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 how very different places integrate wind, solar, and other forms of renewable power. It is a showcase of everyday leadership and looks at how all citizens can help bring clean energy into their communities.
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.
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?
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.
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.
We are actively fundraising! Documentary filmmaking requires travel, crew, and hours upon hours of editing. Your contribution supports production costs, animation, music, keeping the lights and computers humming, and helping the film reach its audience.
You can make tax-deductible contribution to support How To Power A City directly to my fiscal sponsor, Women Make Movies:
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You can also contribute to my IndieGogo campaign, which offers perks like tickets to screenings and downloads of the film when it is hot off the press.
FUNDING & SUPPORT
Funding for How To Power A City has been made possible by the Puffin Foundation and very generous Indiegogo supporters. This project is being completed with the support of the Women Make Movies Production Assistance Program