. We’re going to move into some Q&A. If you have questions for the panelists, please write them down on index cards [inaudible 00:31:54] kindly put them out for us [inaudible 00:31:58]. But I’ll just plug in that for now.

Jina Kim:

I’ll just ask a question to get is started. Like you said, there’s funding being rolled out for community energy resilience in California and hopefully more in the future. Can you tell us what your first priority would be for that funding? Maybe, Shina, we can start with you [inaudible 00:32:21].

Shina Robinson:

Yeah. APEN is looking for investments into networks of resilience hubs across the state. Our current budget letter is asking for $1 billion. [inaudible 00:32:38] remarkable, last year, we were fighting for $300 million and we got $130 million or even $100 million. So I think there’s been the question of why make such a big hold for us? We’re working with some technical partners to study the potential for solar and storage on community centers, like the ones that APEN’s working with, across the state, these centers, schools, and these institutions, and we’re seeing that there’s actually potential for 10.8 gigawatts of solar, 1.8 gigawatts of storage, and that might cost over $20 million for just that energy resilience technology, pieces of it.

Shina Robinson:

So, I think, we’d be prioritizing these types of sites so that people don’t have to travel in emergency. They don’t have to go to a place that they don’t know and they’re not sure they will be welcome. We work really close with immigrant communities and we saw during the fire and evacuations some of them weren’t comfortable using the shelters because of their immigration status and camping on a beach or really not using some of the emergency response the state has rolled out.

Shina Robinson:

I think really prioritizing trusted, accessible sites that area right where folks live, especially if they’re renters and don’t have access to a vehicle, or things like that. As well prioritizing that level of organizing and education empowerment so that the residents who are using these hubs have the capacity to make really informed decisions about the technology that’s going to be invested into their communities and how they might best interact with the government and be able to be trained to maybe [inaudible 00:34:47] green jobs and [inaudible 00:34:52].

Katrina Leni-Konig:

From my position with the state, I’ll just say that I see that we need is further technical assistance as well. While we have funding and support to move forward with resilience hubs or other energy projects, a lot communities don’t have access or are not able to apply. They don’t have the technical systems needed, they don’t have the plans needed to be up to the board. They don’t have the support to administer a grant. They’re very complex.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

So we have funding but we often see the same organizations be able to access those funds instead of communities being able to access those funds. Once you’ve navigated it once, it’s a lot easier to navigate it again. But then also, often times, those are also the same organizations or governments or [inaudible 00:35:58] that have resource. Tribes, for example, is another one of those. Well, tribes is an example. There’s a lot of difference between different tribes throughout the state. Some of them have a lot of resources and some of them not is a good example.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’d like to advocate for technical assistance hubs. It’s something that [inaudible 00:36:20] for capacity building, hubs for clean energy projects. Regional Climate Collaboratives is a program that Strategic Growth Council is running and going forward. There’s a lot happening but I’d like to see some sort of organization around energy as well because it is also very technical to be able to implement.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

The other thing that I’d like to see, I’d like to see resilience built into homes, rental units, so forth. It is not cost-effective at this point to [inaudible 00:36:56] a battery to everybody’s home, especially low-income folks whose utility bills are really low. How can we create a financial structure system where people that have access, they have battery, they have capacity available, they can provide that resilience for that extra capacity when we need it the most. [inaudible 00:37:18] pricing is something on the [inaudible 00:37:23]. There’s other ways that we can provide financial mechanisms to make things more affordable and to help us not have to necessarily upgrade significant [inaudible 00:37:33] systems, transmissions lines, and so forth, and make it a lot of more local. Distributed energy resources is a big part of that. Yeah. [inaudible 00:37:42].

Matt Roberts:

I think the only thing I’ll add on here is really a want for long-term [inaudible 00:37:52] is really one of the challenges we’re seeing. So many of these are one-offs and there is a need to customize to the local community, but it’s coming from all angles a lot of times so the [inaudible 00:38:08]. I think someone pointed out the local need to block house. Fantastic project. Really exciting. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to replicate that because of something [inaudible 00:38:17]. But it just speaks to there’s a lot that needs to be done on the distribution system itself to enable a lot of these things that we’re talking about.

Matt Roberts:

Distributive energy definitely can lower cost, but there’s a couple of asterisks with that of is X, Y, Z [inaudible 00:38:41]. Putting projects in the ground are very important. Working on X, Y and Z, those pieces, is really the big challenge to [inaudible 00:38:48].

Jina Kim:

Thank you. I love the [inaudible 00:38:53], Matt, about customization replicability issue. We have three great questions here asking what was the community process for the projects that Blue Planet Energy has been working on? Then maybe you can start and everyone else can kind of chime in this question. How you engage and support frontline communities without that relationship or interaction being extracted or transactional? We’ll start with you, Matt, and we’ll go back down the line.

Matt Roberts:

Yeah. I think that does make sense. I think where that puts [inaudible 00:39:23], we’re usually brought in as kind of solutions provider. So community leaders, for example, the Shungnak project, local leaders, principal of the high school is really the point person who knows everything that’s going on in town, already had the connections, and made this a reality and got involved with the economic development groups, got involved with utility.

Matt Roberts:

In this recent example, the community really [inaudible 00:39:51] themselves of, “We’re sick of the diesel pollution. Kids who live in this community have never lived through a night without the diesel generators running [inaudible 00:39:59]. Can we turn them off?” So that was one motivation there [inaudible 00:40:05]. That [inaudible 00:40:09] was different than, say, what we did with the American Red Cross. [inaudible 00:40:13] 120 trying to [inaudible 00:40:15], trying to get that rhythm and bring out some of those costs.

Matt Roberts:

In those scenarios, there was much more direct community engagement. Red Cross led a lot of on those activities. Where we really were close was around the economic development [inaudible 00:40:31]. These technologies are pretty fascinating and cool, they very well may be the future, and along the way, it’s great for [inaudible 00:40:38] to train local community members to learn how to install these, what they are, how they work, make some repairs, and you can kind of give that person a way to… give part of this resilience, but also potentially a career path for them in the future as well if that’s something that they choose to pursue.

Matt Roberts:

So, I guess, let me simplify that. One is make sure the community partners are in there, let them lead to what is resilience, what is needed, when and why. The second part is just make sure you’re working with that community [inaudible 00:41:12] as you go. So training folks up in other ways that help [inaudible 00:41:18] can be beneficial for a community.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’ll just add and then I’ll pass it to Shina as well to add to this. The technical assistance hubs and support it one way to support that. But what we’re hearing is really from the inside-out. Coming from the state, they have a lot of big ideas, but what really works is what comes from the community first. I’ll just say, each of these advanced energy [inaudible 00:41:48] design phase really work to engage the community, but the ones that are the most successful were the ones that had that real authentic and meaningful engagement because then it became really reflective of space of that community.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I think that’s the idea is really getting the funds to the communities for them to also come to the table with, “This is what we’re envisioning.” I want to pass it to Shina because I think she probably can talk about this [inaudible 00:42:19].

Shina Robinson:

Sure. The resilience hub that we’re working with in Richmond is, I think, the example. APEN has had a long-standing partnership with both sites and as we developed our clean energy expertise and resilience expertise, while we are a grassroots organization, we can then offer that support to the host sites who are writing their own programing, have their own focus, and riff off each other and give each other that expertise to develop the community process and really be resources to each other.

Shina Robinson:

I think for the Richmond resilience hub we also set a side… We had an organizer and then that’s her role is to shepherd our needs to be part of… to grow their expertise around resilience, around the hub, to [inaudible 00:43:36] resilience 101. But also being part of even the interview process to select the solar-and-storage developer for the site and be right there in the room talking to the developers and to local partners themselves and be able to ask questions about their values or their experience with other projects or working in similar communities and being part of that decision-making process.

Shina Robinson:

Also, for the Richmond resilience hub, we’re hoping to have the battery storage out in the open in the arts space. So it’ll be an ongoing educational tool. We’re doing ongoing conversations with the youth about… They’re pretty young. They’re not workforce age yet, but starting that pipeline with them. That’s something that we want to get into and connect them then to the broader resilience and clean energy economy that’s growing in the centers.

Shina Robinson:

So, hoping to have that. Starting fairly rooted, but then having a long-term vision for how the resilience hubs will keep [inaudible 00:44:48] putting in the hard work to help design it [inaudible 00:44:52].

Jina Kim:

Thank you and we [inaudible 00:44:57] for one more question. One more question and then we’re going to get shooed out somewhat aggressively pretty soon. So I just want to wrap things up with this question. Let’s say that all of us in this room have the great fortune to be at this very event five years from now. If you’re panelists again, this awesome community energy resilience panel, what do you hope that we’ll be talking about in five years? What do you hope that you will accomplish? What is the landscape look like [inaudible 00:45:27].

Katrina Leni-Konig:

[inaudible 00:45:37]. Okay. So, I think, in five years, I’d like to be doing this work with greater connection to the communities that are looking for support for their energy transition, for their energy resilience. I’d like to see the state seen as a really strong partner in that and all aspects. We are working on building our relationship stronger and stronger with tribes and comes back to the governor’s apology. We are working more and more closely with environmental justice communities and how can we right the wrongs of the past of inequitable investments.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

I’d like to say that the promise and the commitment that we’re putting forth today, that it’s more realized. It’s going to take a long path. It’s been many, many years of unfair policies, inequitable investment, and so forth, so it’s going to take some time to right those wrongs. But I’d like to hope that the state is seen as a really true and authentic partner. That’s my hope. I think that we have a long ways to go. I think there’s a lot of technological solutions out there. I think there’s a lot of innovation around how we work more closely as real, true partners with communities. We’re still learning how to do that better and better.

Katrina Leni-Konig:

Community-based organizations are teaching us how to do that more and more So I’m just loving learning this process and I think it’s healing for all of us and it’s healing for the planet. I’d like to see progress in five years. I don’t think we’ll be all the way there. I think it’ll probably be certainly more challenges, but maybe through this working together, this coming together, that we’ll come out even stronger. That’s what I see five years from now.

Shina Robinson:

Yeah. If we were having this even five years from now, I would love to have even members sitting up here instead of a staff person. Yeah. For folks who have been using these resilience hubs… Just thinking, climate disasters are not going to stop and hopefully we’re able to push the piece and the development of these resilience hubs and see them in use and continue learning the lessons. Part of the aspect of the resilience hubs that we’re working on is having our members document and do a field-building guide, share the lessons for other communities and other places that want to try and replicate this. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come speak and speak to the lessons of them in operation and keep honing the resilience hubs so that they continue to serve communities.

Shina Robinson:

The resilience hubs that we’re working with, we’re not just adding solar and storage, but they’re actually renovating, they’re building so their [inaudible 00:48:54] growing their programming, expanding their circumstance. So we’d love to see just more robust networks of hubs and eco blocks and being able to have folks who actually use them be the ones who are sharing the lessons [inaudible 00:49:10].

Matt Roberts:

Yeah. I think if we were together in five years, doing this event, one thing I’d really be excited to see is just… any form of industrial policy in the United States would be delightful and hopefully it’s around resilience and energy. We haven’t had a real energy policy in this country [inaudible 00:49:35] since the Energy Policy Act. So, I think, that would be a big place where that would help us as a country [inaudible 00:49:45] build industrial policy but also build supply chains.

Matt Roberts:

These technologies are great but we don’t make most of the things that go into them. We don’t harvest the raw resources that a lot of these technologies come from. At least currently, consultancy would be more promising and if lithium [inaudible 00:50:01] and some other ones. But that would be a big part for me is can we build the supply chains, build this domestic industry to provide these solutions [inaudible 00:50:11].

Jina Kim:

Great. Well, thank you so much to our panelists. Thank you so much to [inaudible 00:50:27] at The Climate Center for this amazing event [inaudible 00:50:30] behind the scenes. Thank you all for joining us and spending your time with us today. I hope to see you at the reception.