By Staff / Village Soup
The Island Institute held its eighth annual Island Energy Conference in South Portland May 4, bringing together energy experts and island leaders from Maine, New England, and around the world to discuss common energy challenges and solutions.
This year’s theme, “Resilient Together,” highlighted what islanders are doing to increase the resilience of their energy systems and communities in the face of an increasingly unpredictable world.
In his keynote address, Caribbean energy expert Martyn Forde, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, helped set the stage for the day by speaking about how communities build resiliency and the challenges they face as they work to rebuild more sustainably in the wake of these natural disasters.
An energy management consultant with the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Islands Energy Program, Forde is also the community leader of the CARILEC Renewable Energy Community, an online platform designed to enable Caribbean utility companies and energy professionals to share their knowledge on low-carbon technologies and steward organizational knowledge development through webinars, virtual working groups and workshops.
Another highlight of the conference was the presentation of the Island Energy Innovation Award to the community of Islesboro. The Midcoast island community was recognized with this year’s award for its across-the-board commitment to pursuing clean and efficient island energy systems.
Through the efforts of community groups and island organizations, residents and municipal leaders, this has included: weatherization and interior storm window insert services provided to dozens of homes; facility-wide LED lighting retrofits at Islesboro Central School and a small solar project that helps power the school greenhouse funded through grant applications written by the students; the creation of an ad-hoc energy committee by the town Select Board; and voter support for municipal solar that has resulted in a large photovoltaic array on the roof of the Town Office.