On January 17, 2015 the New York Times featured Maine island grids in its article Green Energy Inspiration Off the Coast of Denmark. The piece highlights the recent trip that Island Institute staff and Maine islanders made to Samso Island in Denmark to visit the Samso Energy Academy. The islanders from Monhegan, Swan’s Island, Long, Peaks, and Vinalhaven learned about the community engagement strategies that island leaders have used to develop community-owned wind and other renewable energy projects that produce enough energy to offset energy use for electricity and transportation, making Samso the “fossil free” island.
The article stresses the importance of engaging community stakeholders around renewable energy projects.
“Suzanne MacDonald, the community energy director at the Island Institute in Rockland, which is helping oversee the Mainers’ Denmark program, argues that such projects can be useful test cases. But, she added, they work only in places where people want to use the technologies and can organize and lead the effort.
‘We can’t just put steel in the ground and technology on the grid,” she said, “unless people are a part of the process.'”
The IGRC continues to work with islanded grid energy leaders to promote fact-based decision making about wind and other renewable energy sources and to network these leaders to share ideas and best practices.