Video: How Bainbridge Island Cut Peak Power Consumption 10 MW

The 23,000 citizens of Bainbridge Island in Washington State are showing how a combination of transparent price signals, online social networking and old fashioned community organizing can make a big difference in reducing energy consumption.

Located in Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island has been a major energy hog — with residents consuming 60% more electricity than the regional utility’s average customer due a large chunk of building stock not being up to modern energy codes.

Residents were offered a choice by the utility: pay for a new substation to support increasing energy demand, or reduce energy consumption. The island chose the latter — and in the process is helping train new workers, save residents money, and illustrate the power of collective action.

Helped by a grant from the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program — an initiative created through the stimulus package — island residents have created an online community network for monitoring energy use. In the first winter since the RePower Bainbridge project was rolled out, peak power consumption dropped by 10 megawatts. Over the next few years, the program will also facilitate efficiency upgrades for 4,000 houses and 150 businesses, while training around 65 people.

Watch the video below, produced by Climate Solutions, to see the local action that’s driving change in Bainbridge. You can also check out the Climate Solutions website for more great Solutions Stories.


RePower Bainbridge from Climate Solutions on Vimeo.

4 Responses to Video: How Bainbridge Island Cut Peak Power Consumption 10 MW

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Good to see some light in the pile of the grim news..

  2. Matt says:

    I think this is great, but I must point out something I found humorous on the video: The shots of people together in the village coffee shop showed EVERYONE wearing coats indoors. That may be Pacific NW style, but it may be telling, too. We’re not going to continue our happy motoring, 70 degree houses way-of-life AND increase efficiency and decrease GG emissions.

  3. Chris Winter says:

    I think that Steven K. Roberts (aka the High Tech Nomad) lives on Bainbridge Island. If so, he’s likely involved in this.

    (I know he settled in the San Juans somewhere.)

  4. WVhybrid says:

    It is great they saved themselves an investment in peak power capacity. But one question, did most of the reduction in peak come from load shifting to lower load conditions, or did it go from reduced total usage?