Communities will receive help to strengthen energy infrastructure, reduce the risk of outages and improve their future energy and economic prospects.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced plans to work with 12 remote and island communities across the United States to help them transition to clean energy, reduce energy costs, and improve resilience.
Under the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP), DOE experts, national laboratories, and regional organizations will support projects in communities that often face high energy costs and vulnerable energy infrastructure due to their increased risk of natural disasters caused by climate change. ETIPP further supports the US government‘s goal of ensuring a just transition to a zero-carbon pollution future.
“As climate change intensifies, remote and island communities, which experience higher energy costs and may lack the financial resources and expertise to make their energy systems more resilient, are more exposed to extreme weather events,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The DOE will connect 12 additional communities to our world-class National Laboratories to implement strategic, locally tailored clean energy and resilience solutions, supporting the country’s just transition to a net zero economy.
Remote and island communities often lack the financial resources and access to experts to plan a clean energy transition. ETIPP will work with local community leaders, residents and organizations to help identify energy challenges and then provide assistance in establishing a strategy.
The 12 shortlisted communities that were selected through a competitive process are:
- Aquinnah and Chilmark, Massachusetts: The neighboring towns of Aquinnah and Chilmark on the island of Martha’s Vineyard will work together on technical assistance in three areas to help them achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040 with retrofits to municipal buildings, distributed energy resources and micro-grids. . The project will help both cities identify appropriate energy efficiency and high-impact renewable energy solutions to improve energy resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Bainbridge Island, Washington: On Bainbridge Island, a suburban island toward Seattle, ETIPP will help analyze the feasibility of renewable energy options like solar and hydro to move the city toward its goal of sustainable development. 100% renewable electricity by 2040. This project will help islanders understand the benefits and challenges of energy resilience solutions such as community solar power and residential-scale battery storage.
- Beaver Island, Michigan: Beaver Island will use its assistance to identify opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to improve energy security through local generation and storage, while reducing the cost of energy and enhancing economic opportunities. This project will consider the income and employment impacts of moving away from fossil fuels, which have been a historic economic driver in the community.
- Guam Power Authority, Guam: The Guam Power Authority (GPA) is seeking assistance in integrating renewable energy resources, improving utility planning and energy security, and establishing a utility management system. performance for its clean energy master plan. These efforts support GPA’s commitment to Guam’s ambitious renewable energy goals, which call for 50% renewable energy generation by 2035 and 100% by 2045.
- Hui o Hau’ula, Hawaii: Hui o Hau’ula, a community-based organization on Oahu, is coordinating the planning and development of a community resilience center, which will include power generation and storage for the surrounding district of Koolauloa. To achieve this, Hui o Hau’ula is seeking assistance in assessing energy needs and evaluating a portfolio of renewable energy technologies for the Resilience Hub. The project will develop technical guidance and materials for energy resilience to storms and disasters throughout Koolauloa.
- Igiugig, Alaska: The community of Igiugig receives help analyzing power distribution efficiency, energy conservation, and the grid impacts of increasing renewable energy. The project will work with the Tribal Council to also increase communication and community engagement for energy transition issues. The results will help Igiugig achieve its goal of improving energy self-sufficiency using local renewable resources and its own workforce while minimizing environmental impact and preserving its cultural identity.
- Makah Tribe, Neah Bay, Washington: ETIPP assistance to the Makah Tribe will be used to assess the opportunities and challenges associated with integrating renewable energy into critical infrastructure relocation planning and to increase their capacity to produce their own electricity. The project will focus on deeper community engagement by helping Makah Tribe staff communicate renewable energy options to community members and incorporate their priorities, perspective and knowledge into its planning.
- McGrath, Alaska: With technical assistance from ETIPP, McGrath (in landlocked central Alaska) aims to increase its energy independence and resilience while lowering the cost of energy. This project will assess the renewable energy potential in the region, including hydrokinetic, wind, solar, green hydrogen and micronuclear resources. This project will also aim to leverage local economic opportunities through capacity building efforts within the community.
- Microgrid of the Mountain, Puerto Rico: A hydroelectric cooperative in Puerto Rico will use ETIPP assistance to refine its intermunicipal microgrid plan, and develop and design specifications for batteries, distribution, and other improvements. The project will also support the co-op’s technical review data related to the implementation of the new system. The project will help the cooperative provide affordable and resilient energy to residents of four remote inland mountain communities.
- Mount Desert Island, Maine: Mount Desert Island’s goal for its technical assistance is to understand the optimal approaches to transitioning its grid to clean energy while increasing energy resilience and community capacity. The project will assess opportunities for integrating renewable energy, energy storage and efficiency, as well as the viability of a microgrid to make the island resilient during extreme weather events. The results of this project will support future decarbonization plans for the region.
- Nikolski and St. George, Alaska: In Nikolski, Alaska (on Unmak Island in the western Aleutian Islands) and St. George, Alaska (an island a few hundred miles north), aid will go to assessing the condition of existing wind turbines and considering reconfiguring them with a new mix of renewable energy resources. In addition to helping reduce each community’s reliance on expensive imported diesel, this project will train local staff to maintain equipment and assess the viability of battery storage.
- University of Hawaii, Hawaii: The University of Hawaii’s project plans include analysis of geothermal cooling potential in buildings across its 10 campuses. The project will model the shallow geologic conditions and building heating and cooling loads on each campus to recommend geothermal technologies, materials, and design approaches that improve energy efficiency and dramatically increase sustainability in communities around the world. campus. Results will include increased capacity for geothermal energy analysis at the University and opportunities to apply project results in similar environments.
“The availability of clean energy is one of the keys to unlocking a renewable, reliable and affordable energy future,” US Senators Susan Collins and Angus King (ME) said in a joint statement. “Home to one of the crown jewels of the US national park system, Mount Desert Island has long been a model of environmental stewardship and has made great strides in preserving the natural wonders of Acadia. We welcome this investment, which will help the community accelerate its plans to increase local grid resilience and transition to a clean energy future. »
Six regional organizations – Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Coastal Studies Institute, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Island Institute, Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Spark Northwest – will help selected communities prioritize their energy resilience needs and communicate the results while throughout their projects. Experts from DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories will work with communities to conduct technical activities that will help decision makers plan resilient upgrades to their energy systems .
Launched in 2021, ETIPP’s first participants were comprised of 11 communities from Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and North Carolina. Learn about all ETIPP community projects, which are funded by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
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