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Delmarva and The Warehouse launch clean energy initiative

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NEWARK – The Warehouse and Delmarva Power have announced the launch of Energize The Warehouse, a collaborative initiative between several organizations to help The Warehouse become a place for local teens to learn about clean energy, electric transportation, sustainable farming and agriculture. The initiative’s start was marked with the arrival of an agricultural pod (Ag Pod)—a sustainable indoor vertical growing environment for produce that allows communities to grow food year-round.

Personnel use a crane to unload the Ag Pod and install it at The Warehouse, where it will provide a hands-on learning opportunity for local teens. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DELMARVA POWER

In addition to the Ag Pod, the initiative is helping fund, build and operate several new projects over the next year and is supporting the development of vocational and educational opportunities alongside each technology. ​Future Energize The Warehouse projects include a vehicle-to-grid bus that replaces the facility’s older diesel school bus with an all-electric, zero emissions bus, providing a cleaner transportation option and making it easier for community members to access The Warehouse, Kingswood Community Center and REACH Riverside. Another project will involve installation of solar panels and a battery storage system to provide clean solar energy and help The Warehouse save money on energy costs.

“Our teens will be excited to experience hands on learning in industries they typically may not have had the opportunity to explore for career options. The Ag Pod is just the beginning to unique pathways brought directly to them for full exposure and exploration,” said Melody Phillips, director of Operations for The Warehouse said in a statement.

The new Ag Pod arrives at The Warehouse in Wilmington. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DELMARVA POWER

“We are committed to working with our community partners to take on shared challenges and opportunities related to climate change, economic development, and improved quality of life,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president in a statement. “Energize The Warehouse shows how we can work side-by-side with our community partners to use new technology as both a solution to the challenges our local communities face and as an educational opportunity to help local students start on a path to becoming the next generation of energy leaders.”

With the support of the Electric Power Research Institute, the Ag Pod was built within a shipping container to provide a space where communities can grow and harvest local vegetables and maintain sustainable food operations year-round in any climate. The Ag Pod will be managed and operated by teens from The Warehouse and supported by Second Chances Farm. The Ag Pod is capable of growing produce including arugula, kale, radishes, swiss chard and a variety of lettuces and other greens.

This project will help demonstrate how Ag Pods can serve as a much-needed resource in communities where it is hard to access fresh food. Ag Pods help eliminate food deserts—areas where residents’ access to affordable healthy food options (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent. Plans for the produce from the Ag Pod include donating fully grown, vegetables to local grocers, selling the vegetables at nearby farmers markets, and using the vegetables for cooking demonstrations at The Warehouse.

Delmarva Power is helping fund, energize and operate the Ag Pod and other Energize The Warehouse projects as part of its efforts to work with organizations in Wilmington to demonstrate how new technologies and services can improve quality of life in the community. Last year, the company helped the City of Wilmington enhance the lives of community members through ConnectWilmington, a smart city initiative to explore options to modernize the community with new LED street lights and smart city technology.

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