The Island Institute held its eighth annual Island Energy Conference in South Portland on May 4, bringing together energy experts and island leaders from Maine, New England and around the world to discuss common energy challenges and share solutions. This year’s theme, “Resilient Together,” highlighted what islanders are doing to increase the resilience of their energy systems and communities in the face of an increasingly unpredictable world.

“With the devastating effects of hurricanes and storm events hitting hard in island and coastal communities around the world, these places are among the first to feel the effects of a disrupted climate, but they have also found themselves on the frontlines of the clean energy revolution,” said Suzanne MacDonald, community development officer with the Island Institute.

In his keynote address, Caribbean energy expert Martyn Forde, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, set the stage for the day by speaking about how communities build resiliency and the challenges they face as they work to rebuild more sustainably in the wake of these natural disasters.

“The biggest resource of any island is its people, and networks are key,” said Forde. “Networks are reliable and, when established, robust. They are reactive and ready to respond when needed, and everyone has a role. Most importantly, networks are real.”

During the conference the Island Energy Innovation Award was presented to Islesboro in recognition of its across-the-board commitment to pursuing clean and efficient island energy systems.­

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