Damariscotta’s Vulnerable Downtown

BACKGROUND At the gateway of the Pemaquid peninsula in Lincoln County is the historic coastal village of Damariscotta. Overlooking a tidal river, Damariscotta, with a population of around 2,200, was once inhabited by Native Americans drawn to the area, like many are today, for its oysters. A famous shipbuilding port in the 1800s that connected… Read more »

Risks to Vinalhaven’s Waterfront Infrastructure

BACKGROUND About a dozen miles from Rockland is the island community of Vinalhaven. The largest island in Penobscot Bay, both in terms of land mass and the number of people, Vinalhaven is not connected to the mainland by any structure. Transportation to and from the island is offered daily by the Maine State Ferry Service… Read more »

Virtual Meeting Facilitation

Living and working remotely, while collaborating with distant partners, can make meeting in-person difficult to near impossible. Ultimately, it can slow the progress of work or limit the opportunity for that work to happen in the first place. The possibility of meeting virtually, either for everyone or for some members of a group, can help… Read more »

Outer Islands Teaching & Learning Collaborative

Isolated schools are vital, innovative, collaborative centers of teaching and learning that prepare students to thrive in the 21st century. The Outer Islands Teaching & Learning Collaborative, or TLC, is a 12-year-old, teacher-created and teacher-led group that provides a virtual community for the smallest island schools where students and teachers can access a rich and… Read more »

Boardman Cottage

Many elderly islanders eventually must move out of their homes and live with family or in an assisted living facility. If there is no such facility on their home island, they must move away from family, friends, and lifelong familiarity of their small island community. Residential care facilities already operate on Vinalhaven, Chebeague, and Islesboro,… Read more »

Bulk purchase of LED bulbs

Residents of Monhegan rely on diesel generators to produce electricity for their island. As a result, ratepayers on the island pay some of the highest electricity rates in the nation, at $0.70/kWh. Residents asked an Island Institute Fellow, Ben Algeo, to help them analyze and reduce their energy consumption. Ben followed the same process on… Read more »

Interior storm windows

HOW IT WORKS While it makes sense to pay a contractor to complete weatherization work like air sealing (and take advantage of the rebate), sealing and insulating leaky windows for the winter can be easily completed with inexpensive materials and a few friends. With a few basic tools (think: electric drill, saw) you can build… Read more »

Bulk purchase of heat pumps

  HOW IT WORKS Sam Saltonstall, a resident of Peaks Island in Casco Bay, Maine, had spent years trying to lower his own energy costs. #2 heating oil and propane are very costly on Peaks Island, making the winter heating season a financial hardship for many year-round residents. Sam organized a group of Peaks Island… Read more »

Fox Islands Wind

North Haven and Vinalhaven have been connected to the mainland via a submarine cable for decades, purchasing power from mainland utilities and distributing it through the Fox Islands Electric Co-op (FIEC). Despite being connected to the grid, distributing power and maintaining infrastructure on the island made electricity costs extremely high. Costs were also traditionally volatile,… Read more »

Student-led LED retrofit

High energy costs are a persistent issue across island and remote coastal communities, and addressing them presents multiple challenges. Finding funding and professionals willing to deliver energy services in these communities can be difficult. A crucial first step is bringing the community together in order to raise awareness of opportunities and increase demand for energy… Read more »