Nonprofits team up to lead national outreach effort

Mar 21, 2014

Rockland — The Renewable Energy Alaska Project based in Anchorage, Alaska and the Island Institute, located in Rockland, announce they been chosen to receive a three-year competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to launch the Islanded Grid Wind Regional Resource Center.

This self-sustaining knowledge center will connect island 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.

“Energy leaders in remote communities across the nation are excited by this opportunity to connect with each other and world-class technical resources as they seek to integrate wind and other renewables into their unique energy systems,” she said.

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