While NextEnergy has been discussing this project for years, the CGI annual meeting demonstrated the willingness of key stakeholders to participate in such an initiative, and has inspired NextEnergy to move this project from an idea to real action and results.
It is significant that this project will be located within the cradle of the 20th Century carbon-rich industrial revolution and automotive technology hub, Detroit. One of the challenges in redeveloping distressed urban areas is attracting residents and businesses to move into these new developments and therefore, the capital required to bring re-development to fruition. People with the resources to choose where they want to live or locate their businesses have many options in a region - both the city and the suburbs - and it takes more than just new construction to attract them.
This initiative intends to capitalize on the excitement that would be created by an 'eco-village' of green development and state-of-the-art alternative energy technology to be an economic development anchor within a target urban redevelopment area. The project plans for a broad, mixed-use development of about one million square feet, and would include a technology park, residential, and commercial developments.
Drawing on both established and emerging technologies, NextEnergy will design a strategic energy plan for the project that makes best use of energy efficiency, alternative, and renewable energy technologies. New construction could include solar and wind power, biofuels, and trash-to-energy generators, energy-efficient building materials, hydrogen fuel cells, etc. Such technologies would be linked together into a microgrid to power the eco-village, feeding excess power back to the main utility grid. Vacant land and environmental brownfields will be used to grow biofuel feedstocks, creating a new kind of urban greenspace as it removes blight. The project would also include and encourage green transit and alternative fuel solutions for mass transit and vehicles.
Where possible, NextEnergy will capitalize on existing investments by federal agencies and others in emerging technologies, using this project to test and validate their use in the broader marketplace.
NextEnergy will work with key community leaders, real estate partners, technology developers, and others to identify an appropriate neighborhood, project and site for this initiative, and then will lead the collaborative effort to implement the strategic energy plan and see the project through.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
- Amount of greenhouse gases reduced or avoided - minimum 5,000 tons of CO2 annually
- Amount of clean energy generated - 10 million KWhrs
- Square footage of green building - one million square feet
- Real Estate, construction, and economic development partners committed to the vision.
- Support for deployment of prototypes and cutting-edge carbon-mitigation technology into an urban setting.
- Investment capital (for early stage, cutting edge, a