We are supporting adult and student leadership on energy issues by facilitating partnerships, increasing energy literacy, and assisting with local energy initiatives.
The Spark! Fund is available to catalyze community-based energy projects with energy-saving and educational outcomes on Maine’s year-round islands and coastal communities by offering small grants between $250 and $2,000. These grants will support energy advocates in purchasing energy-saving equipment and services, sharing solutions with other communities, attending conferences and events, and much more. We look forward to helping spark new initiatives through this exciting funding opportunity.
Application and supporting documents:
- Spark Application Form (PDF) | Spark Application Form (Word document)
- Spark! Applicant Guidelines
- Spark Fund Trainings List
- Spark Educational Opportunities
- Sample Energy Efficiency Projects
- Spark Application Review Rubric
- Spark! Budget Form (Excel)
Maine island communities pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation, but local efforts are reversing this trend. The Island Institute is supporting Community Energy Action Teams (CEAT) on seven islands to address local energy challenges. Action Teams are intergenerational, including island residents of all ages. The teams are provided with educational materials and state-of-the-art tools to help them investigate local energy projects of their choice.
Community Energy Action Teams:
- Are comprised of both youth and adult members;
- Have 5+ members who are all residents of an unbridged year-round Maine island;
- Incorporate a robust educational component to their projects;
- Identify island buildings and systems where energy-saving opportunities exist;
- Use the CEAT toolkit to evaluate such opportunities, and identify specific projects;
- Collect benchmark data and post-project data to track energy conserved and emissions avoided;
- Learn how to share what they've learned with their broader communities.
Each team has access to written and video energy action guides to help inform their work. These guides contain information on how to achieve measurable reductions of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and ways for community energy groups to measure and document these reductions.
Teams also receive toolkits that enable them to perform such measurements. Toolkits include Kill-A-Watt meters, light meters, thermal leak detectors, and HOBO data loggers. Teams also have access to a blower door kit, infrared camera and Solar Pathfinder on loan.
The Island Institute provides training to familiarize Action Teams with their action guides and toolkits, and further support as Action Teams use those materials to identify energy action projects in their communities.
Meet Our Teams
The Eastern Casco Bay team is an inter-island CEAT which will include students and community members from Chebeague, Cliff and Long islands. The team will focus its efforts on understanding the basics of how energy is used and produced and use this knowledge to reduce energy use in the schools on each island.
The Islesboro CEAT’s project is motivated by the high cost of heating on the island and will focus on using the toolkit as a means of educating citizens on existing inefficiencies in homes. The team is comprised of a group of motivated high school students, educators, and community leaders. The Islesboro Central School and Islesboro Land Trust have both pledged to support their efforts.
The Monhegan CEAT plans to support a host of ongoing community energy projects but will begin with a focus on electricity use, particularly lighting. The team will partner with the Monhegan Island School to examine energy usage, with specific projects tailored to younger and older students such as a lighting investigation. It is comprised of educators, energy professionals, and community leaders.
Peaks Island’s CEAT is prioritizing community-wide education on energy efficiency, as well as cost-sharing programs to make retrofits more approachable to residents. The team includes educators and building professionals who plan to work with the island’s school, both to get students involved and also as a platform for educating citizens through projects performed at the school.
The Vinalhaven Energy Club has identified weatherization efforts as their priority, given the high cost of heating fuel on the island. They will use the toolkit to enhance existing weatherization efforts for individual homeowners and also plan to research the potential for lighting upgrades in community institutions such as the Union Church, Legion Hall, and Historical Society.
For more information, please contact:
Harry Podolsky, Community Energy Associate
Island Energy Conference
The Island Energy Conference brings together island leaders and energy experts to discuss common energy challenges and to learn more about resources that exist to address these challenges.
The seventh annual Island Energy Conference took place April 27-28, 2017 in South Portland, Maine. Find more information on the 2017 Island Energy Conference here.
To review session descriptions and view presentations from past years, please visit:
- 2015 Island Energy Conference
- 2014 Island Energy Conference
- 2013 Island Energy Conference
- 2012 Island Energy Conference
For more information about the Island Energy Conference, please contact:
Suzanne MacDonald, Community Energy Director
Through the Collaborative for Island Energy Research and Action (CIERA), a cohort of five island residents is participating in an intensive energy leadership program in partnership with the Island Institute and the College of the Atlantic. This unique opportunity is supporting project development and implementation to help transform our island energy futures.