Monhegan Receives $420,000 Grant to Help Reduce Energy Costs
Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced today that the Monhegan Plantation Power District has received a competitive grant award of $420,154 from the USDA's High Energy Cost Grant Program. The funds will be used to replace the current switchgear, add a smaller, 40 kW generator to the power station's fleet, and add a 13 kW solar array to the power station's roof.
“This grant is a game-changer for our year-round island community, which has faced extremely high energy costs since the cost of diesel skyrocketed in 2008,” said Chris Smith, operations manager for the Monhegan Plantation Power District. “We are grateful for the support of the USDA, Congresswoman Pingree and the Island Institute in helping us take this giant step towards a more affordable, efficient and sustainable power system.”
The Island Institute provided support to the Monhegan Plantation Power District as the grant proposal was developed, and president-elect Rob Snyder said, "Energy is the highest cost import to island communities and to Monhegan specifically. These USDA funds are critical to ensuring reliable and affordable energy for Monhegan and are critical to the future sustainability of this island community."
“Year-round island living can be expensive and challenging, but island communities are a key part of Maine’s working coastal economy,”added Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “The electric rates on Monhegan have consistently been in the top 20 highest rates in the whole country and that threatens the year-round nature of island communities.”
Monhegan is one of the six diesel-powered islands in New England, and the Island Institute is working with local energy leaders to develop strategies for reducing fuel use and energy costs. Several of these strategies were shared at the 2012 Island Energy Conference hosted by the Island Institute in November.
Click here to view the USDA press release issued today.