John Hargrove is President and CEO of the Association of Energy Services Professionals.
At the recent AESP summer conference in Indianapolis, Jen Loomis of Research Into Action presented the case study of an effort to lay the foundation for an advanced energy community in a disadvantaged community in San Diego. In a follow up conversation, she explained the challenges and the goals.
The non-profit organization Ground-work San Diego-Chollas Creek received a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to make plans for transforming a disadvantaged community in Southern California into an advanced energy community. Groundwork San Diego spearheaded a multidisciplinary team, which included members from the University of California San Diego.
One of the challenges was getting the attention and participation of the customers in the area. The project team had compiled a survey for the community. But they had a really hard time getting people to answer the survey. So, they ended up having to go face-to-face, door-to-door. It's the most expensive way. But it's how they had to do it given the community's fear of scams and unclear immigration policies.
A second challenge was that a lot of these customers were already receiving discounted energy from San Diego Gas and Electric. That made it very hard to interest them in renewable and clean energy at a cheaper price than they were already paying.