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Community Power: Keeping The Lights On During Times of Disaster

Mümtaz Derya Tarhan
The Community Power Report
November 14, 2012 

Natural disasters bring tradegy to communities. What they also do is reveal things that truly matters in a community; access to basic needs and togetherness. 

Unfortunately for most communities across the United States, centralized generation is what we rely on for our electricity. If our electricity is generated in some far away land and travels thousands of miles before it reaches our living rooms, hospitals and schools, a natural disaster such as Sandy can translate into a blackout. This is a serious blow on basic needs of communities, especially during times of crisis when social and healthcare services are needed the most. 

Community-based power generation means security. Reducing our communities’ dependence on electricity generated miles away, it secures the availability of electricity during times we need it the most. 

Community members forming a co-operative to generate their own electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass or hydropower; municipalities installing solar panels on public buildings; hospitals turning their healthcare units to self-sustaining power generators; or a partnership between all these actors mentioned. These can be solutions to blackouts during times of distress and enable communities to focus on what truly matters: taking care of each other.

Take this Bayonne, NJ school for example; a solar system on their roof helped keep the power on at Midtown Community School, ‘where 50 to 75 grateful residents of this historic Hudson Riverfront city spent the night sleeping on cots in the warm, dry and well-lighted community room’.

No time is better than now to recognize the security benefits community-based power generation brings; besides other economic, environmental, social and behavioural changes it unlocks. The benefits of Community Power are listed in this joint article by The Community Power Report and SolSolution

Mümtaz Derya Tarhan
The Community Power Report

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