Matthew Baron / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Deer-Isle Bridge connects Deer Isle to Sedgwick along Maine’s rural coast.

Expanding Access to Clean Energy Financing in Remote and High Energy Cost Communities

Islands and other rural communities throughout the United States pay some of the highest costs for electricity and heating fuel. With such high energy costs, the financial benefits of energy efficiency can be significant, but if you live in one of these rural places it can be difficult to find financing for energy upgrades or a contractor who will work in your area. We call these financial and logistical barriers the “rural energy efficiency gap.”

The Island Institute is working to bridge this gap, partnering with the Maine Governor’s Energy Office and a team of experts from other rural states. The Bridging the Rural Efficiency Gap project is designed to make it easier for residents of rural communities in oil-dependent states like Maine, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Vermont to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and lower their energy bills with the support of well-designed financing programs that work in rural places.

Project Partners

We are excited to be working with a great team of experts in rural energy efficiency from around the country including:

How to Get Involved

Are you interested in making energy efficiency more accessible to rural communities? Contact Brooks Winner, Community Energy Manager at the Island Institute, at, or 207-594-9209 x 148, for more information or to learn more about how to participate in the Bridging the Rural Efficiency Gap project.

Informational Materials

  • Learn more about the models for collective purchasing of energy efficiency helping islanders save on weatherization, air source heat pumps, LED lighting, and more in our What Works Solutions Library.
  • Check out the Energizing Maine Communitieguide for more information about how to support community-based energy efficiency work.
  • Efficiency Maine’s Collective Purchase Toolkit was created help locally based collective purchase initiatives get started.


An insulation trailer unloads from a barge during a Weatherization Week on Monhegan Island, Maine


The Bridging the Rural Efficiency Gap project is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program Competitive Award.


*Photo credits: Photo of Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge taken by Matthew Baron, used courtesy of Creative Commons.