City Council Approves $1M for Resiliency Hubs
NEW ORLEANS – From Together New Orleans:
The New Orleans City Council approved $1 million in Wisner Funds to Together New Orleans for its Community Lighthouse project. It aims to create a network of resiliency hubs, called lighthouses, by providing commercial-scale solar power and back-up battery capacity to 100 congregations and community institutions.
“Just because we are without power lines, we need not be powerless. This new funding not only brings light to our neighbors when the electric lines are down, it is an investment in an inspiring, sustainable solution going forward,” said Pastor Shawn Moses Anglim, clergy leader of Together New Orleans. “We commend the Mayor and City Council for making this substantial investment in a new way of thinking– the Community Lighthouse pilot program. The speed in which the City is approving funding should help to ensure that we’re able to establish the first phase of lighthouses ahead of the 2023 hurricane season. We are more than grateful to be part of this first batch of approved Wisner Funds through a public process.”
During power outages, the lighthouses will immediately assess need and provide assistance to their surrounding communities. When the network is complete, every New Orleans resident will live within a 15-minute walk of a lighthouse, which will provide charging stations, food distribution, cooling and heating stations, oxygen exchange and light medical equipment, and more.
“I’m proud to support Together New Orleans and their Community Lighthouse project. Our City is on the forefront of the climate crisis, facing stronger storms, dangerous temperatures, and a disappearing coastline. These funds will help ensure that all New Orleans residents will have access to power near them going forward as we continue to make ourselves a more resilient and equitable community,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Beyond their role in neighborhood-level disaster response, the lighthouses represent a significant investment in clean, renewable energy as well as workforce development that includes project labor agreements to hire local workers at living wages for all stages of the process.
“This investment in community resiliency is so critical. We know that the climate is getting more treacherous, and that our community needs sustainable, renewable energy security for the future. I will continue to work with organizations like Community Lighthouse to empower our people and build a cleaner future for all,” said City Council President Helena Moreno.
The initiative will begin with a pilot phase that has identified 10 sites for lighthouses. Construction is expected to be complete in Spring 2023.
The Community Lighthouse project is being funded through public-private partnerships, philanthropic efforts, and equity funding from tax-credit investors, including from the City of New Orleans, the Department of Energy, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Direct Relief, and Episcopal Relief and Development, among others.