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ENERGIZE AMERICA: Continuity of Community Services Act

March 9th, 2007 · No Comments

The Daily Kos Energize America team is now working under a serious deadline. We are working together, with the entire community to develop a set of potential items for Congressional action at the direct request of a senior member of Congress.

We have a DEADLINE — COB Wednesday for a package …

This diary lays out a concept for a new Federal Government grant program, from within the Department of Homeland Security, for renewable energy programs within every single Congressional District in the nation focusing on continuity of power in the face of natural or man-made disasters.

Energize America bumpersticker?

This is the Second draft of The Continuity of Community Services Act

The Continuity of Community Services Act Fostering resilient communities services when disaster strikes Objective

To provide communities across the United States with essential power and communication services for continuity of critical local operations amid natural and/or man-made disasters.

Description The Continuity of Community Services Act (CCSA) of 2007 will provide $100M per year for projects in every state, Congressional District and territory. Projects shall include both renewable energy and energy-efficiency systems for emergency shelter-designated sites. The CCSA will provide grants to local communities for installing renewable energy systems, storage backup, and energy efficient critical systems (lighting, refrigeration, computing, communications) in local shelters and emergency management facilities to ensure minimum continuity of operations in the face of a natural or man-made disasters.

The CCSA will provide:

  • $200,000 per year per Congressional District (including non-voting members) for no less than two qualifying projects,
  • $200,000 per year for every State and Territory for no less than two qualifying projects, * $1,500,000 per year for Tribal Grants,
  • $5,000,000 per year for areas designated high risk by the Department of Homeland Security,
  • $5,000,000 per year eligible for areas that suffered extended (three or more days) periods of grid-power disruption within the previous decade.

The state funding will be distributed to qualifying projects by Congressional District. As long as there are qualifying programs, every Congressional District will receive at least one grant of no less than $50,000 per year.

Each State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will run the grant review process according to national standards for judging grant proposals. Additional funds for high-risk and extended disruption communities will be administered by FEMA and the relevant SEMAs.

The Tribal Grants will be administered by DHS, with direct support from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

In total, the program will allocate $100 million per year for community grants.

To be eligible for grants, programs will:

  • Invest at least fifty percent (50%) of funds in renewable energy generation and power storage/management for providing continuity of power even in the face of grid disruptions,
  • Provide for energy-efficient systems necessary for supporting displaced citizens, such as lighting, communications, computing, basic refrigeration, and water pumping,
  • Include facilities that serve as emergency shelters in the community,
  • In non-emergency periods, where applicable, provide excess capacity (power generation, etc), , to the local community.

The Department of Homeland Security will establish an office for working with state and local communities for structuring projects relevant for each region. The DHS, with support from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), will develop grant standards and requirements. DHS will report to Congress on 10 January and 10 July each year on the progress of the program, with a full listing of all grant activity. The DHS will establish an outside advisory council for this program of emergency services and energy systems specialists. In addition, the DHS will hire a renewable energy/energy efficiency firm to conduct lessons identified analysis of program successes/failures. Their reports will be provided to the Congress, with comments, no later than two months after report delivery to DHS.


The CCSA will

  1. Enable local communities to ensure continuity of basic operations for emergency shelters, even in the face of disruptions not just to the electrical grid but also fuel supplies for emergency generators,
  2. Foster a more resilient power systems and communities in the face of either man-made or natural disaster,
  3. Create new jobs through increased economic activity,
  4. Increase awareness of renewable energy and energy efficiency capabilities and benefits at the local and state levels to meet both public and private requirements,
  5. Spur the development of public and private sector expertise and capabilities in renewable energy for design, construction, installation, and maintenance of these systems.


The Federal Government will invest $100 million dollars per year to provide communities with essential power for communications and community services amid natural and man-made disasters.

Key Messages

  1. Protects Americans facing manmade or natural disasters.
  2. Improves US resiliency and Homeland Security in the face of natural or manmade disasters.
  3. Strengthens local government infrastructure. 4. Reduces local-government energy costs. 
  4. Builds grassroots knowledge about and support for energy efficiency and renewable energy.


A local school is designated as a shelter. $100,000 grant that will pay for:

  • 6.5 kilowatt solar PV, small windmill, Power management system (roughly $50-55,000) (Average across the year, the solar system would provide about 30 kilowatt hours of electricity plus the wind power generation. )
  • Solar hot water system feeding into school hot water system ($15k)
  • LED lighting in several offices, hallways, cafeteria, auditorium (only some reading level quality): $5000
  • high-wind survivable satellite dish for internet connectivity
  • Two high-efficiency refrigerators for cafeteria (for medicines, milk for children, …)

This school-focused project would both provide renewable power (wind, solar electric, solar hot water) and saved energy (LED lights, good power management, etc …) throughout the year, even if there weren’t a disaster. While, having for the emergency services in the shelter, basic power in the event of a disaster:

  • lighting,
  • computing
  • refrigeration (medicines!!! some food)
  • computing and communications
  • a few TVs

Consider this: what if, in the face of Katrina, there had been 100 schools/emergency facilities with something like this?


1. Why energy efficient appliances/such?

Using energy efficient devices lowers the requirement for power and thus lowers the cost (brute force) required for powering them. 1 kw is easier to guarantee than 10, 10 easier than 100 …

2. Why distributed power?

Because they are not dependent on the grid which does get shut down. We have blackouts that cover large regions, snowstorms, hurricanes … Katrina being a strong example. And, we have had cases where there was not fuel available for generators in emergency situations / extended disruption periods.

3. Are renewable energy systems reliable?

Packaged correctly, renewable power systems can be structured to provide a minimum amount of near guaranteed power. A solar pv system will average roughly 4.5 times its rating in kilowatt hours per day — winter less, summer more. And, even on most cloudy days, it will produce something. Married up with a second renewable power system, then we are starting to have something. And, well, the right answer might be to spend a few $thousands to have a back-up propane generator to partner up with a renewable power system so as, let’s say, have an absolute assurance of some minimum kwh for a 72 hour period (with then the renewable providing continued continuity operations at a lower level). Re efficiency, again, this helps stretch the battery bank further through times when sun isn’t shine, wind isn’t blowing, propane tanks are running dry. 

Energy Smart?


THIS APPEARED HERE and had 45 comments with thoughts/suggestions to improve this draft legislation.

While all fault is mine, thanks for many members of the EA2020 team for working to improve this. Help with comments to this draft. And, help with comments to the diaries by other EA2020 team members in the coming days.

Expect to see discussions re Net Metering, Home Effiency, wind power with renewable fuels (and fertilizer) and Neighborhood Power Act in the coming days. * And, well of course,


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Tags: Energize America · Energy · Solar Energy