There many ways to save energy, generate it more cheaply, and use renewable sources. How I would do it is focus on adding much more insulation to my house, switching over to heating, cooling, and hot water heating with geothermal energy from below my house, and telecommuting rather than taking the commuter train. Many people should be doing similarly, and we would save a huge percentage of our energy.
Helping my neighbors do the same kind of things will help me as well, because then we will all be doing better and have more to share. The same thing applies to my town, state, nation, and the wh*** world. So, just as for food security, we all need to help each other build more local capability so that we will be more independent of external resources.
While community gardens are easy enough to get started, given some available land, it is quite another matter to build community-level energy generators. There are several issues, in addition to the requirement for land and expensive equipment. We would have to somehow share the resulting energy production, and long-term maintenance. Feeding excess energy back into the "smart grid" applies here as well, but this is not always permitted in a way that is shared by everyone in the neighborhood. Legal issues of ownership and liability are another concern.
How much do we need to share in any case? Assuming each house has its own facilities for generating some amount of power, say with solar cells on the roof, then it will probably not be quite enough to even meet all the needs of that house. Geothermal energy is also something that should be distributed around to each house. Something like a windmill could certainly be much larger, and there is a greater energy per dollar benefit when increasing the size, and so a neighborhood windmill might make sense.
But we could at least work together to help each other out in many other
ways. Lots of sharing of information can be facilitated - we all have lots to learn. When it comes time to take action, discounts often apply when larger quantities of materials are purchased, and contractors might give discounts for doing several jobs in the same neighborhood.
This same kind of sharing can happen at higher levels, and so I went investigating what was available on the internet, comparable to the community garden networks.
Here's what I found:
Smart Communities Network
Creating Energy Smart Communitieshttp://www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/municipal/intro.shtml
"More communities across the United States are recognizing the importance of adopting community-wide energy conservation programs."
Hot Spots -- Top Websites on Sustainable Community Development http://www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/hotspots.shtml
"These sites offer a host of useful information that can help your community with sustainable development efforts."
Other Community Energy Resourceshttp://www.smartcommunities.ncat.org/municipal/othtoc.shtml
International Network for Sustainable Energy
Community Energy Networkshttp://www.energysavingcommunity.co.uk/community-energy-networks.html
"Community energy networks provide a mutual self-help forum for all the groups in the local area involved in energy related projects"
"Green Communities is a programme from the Energy Saving Trust that aims to support, facilitate and promote community based energy projects. "
Global Energy Network for Community Sustainabilityhttp://www.globalenergynetwork.org/
"The Global Energy Network for Community Sustainability (GEN) is an emerging affiliation of organizations that collaborate on sustainable energy initiatives which contribute to the economic, social and environmental health of communities around the world."
Scotland Community Energy Networkhttp://www.communityland.org.uk/land/energy/147-community-energy-ne...
"Any community-based, non-profit distributing organisation can join the Community Energy Network for help and support."
Global Ecovillage Networkhttp://gen.ecovillage.org/about/index.html
"The Global Ecovillage Network is a global confederation of people and communities that meet and share their ideas, exchange technologies, develop cultural and educational exchanges, directories and newsletters, and are dedicated to restoring the land and living "sustainable plus" lives by putting more back into the environment than we take out."
Essentials of a Global Energy Networkhttp://www.1energyportal.net/CEBusiness/GlobalEnergyNetwork.html
Global Energy Network for Urban Settlements (GENUS)http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=631
"a dynamic partnership of institutions to promote collaboration among the public and private sectors, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, grassroots groups, national and international development agencies, working in the urban energy sector."
Global Energy Network and Information Systemhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/12866997/GENIS-Global-Energy-Network-and-...
Community Supported Energy Offers a Third Wayhttp://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2007/03/commun...
"Although we have the necessary resources and technology to meet most of our energy needs in the future with renewable energy, until fairly recently one key strategy has, for the most part, been overlooked in North America. This strategy involves the cooperative or collaborative installation and ownership of renewable energy projects at the local, community level."
What is Relocalization?http://www.relocalize.net/about/relocalization
"Relocalization is a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture."
Has a global list of groups: http://www.relocalize.net/groups
And a global map: http://www.relocalize.net/maps
But deactivating, and being "replaced" by http://www.transitionnetwork.org/
with its worldwide list of initiatives: http://www.transitionnetwork.org/initiatives
Center for Neighborhood Technology - Energyhttp://www.cnt.org/energy/
"CNT Energy (formerly known as the Community Energy Cooperative) was created to explore new ways to measure energy usage and to assist individual consumers and concerned communities in achieving sustainable, affordable energy solutions"
Sustainable Communities Network - Energyhttp://www.sustainable.org/naturalresources/energy.html
Open Green Maphttp://www.greenmap.org/
"Green Map System promotes inclusive participation in sustainable development, engaging hundreds of communities in 55 countries in mapmaking since 1995. Get involved and support this global movement!"
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainabilityhttp://www.iclei.org/
"is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development."
The SD Gateway http://sdgateway.net/
"integrates the on-line information developed by members of the
Sustainable Development Communications Network"http://www.sdcn.org/
"an [international] group of leading civil society organizations seeking to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development through broader, integrated information and communications about what we know."
Agenda 21 - http://catroncountynews.com/Advanced%20Agenda%2021%20Researchers.html
Great list of resources, but they have this anti-sustainability agenda that is just nonsense.
Hands On Networkhttp://www.handsonnetwork.org/impact/environment
"Reduce the carbon footprint though neighborhood-based conservation and restoration projects"