Department of Energy Boosts Island Renewable Energy Efforts 

REAP Staff: Anchorage, Alaska – The Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) based in Anchorage, Alaska and the Island Institute, located in Rockland, Maine, are pleased to announce they been chosen to receive a three-year competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to launch the Islanded Grid Wind Regional Resource Center.  This self-sustaining knowledge center will connect islanded communities across the United States and U.S. Territories to inform local decision-making around the operation of wind, wind-diesel hybrid systems and other hybrid electric generation systems.  Participating communities are located in Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, American Samoa and other remote communities in U.S. territories.

One of just six new Centers administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Islanded Grid Center will connect communities through in-person meetings, webinars, online and print publications, and other methods designed to bring up-to-date, unbiased information to key decision makers and the general public. Access to resources on topics such as wind system technology, permitting, financing, project operations and management, and effective community outreach will help small, geographically isolated and islanded communities better meet the challenges of sparse funding and the limited ability to test and develop new technology on their own.

Chris Rose, REAP’s executive director, noted that America’s remote and island communities and grids face many technical and non-technical challenges to implementing new and more affordable energy systems, and few have places to turn to for assistance.  “The Islanded Grid Center will serve as a key resource for islanded communities to share information and network on a variety of issues associated with adding wind into an isolated diesel electric grid.  The technical innovations made by these islanded grids can facilitate research in areas such as energy storage and grid integration that can benefit microgrids not only in the targeted communities, but across the country and the world.”

Suzanne MacDonald, the community energy director at the Island Institute is also optimistic about the opportunities for the Islanded Grid Center to help build new partnerships and lead renewable energy efforts around the country.  “These DoE grants mark the first time that this type work has been funded on a regional basis and we’re excited to be able to build on our community outreach and education experiences to inform a much broader effort to integrate wind energy into islanded grids across North America.”

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The Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) is a statewide non-profit education and advocacy coalition comprised of over 80 energy stakeholder organizations focused on increasing the development of renewable energy and promoting energy efficiency in Alaska. Learn more about REAP here.

The Island Institute works to sustain Maine’s island and remote coastal communities, and exchanges ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere. We envision that Maine’s year-round island communities will thrive and lead as examples of sustainability. Learn more about the Island Institute here

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