eLab: Forge Teams

DERs for Community Resiliency

DERs for Community Resiliency

Installing renewable back-up power systems in Austin emergency shelters

Champion: Austin Energy


This team, led by Austin Energy, will work to equip disaster relief centers in Austin with a back-up source of power through solar-plus-storage technologies while identifying opportunities to provide ongoing market value outside of emergencies. This team will also discuss plans to engage and communicate with communities about the facilities and assess the design and operational considerations required for long-term scalability and implementation.

Project Objective

Develop a model for resilience hubs in new and existing community centers to provide community support in the face of public service outages, particularly electricity and water. This formula could then be applied throughout Austin at city-owned park and rec centers as well as other public support facilities. The scaling strategy would begin with initial deployment in vulnerable neighborhoods most likely to be impacted by extreme events such as flooding and wildfires. The team’s goal is to produce an outline for the community engagement needed to make this a reality.


Becky Li, RMI Senior Associate, Electricity

Team Members
  • Kurt Stogdill, Green Building and Sustainability Manager, Austin Energy
  • Marc Coudert, Environmental Conservation Program Manager, City of Austin
  • Juan Ortiz, Director of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, City of Austin
  • Jim Clark, Environmental Engineer, Parks and Recreation Department, City of Austin
Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

Austin Energy is already in the process of studying operational models for solar-plus-storage through the SHINEs project, with the goal of identifying ways to provide market value from the system. A new initiative in the city’s Climate Resilience Action Plan seeks to provide redundant power to resiliency centers in the community and includes a list of proposed community centers.

Project Background Information

Climate Resilience Action Plan for City Assets and Operations: this report outlines climate impacts facing the City of Austin and ways to increase resilience.