Below is the text version for the video, Technical Assistance: Community-Centered Design. In this video, Molly Grear (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Paty Romero-Lankao (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) discuss community-centered design practices and participatory approaches to identify appropriate solutions as part of the technical assistance offered through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP).

Text Verison

[Music plays, title screen shows “Energy Transitions Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy: Partnership Project, Technical Assistance”]

[Woman wearing red shirt and blue sweater starts speaking]

Hi, my name is Molly Grear. I’m an environmental engineer based in Sitka, Alaska, working for the Pacific Northwest National Lab.

Under the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project, or ETIPP, national lab scientists can provide technical assistance to communities interested in energy transitions. Community-centered design practices can help your community achieve energy resilience through choosing specific energy sources, deciding between multiple types of energy-generating devices, through siting the device, or exploring stakeholder concerns.

As you apply to ETIPP, you may have a sense of what your community needs but lack capacity to engage in a participatory process or need assistance in connecting those community needs to different technologies or different designs.

Most of my experience is in marine renewable energy technologies, such as wave and tidal energy. Since these technologies are still in earlier development phases than more common sources of renewable energy, like solar or wind, there are many opportunities for community-centered design.

Both wave and tidal energy devices take a variety of formats. Tidal turbines, which often look like wind turbines underwater, can have two blades or they can have 10.

[Graphic showing various wave and tidal energy devices]

They can have a shroud around the outside or be open, and they can be designed to be placed at many different locations in the water column. By understanding your community’s specific needs, such as traditional fishing areas or vessel traffic, these devices can be designed to meet your community’s needs.

[Video returns to woman speaking]

On a current community-centered design project, I am beginning to evaluate the energy needs at Alaskan hatcheries to understand if tidal energy could meet those needs. In these scenarios, there are very specific environmental concerns that need to be addressed so that the energy production does not impact the fishery. In these remote locations, simple designs are also needed to ensure that the device can be maintained and operated by hatchery employees. 

[Aerial image of an Alaskan hatchery]

By working with stakeholders and understanding their specific needs or concerns, better design can be accomplished.

[Video returns to woman speaking]

While we gave you some specific examples here, community-centered design practices can of course be applied to any other renewable energy technology or other renewable energy process, so we look forward to working with you and hope that we can find the right energy resilience solution for your community.

[Woman with dark curly hair sitting in front of a bookcase speaking]

Hi, good morning, my name is Paty Romero-Lankao, I am an environmental sociologist working at the National Renewable Energy Lab and the University of Chicago.

[Image of woman presenting to a group]

I have done work with communities of cities in the U.S., in Latin America, China and India, helping them using participatory approaches to understand what vulnerabilities they have, what role lacking education, lacking access to government support or to social networks play in helping them build resiliency to heat waves, floods, and other hazards.

[Video returns to woman speaking]

Most recently we have been working with city actors to help them understand the different mobility needs of populations and how electrification or the use of electric vehicles can help address these needs. This includes the needs of people with pre-existing conditions, the needs of the elderly, also the needs of people in rural areas. So we are trying to come together with this understanding of needs and of how to tailor electrification solutions to address these needs. I am also very excited to be part of this proposal, thank you.

[Music plays, title screen with “Energy Transitions Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy – Partnership Project | Technical Assistance, Office of Strategic Programs| Solar Energy Technologies Office| Water Power Technologies Office | Office of Electricity]