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DOE Connected Communities Request for Proposals
James Kempf <kempf42@...>
So I took a look at this RFP which Shuli mentioned at the last meeting. It seems primarily about building decarbonization through deep electrification, and how local solar (residential and C&I, both on individual buildings and as community solar) plus batteries can act as grid assets. They are projecting $3m-$7m per grant, with a 30% match from the consortium making the proposal. And there is a requirement to instrument any deployments to measure the grid asset contribution and decarbonization.
Suppose LF Energy were to form a consortium to propose converting, say, 10 houses in a disadvantaged area like East Palo Alto or east San Jose, and these were to be connected together to form a microgrid, instrumented and measured, with the RIAPs software acting as the microgrid controller. One reason I suggest San Jose or Palo Alto is because the costs of residential electrification in San Jose with solar, battery, an electric car charger, heat pump for space conditioning and heat pump residential hot water heater plus a few minor efficiency improvements (duct sealing and better attic insulation) are described in this excellent article by Barry Cinnamon, of Cinnamon Solar, in GTM. The budget could perhaps include some money for subsidizing the residential owners' purchase of a used electric vehicle (used EVs with the same amount of mileage and same age as an equivalent ICE vehicle are about 1/2-2/3 the cost). Another place where residential decarbonization costs are well understood would work as well.
Possible partners include Cinnamon Solar for the solar and battery installation, Supreme Air (they installed my air to water heat pump) for the heat pump installation (or we could use the contractor Barry used), a contractor to install the insulation, heat pump hot water heater, and EV charging station. We might also want to include a nonprofit community organization like Acterra or an organization that works with disadvantaged communities since I am sure there will be times when communication to avoid misunderstanding is required.
If there is any concern expressed about a few households receiving preferential treatment, the solar + battery facility could be installed as community solar, where a larger number of households receive benefit, and retrofits on individual households could be forgone. In that case, it might be interesting to use the Sony Computer Science Lab DC microgrid, though that would require inverters at the houses and DC wiring between them, which will definitely add to cost and complexity. Cost information on the community solar option is also not as straightforward to obtain.
IT support for installing and maintaining the RIAPS or SCSL software could come from a university partner like UNC Freedom Lab, or I could maybe leverage my lowly position as an instructor at the UC Santa Cruz extension school to find someone on the main campus who would like to participate. Additionally, it might also be possible to get some funding through the CEC since they just announced shifting $100m in SGIP incentives to disadvantaged communities, or possibly through their EPIC program.
The only missing piece (and it is large) is a well financed, large company or organization, possibly Sunrun (and drop Cinammon Solar), PG&E or the local community choice aggregator, Silicon Valley Clean Energy to provide most of the 30% match. The downside is that, unfortunately, with the exception of Supreme Air, Acterra, and UC Santa Cruz I don't have any connections to any of these organizations, and especially not to Sunrun, PG&E or SVCE, so any proposal would be cold calling them. The large, well financed company would have to join LF Energy. On the downside, any proposal from an LF Energy organized consortium is likely to face stiff competition from the likes of Pecan Street in Austin, which has been doing this kind of thing for years. Fortunately, the RFP deadline is March next year so we have some time to line up partners and write a proposal.
It might help if we could involve a local cleantech accelerator like Prospect Silicon Valley. Prospect SV has three projects in building decarbonization, one is a $12m project to convert multifamily dwellings to net zero funded by DOE and CEC coordinated through Rocky Mountain Institute, another is $2.3m funded by the CEC on net zero supermarkets, and another is $2m funded by the CEC on analytics and recommendations to building owners about economical decarbonization. Unfortunately the Powerhouse in Oakland innovation lab shut down, I was consulting there for a couple years.
What do folks think about this idea?
Thanks, James. I have heard, they would really like to spread the grants out and not have so much here in California. I'd suggest that we look at other states….toggle quoted message Show quoted text
With that said - there is poor Sonoma County. We have been so battered by fires. Happy make the introductions to Sonoma Clean Power and Geoff Syphers if you all want.
l. shuli rose goodman phd.
executive director, LF Energy
a Linux Foundation Project
The future of energy is shared technology innovation: https://youtu.be/qEwWluBz6fA