How island and community wind projects can stimulate sustainable economic development through energy independence: Isle au Haut, Maine, USA.
Southern New Hampshire University
Resting in Maine's Penobscot Bay, the island community of Isle au Haut is one of only fifteen remaining year round island communities along the state's seacoast. Unfortunately, the community's electric rates are upwards of six times state and national averages, in a time where Isle au Haut is experiencing employment troubles, general poverty, and a senescent population. This study considers a locally-owned renewable energy project in the effort to engage community members on the planning and evolution of wind development. Specifically in the form of a cooperative arrangement, the Isle au Haut Energy Cooperative project proposal aims to diagnose the feasibility of pursuing wind power development on the island to provide an alternate solution to the area's current expensive and unreliable power sources, and combat some of the town's largest societal concerns for the future. By striving to be a leader in the rural green economy, the proposal's focus is to stimulate community involvement and community change to preserve the island's way of life while enhancing economic opportunities and the social well-being of the area. Via the market based community economic development approach, the democratic governance structure of the cooperative promotes collective action in the attempt to increase energy security and provide financial benefits to the geographically challenged municipality of Isle au Haut, Maine, USA. (Author abstract)