Island Energy Conference participants on Star Island
November 10, 2015

To Find Energy Solutions, Maine's Small Islands Look to Peers in Other States

And at the Island Institute's annual energy conference last week, participants also heard from their counterparts from as far away as Alaska, who are generating electricity using hydrokinetic river power. "We've looked at some wind power, some solar thermal and have made the most progress with hydrokinetic power," says AlexAnna Salmon, the council president of Igiugig, Alaska, a small, remote village accessible only by air.
Ben Algeo and Suzanne MacDonald unload boxes of LEDs
November 8, 2015

In Maine’s remotest island community, changing the lightbulb has far-reaching implications

The Island Institute runs programs to support sustainability on Maine’s 14 year-round, offshore communities. Changing out power-hungry bulbs on Monhegan and Matinicus is a first step to reduce dependence on diesel and help make island living more affordable. The 2,326 LEDs sent this year to Monhegan are expected to save utility customers a total of $15,000 a year. The 600 bulbs now on Matinicus could cut bills by a toal of $5,000. A second shipment planned for this winter of 400 bulbs could trim another $3,000 for the island.
Oysters at Basket Island Oyster Company
October 30, 2015

Maine isn’t doing enough to protect Gulf from effects of climate change

By Colin Woodard / Portland Press Herald At a local level, scientists believe there are ways to mitigate the effects of one aspect of a warming gulf, ocean acidification. Eelgrasses and kelps take up dissolved carbon dioxide at a remarkable rate – with almost triple the effectiveness of a similar acreage of forest – and consumes excess nutrients, the two primary drivers of acidification. In doing so, they reduce the acidity of the surrounding seawater, to the benefit of clams, mussels and other creatures living nearby.
Mike Devin
October 29, 2015

Ocean acidification threatens future of aquaculture, shellfish industries

The world’s oceans are turning more acidic. Since the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have grown by more than 70 percent and now stand at the highest level in at least 800,000 years. As the oceans absorb additional CO2, they’ve become 30 percent more acidic over this period.  The Gulf of Maine is particularly vulnerable because its colder water more readily absorbs carbon dioxide and because the increasing frequency of major snow and rain events flood the gulf with more acidic river runoff. 
August 29, 2015

Sphaera: Helping change makers do more, faster

Everyday around the world, people are coming up with new ways to tackle the greatest social and environmental challenges of our lifetime. Whether we’re focused on solving problems across time zones or in our own backyards, when we can learn from our collective successes and failures we are better, faster, and more effective at finding solutions. Sharing our knowledge allows others to challenge, refine, and adapt it to best meet their needs, perpetuating a ripple effect of positive change.
Phil Whitney
July 27, 2015

Islands in the mainstream: Affordable housing key to sustainable island populations

By Laurie Schreiber / Mainebiz An influx of new families on Great Cranberry Island promises hope for a sustainable year-round community. Their move here was made possible by the development of affordable housing in a real estate market that is otherwise outpriced for moderate incomes. Great Cranberry is one of seven islands that shared a 2010 allotment of $2.7 million earmarked by the state for affordable, energy-efficient new construction, renovation and replacement housing.
July 24, 2015

Beer brewer located 10 miles out to sea adds to line

Monhegan Brewing Company and the Island Institute announced Wednesday the release of the new island-themed beer, a “summer blonde” brew named 15, after the 15 year-round island communities on the Maine coast. Artwork for the beer label was provided by Monhegan artist Donna Cundy. The Island Institute will receive $1 for every bottle of 15 sold. Monhegan Brewing co-owner Mary Weber said that they support the work of the Island Institute, which helped Monhegan Brewing at its start by providing some capital funding through a loan.
July 7, 2015

A big shift is coming to the Maine lobster population — and it could devastate the local economy

Fishermen used to go out at 5 a.m. and come home at 3 p.m. But now, Susie Arnold, a researcher at the Island Institute who works with local communities, says that fisherman are beginning to buy larger boats to make longer, even overnight, trips to where the lobsters now live. And while government climate reports recognize moving lobster fisheries as a potential issue, Maine doesn't have any solutions in place to help the fisherman.
May 29, 2015

It’s time LePage released bonds Maine’s working waterfronts depend on

In 2010 and 2012, Maine voters approved $14.25 million in bonds to support multiple conservation priorities, including the privilege of fishing communities to pass on critical working waterfront access sites to the next generation of commercial fishermen.
May 19, 2015

WINDExchange Summit Participants Learn More about Wind Industry’s Status, Successes, and Challenges

The U.S. Department of Energy's WINDExchange Summit in Orlando on May 18 provided an opportunity for the audience to learn more about the current status of the wind energy industry. The audience included members of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), national lab representatives, Regional Resource Centers, state energy officials, and professional and institutional partners.