US DOE Secretary Joins Together LA for Lighthouse Launch

Sec. Granholm: Community Lighthouse Resilience Hub is "testament to the power of grassroots organizations"

Together Louisiana-IAF was joined by US Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at a celebration marking the launch of their seventh and largest Community Lighthouse Project at New Wine Christian Fellowship in LaPlace, Louisiana. 

The launch follows on the heels of a $249 Million federal investment in Louisiana to strengthen grid resilience, announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The funding will be matched by $249 Million in locally raised funding.

Louisiana's award was the third-largest among those announced by the DOE, out of fifty-eight projects that won federal support.  Louisiana's proposal includes a major expansion of Together Louisiana’s Community Lighthouse strategy, to build solar and storage resilience hubs in every neighborhood, which provide critical services to residents during disasters and extended power outages.

As the newest Community Lighthouse, New Wine Christian Fellowship is now equipped with solar panels and battery backup so that it can provide enough power during outages for neighbors, should they need to recharge phones, get relief from the heat, and access essential medical supplies. 

The event included a tour of the facility led by Together Louisiana leaders, a ribbon cutting and workshops focusing on energy and climate change.  Together Louisiana's Community Lighthouse Project has been installing solar power with battery storage systems at centralized locations like congregations, health clinics and community centers in marginalized neighborhoods across the state. 

Said Secretary Granholm, "We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of the seventh Community Lighthouse in Louisiana. This project is a testament to the power of grassroots organizations and their commitment to creating resilient and sustainable communities."

[Photo Credit: Andrew Alwert]

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“For [Hurricane] Ida we were ready with showers, mattresses, shelter and food, but once again the electricity was out so we couldn’t serve our community,” said Antoine Barriere, a 61-year-old pastor [and Together Louisiana leader]. “The power was the missing piece.

“We realised that we had to stop waiting for a fix and do it ourselves. We need to get off the grid and be self-sufficient, as with climate change we’re going to get more disasters.”

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