2012 IEC participants on Vinalhaven

On November 2 and 3, 2012, the Island Institute hosted the third annual 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 2012 conference expanded to include new voices and new topics as well as a second day of hands-on trainings on Vinalhaven. The conference also highlighted the work of one Maine island to raise community awareness of and participation in energy-saving activities. The Vinalhaven Energy Club was chosen to receive the inaugural “Island Energy Innovation Award” for its growing commitment to community-based energy action on Vinalhaven and, in particular, for the group’s  efforts to increase home energy efficiency through developing a replicable model for weatherization work that will be implemented in a host of island communities during the winter of 2012-2013.

Through small group discussions and presentations from islanders and other energy professionals, the conference covered a range of topics, including:

  • Driving Change with Data
  • Innovation on Diesel Islands
  • Island Energy projects “From Away”
  • Incentives for Energy Savings
  • Efficient Island Transportation
  • Solar PV Incentives
  • Efficient Island Buildings
  • On the Horizon? – Updates on Offshore Wind
  • Preparing for your Island Energy Project

Panel Topics and Presentation Links

Driving Change with Data

Data is a powerful tool for those trying to change energy consumption in their homes, businesses and schools. Participants in this session discussed the benefits of collecting and presenting energy data to build support for energy projects in island communities. Presenters included: Chris Powicki, Cape and Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative; Hope Rowan, Island Institute/Energy for ME and Cyndi Veit, EPA Region 1. 

Innovation on Diesel Islands

Islands burning diesel to generate electricity face some of the highest energy costs in the country. This moderated roundtable discussion brought together energy leaders from some of these diesel-dependent islands to discuss their unique challenges and some of the innovative approaches that they are taking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and lower rates. Participants included: Chris Smith, Monhegan; Jack Farrell, Star Island; Paul Murray, Matinicus; Paul Elias, Naushon; Wayne Perrier, Cuttyhunk; Lawrence Mott, Sgurr Energy; and Ian Baring-Gould, National Renewable Energy Lab.

Island Energy Projects "From Away”

While their challenges may vary, New England island energy leaders can learn valuable lessons from their counterparts from other island communities, near and far. This session featured presentations about innovative island energy projects and collaborations in the U.S. and abroad. Presenters included: Adam Warren, U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Development on Island Nations (EDIN) initiative and Nicholas Gubbins, Community Energy Scotland. 

Incentives for Energy Savings

Weatherization and renewable energy can be the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs on islands. Participants in this session learned about incentive programs available in Maine and beyond to fund renewables and weatherization projects in the residential, small business and municipal sectors. Presenters included: Dana Fischer, Efficiency Maine; Beverly Stone, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Lewis Sirois, USDA; and Amanda Burke, USDA.

Click the links below to view the informational handouts from the USDA:

Efficient Island Transportation

As a major source of energy consumption for island communities, reducing costs and emissions from transportation represents a major challenge. Presentations for this session featured transportation solutions that islands are using to increase efficiency and reduce transportation costs for islanders. Presenters included: Paul Pimentel, Vineyard Power; Doug Read, Maine Maritime Academy/Penobscot East Resource Center; and Lynne Cayting, Maine Department of Environmental Protection. 

Solar PV Incentives

As the price of solar panels continues to drop, photovoltaic (PV) arrays are becoming an increasingly cost-effective and reliable source of renewable energy for island communities. Participants in this session learned about programs that are helping businesses and homeowners throughout the Northeast implement solar PV projects, as well as the unique technical and regulatory factors faced by some of the smaller islands. Presenters included: Mitch Tannenbaum, Maine Public Utilities Commission; Dana Fischer, Efficiency Maine; and Steve Hinchman, ReVision Energy. 

Efficient Island Buildings

Many islanders have already taken steps to tighten up their homes and community buildings and run more efficient systems. This session featured stories from those who have already reaped the rewards of energy efficiency projects. Presenters included: Karol Kucinski and Andy Dorr, Vinalhaven Energy Club; Sam Saltonstall, Peaks Environmental Action Team; and Jamie Broadbent, Kaplan Thompson Architects. 

On the Horizon? – Updates on Offshore Wind

As many East Coast states race to develop offshore wind projects, island communities are finding themselves in discussions with developers, regulators and researchers. This session focused on how islanders are engaging in this process and pursuing benefits for their communities and highlighted research by the Island Institute on models for local ownership and investment from around the world. Participants for this roundtable discussion included: Paul Pimentel, Vineyard Power; Chris Smith and Marian Chioffi, Monhegan; Kim Gaffett, Town of New Shoreham (Block Island); and Wayne Perrier, Nantucket. 

Preparing for your Island Energy Project

In the final session of the first day of the conference, experts in project development and grant writing shared tips and strategies for turning island energy projects from plans into progress. Presenters included: Julia Dundorf, New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) and Kathy Lane, Island Institute.

Learn more about the IEC and past conferences here