Powering Strong Communities

DOE partnership to help remote and island communities improve electric service

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a partnership that aims to support remote and islanded communities seeking to transform their energy systems and lower their vulnerability to energy disruptions.

The Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Program (ETIPP) draws together resources from several DOE offices and laboratories that will work with five community groups.

Together the partners will work with competitively selected communities to plan for, withstand, and recover from disruptions. In fall 2020, communities will be able to apply to participate in the multi-year program.

The ETIPP partners will identify and advance strategic, tailored technological solutions designed to bolster community resilience and reduce economic risk for the selected communities.

The targets of the program include 31 rural villages in Alaska prone to flooding and erosion, inland American Indian reservations in rural Northern California at risk of being islanded from the grid should a wildfire disable a single transmission line, year-round residents of 15 island communities off the coast of Maine, and communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The DOE offices involved in the Energy Transitions Initiative (ETI) initiative are the Office of Strategic Programs, the Water Power Technologies Office, and the Solar Energy Technologies Office. The participating laboratories are the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Sandia National Laboratories.

“The same technical assistance framework NREL developed and used in collaboration with ETI to advance successful energy transitions in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands can be tailored to ETIPP communities seeking to strengthen their resilience posture and mitigate their risks," Elizabeth Doris, laboratory program manager for state, local, and tribal governments at NREL, said in a statement.

The community groups involved in the program are the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, the Coastal Studies Institute in North Carolina, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, the Island Institute in Maine, and the Renewable Energy Alaska Project.