But that could soon change. Cameron and many of her neighbors have signed onto a project called Brooklyn Microgrid, which is installing infrastructure to enable a small network of Park Slope buildings—and another cluster in neighboring Gowanus—to sever themselves from the larger grid. The microgrid would independently distribute locally sourced electricity without mediation from the utility.
In the short term Brooklyn Microgrid will operate as a backup option during storms, cyber attacks and other catastrophic disruptions. “The main driver for the project is resiliency in the face of grid events,” says Lawrence Orsini, the founder of LO3 Energy, a company that was started in 2012 and now funds the Brooklyn Microgrid project. “Keeping facilities that are critical for the health and well-being of the community up and running will be the focus at any stage of the development.” But in the long term the infrastructure that LO3 installs—and the corporate entities that it plans on establishing—could set participants on a path to fully owning the electricity their community generates, giving them a say in how to distribute it and possibly encouraging further investment in renewable energy sources.
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