How to Power a City
How to Power a City
stories from the front lines of the clean energy revolution
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THe Story

How To Power A City is an independent documentary showing stories from the front lines of the clean energy revolution. From zeitgeist clean energy projects and early solar adopters, to investors trying to bolster local economies with clean energy, to environmental justice communities fighting to keep the lights on, How To Power A City showcases the people leading the way to our clean energy future. Set in the urban sprawls of New York City, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Detroit/Highland Park, and in communities throughout Puerto Rico (some living without power for months) How To Power A City is a behind-the-scenes exploration of everyday leadership and a look at how citizens are bringing clean energy into their communities. 

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Detroit and highland park

Residents of the city of Highland Park, located within Detroit's city limits, were left in the dark when the power company repossessed their streetlights as part of a settlement with the city over a $4 million overdue electric bill. The dark streets were compounded by a sense of utter disenfranchisement, and residents of Highland Park joined together to design and install solar-power streetlights and bring light back to their neighborhoods. Meanwhile, in surrounding Detroit, rebuilding and renovation are everywhere, and the city is enjoying a renaissance. Iconic, historical buildings are turning into high performers with solar and geothermal power, eco-districts flourish across the city, and residents add off-grid solar power in urban gardens.  


Atlantic City

On the sundrenched South Jersey coast lies a clean energy utopia, an industrial site that operates 24/7 and is 100% powered by wind and sun. Utilizing clean energy from a five-turbine wind farm to a giant solar carport, the Atlantic County Utility Authority is likely the world's only wastewater treatment plant powered by renewable energy. Tourists flock there, bringing their children to see it up close. Inspired by this success, a group of local fishermen decided to start their own wind farm. Fishermen's Energy was poised to become the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. — until Governor Chris Christie reneged on an agreement and blocked them from building it. New Jersey is one of the best locations on the Atlantic for offshore wind — with a new governor in 2018, will they fulfill this promise?


Las vegas

The City of Las Vegas became one of the first cities to sign onto a nationwide clean energy agreement. In December 2016, they became the first big city in the U.S. — and possibly the world — to use 100% renewable energy for city services. How did they achieve this milestone that is a goal for so many cities? Mayor Carolyn Goodman shares their motivations and the decade long journey, and a tour of two of NV Energy's power plants with acres of solar panels shows the payoff of a decade of commitment and investment.


Puerto Rico

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, it knocked down the power grid for the entire island — and revealed deep fissures in the utility system. The calamitous disaster put Puerto Rico in the world's eye as it struggles to rebuild an entire electric grid serving over 3.5 million people, and many are terrified as hurricane season approaches again. Will this small island, with a history of excessively high power costs, rebuild with solar? Can communities who have lived without electricity for months take charge of their own power supply? Combining the stories of longtime Puerto Rican environmental and solar power leaders, investors in solar, and humanitarian groups building off-grid solar generators — each trying to build a reliable, clean, and inclusive energy grid.


New York City

Can the biggest city in the U.S. run on100% renewable energy? New York is a nationally recognized leader in clean energy field — but how can a city of 8.5 million people provide all of its power from rooftops? As residents and city council members fight off dirty energy production in their neighborhoods, a variety of new clean energy options are becoming a reality for New Yorkers.


The Team


Melanie La Rosa



Toni De Aztlan                                                                           Andrés Otero




Benjamin Bode

Toni De Aztlan

Kyle I. Kelley

George Heckard

Kay Hannahan 


PJ Wilson

George Heckard

Toni De Aztlan 


Stephen Koss

Aaron Benally

Erich Rettermeyer

Hummingbird Sound


Leandro Fabrizi Ríos

Senetchut Floyd

Andrés Otero

Stephen Koss

Pablo Camacho

Alex Zielinski


Yasmin Mistry


Aaron Benally

Irene Mercado 

Anthony Parker
Nicholas Ostrander
Gabriel Rivera
Natasha Tamate Weiss

Irene Mercado





How To Power A City is an independent film relying on grants, donations, and product donations from like-minded supporters.

We deeply appreciate the support of everyone listed below for helping to get the film on screen.





Johanna Campos
Michael Allegretti & James Siqueira
Indra Arriaga
Olivia Ayes
Adam Aroian
Julian Paul Andrews
Karen Benezra
Eric Blood
Johnathan C Baer
Vanessa Boyce
Olivia Barr
Juergen Berkessel
Dino Benares
Kyle Kelley
Galina Karmaker
Brian Legg
Nicole LaRosa
Marcos Lanio
Domenica LaLima
Roena Lim
Mark & Laura La Rosa
Selena Ley
Victor Manibo
Susan Morrow
Lori Mark
Liane Montesa
Brad Masi
Andy Mascaro
Thomas A. Mascaro
David Muccioli
Tamora Petitt
Anthony Parker

Mary Bunao
Kat Croft
Dori Cohen
Rachel Clapp
Karen Chang
Thomas Chew
Linda Classon
Leslie Dela Vega
Erna Melanie DuPuis
Victoria Estevez
Yavuz Eren
Linda Fader
Jonathan Forsgren
Irasema Rivera
Edward V Rankus
Susan Wozny & Corinne Rosen
Allan Robles
Kathy Rushforth
Edwin Roberts
Gary Schwartz
Sara Schwartz
Gil Seltzer
Orly S
Emerson Soto
Katarina Spasic
Pamela Segger
Lisa Studier
Sam Shlomo Spaeth
Scott Seely
Zachary Timm
Shashwati Talukdar

Hannes Fehr
Christopher A  Fowler
Melody Fader
Linda Mascaro Gruber
Evan Graner
Mark Gillespie
Ben Greenberg
Rick Gottlieb
Thomas Hoffer
Katja Hirche
Rafael Infante
Denyse Ignacio
Max Joel
Michael Kuetemeyer
Christina Tzouras
Joshua Trinidad
Joanna Tou
Cherie Tay
Thu Trinh
Bjørn Talbot
Rosa Urmaza
Tony Valenzuela
Sissy Van Dyke
Enie Vaisburd
Angela Michaels Warr
Jen-Mei Wu
Sandra Watt
Richard Woodruff
Mike Whelan
Polly Ann Wilson
Sheila Yusay
Stan Yogi
Paul Ziek
Tina Zottoli