Blake Evans, The Daily Californian
In response to last week’s PG&E safety blackouts, campus adjunct professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and director in the California Institute for Energy and Environment’s Electric Grid program area, Alexandra von Meier, said transitioning to neighborhood-sourced power would create a more reliable electric grid.
The EcoBlock project would develop stand-alone microgrids of electrical generation and storage to be shared on a city block level, according to Berkeley News. The EcoBlock project is primarily funded by the California Energy Commission and aims to show the benefits of using economies of scale to produce environmentally friendly infrastructure. Von Meier serves as a principal investigator for the project, which develops a microgrid that can provide power during blackouts such as the PG&E outage.
The EcoBlock project is expected to take four years, beginning in September 2019 and concluding in August 2023, according to the EcoBlock website. In the first year, the EcoBlock project will recruit participants and conduct water and energy reviews of buildings. In the second year, construction designs will be developed and permits will be obtained.
The following year, microgrids will be installed and energy improvements will be conducted. Finally, the EcoBlock project will be reviewed and a guidebook will be created to develop other EcoBlocks.