Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced that the Island Institute has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to address high energy costs, reliability, and infrastructure challenges faced by island communities. The Island Institute is one of just five community-based partners from across the country participating in the Energy Transitions Initiative (ETI) Partnership Program. The partnership was made possible due to the $3 million that was included for the ETI in the FY20 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. Senator Collins authored this provision as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
“Maine’s islands are special places that have often been inhabited by members of the same families for generations,” said Senator Collins. “One of the persistent challenges these communities face, however, is maintaining affordable, reliable access to electricity. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I strongly pushed for the funding to support islands with developing innovative energy solutions for residents. This partnership will harness the Island Institute’s in-depth knowledge of Maine’s coastal communities and the Department of Energy’s expertise to help provide low-cost power.”
The ETI Program will assist the Island Institute with developing cost-effective, resilient energy infrastructure for island communities. In addition, it will allow ETI to pursue energy transition efforts that address energy challenges, build capacity, accelerate the sharing of best practices and innovation between regions, and leverage local expertise into commercial opportunity.
Since 1983, the Island Institute has worked proactively and collaboratively to help 120 island and coastal communities in Maine to tackle the most pressing environmental and socio-economic issues they face.
Senator Collins is a champion of Maine’s island and coastal communities. Last month, she announced that the Isle au Haut received more than $200,000 to install a solar power array, enabling the island to receive 100 percent of electricity from clean, renewable solar power.