We are Mount Desert Island residents, businesses, and towns working together to achieve energy independence by 2030 and make MDI an inspiring epicenter of citizen engagement, sustainability, and economic vitality.
Listen to “How Mount Desert, Maine, residents helped double their island's solar capacity.”
Read full script here.
MDI High School to Save Additional One Million Dollars!
On Wednesday June 26th, Governor Janet Mills signed into law three major renewable energy reform bills, pushing the State of Maine to a position of national climate leadership. Our interns attended the event, which took place in Pittsfield at the largest solar array in the state, consisting of 40,300 panels generating 9.9 megawatts at peak performance, providing symbolic background of the energy reform to come. One bill, LD 1711 includes a 75% solar credit for the Transmission and Distribution portion of the bills for large consumers such as the MDI High School where panels are being installed this month. Trustees approved the solar installation in January with an initial projected savings of $216,000 over 25 years; this new credit increases savings to $1,276,000!
The two additional bills bring significant change in emission reductions and renewable energy standards. LD 1679 sets to reduce carbon emissions below 1990s levels by 45% in 2030 and 80% by 2050, as well as establishing a Maine Climate Council. The third and final bill LD 1494 increases Maine’s renewable portfolio standard to 80% renewables by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
ACTT believes these legislative changes will bring a greater urgency to diverge from electricity produced by fossil fuels, while saving money.
This Small Island is Taking on a Big Problem — Climate Change
On Maine’s Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, the sea brings news of change. Over the last 15 years, the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than 99 percent of the global ocean. Storms more frequently swamp the island’s low-lying roads. Lobsters, who prefer the cold, have started a slow march north toward Canadian waters, taking the state’s iconic industry with them. Ticks, who like it warm, have multiplied, as have reports of Lyme disease. Another insect, the red pine scale, burrows into conifers and kills them from the inside out. Rusted and skeletal, the trees die overlooking the island’s smooth-bouldered shores.
MDI High School Solar Update
Fox 22/ABC 7 Bangor interviewed ACTT, MDIRSS district superintendent and Sundog Solar about the huge savings the High School will receive. This is the result of the recent legislation put into law by Governor Mills, providing a 75% transmission and distribution solar credit.
ACTT summer intern Stella Walke spoke about how important this project is to provide students with hope for a more sustainable future.
Watch the full interview here! This includes drone footage of the current panel installation progress, which will be completed by the end of August.
Lodging Businesses Can Now Take the Sustainable MDI Pledge!
Last summer, fifty-one food businesses took the pledge in pursuit of these sustainability-driven goals. When all four Mount Desert Island towns passed plastic bag and foam ordinances this year, it made room for the businesses to expand the pledge to include all of its original sustainability goals: reducing, reusing and recycling, optimizing energy, transitioning to renewable sources, curbing food waste, sourcing food sustainably, and using non-toxic cleaning products. The SMDI decal marks businesses which have enacted or are transitioning to at least five of these ten long-range visionary practices this year.
This summer, ACTT received a grant to expand SMDI’s reach beyond food businesses. The Asticou Inn and the Bar Harbor Inn which already pledged for their in-house restaurants last year, took the lead adapting SMDI’s goals for lodging businesses. Eleven more hotels, inns and B&Bs have already signed on to the new pledge: the Acacia House Inn, Ann's Point Inn, Aysgarth Station B&B, Bar Harbor Villager, The Birches B&B and Cottages, Harbour Cottage Inn, Holbrook House B&B, Kingsleigh Inn, Lighthouse Inn, Saltair Inn, and Shore Path Cottage. The ripples are spreading even beyond lodging businesses, as the Criterion Theater and the entire MDI Regional School District have both taken the pledge. Please encourage your favorite businesses to join if they haven’t already!
For more info, contact Jill Higgins, ACTT Co-Coordinator, 207-664-4040 firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see the list of current pledgers.
We Took Our Bold Vision to the Blaine House
Local State Representative, Brian Hubbell’s climate bill was signed into law on May 17, 2019, putting Maine on a path to triple in-state renewable energy generation and become a net exporter of renewable energy by 2030! Governor Mills signed the measure after presenting her bill to create the Maine Climate Change Council.
ACTT took its bold vision for energy independence by 2030 for MDI to the state of Maine last Fall. Working with Brian Hubbell and Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon, we planned and led two visioning meetings for crafting a new comprehensive clean energy policy for Maine.
Over 30 state policy leaders and energy experts met at the Blaine House the week after election day to identify the building blocks of such a policy and develop a strategy for educating legislators and encouraging bipartisan support for bills that would remove obstacles and create incentives for new solar, wind, EV, and energy efficiency projects statewide.
Students' Dream for a Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Became A Reality
The Bar Harbor Town Council chambers were packed and overflowing for the public hearing on banning single use carryout plastic bags and polystyrene foam containers the night of January 15. The public and town councillor comments, which were overwhelmingly in support of the ordinances, met with rousing applause, and the final comments by Charlotte Partin and Logan Wilbur, two of the high school freshmen who initiated, wrote and helped advocate for the measures, moved some of us to tears. The council voted and passed the two bans to jubilant applause. They will go into effect this Valentine's Day, but businesses will be able to use up their old stock before switching to alternatives. If you weren’t there, you can watch the hearing here about 12 - 13 minutes in.
The ordinances spread quickly. Southwest Harbor passed them in November, and Mount Desert and Tremont passed them via a vote at the annual town meetings in May.
You can learn more about reducing single-use plastics on MDI here.
Mount Desert Island High School Goes 100% Solar!
On January 2nd, the Board of Trustees accepted a proposal from Sundog Solar of Searsport to install a flat roof solar array designed to generate as many kilowatt hours as the school uses annually. Under a Power Purchase Agreement, the high school will bear no upfront cost and stands to save a minimum of $220,000-420,000 over 25 years. As an official educational partner of the MDI Regional School System, ACTT worked closely with Principal Matt Haney and the high school ECO team to seek and review bids. The new system will be 3 times the size of the recently installed Tremont Landfill array and is equivalent to power used by 50 homes. Community members have been expressing their excitement about this news through comments on ACTT’s Facebook page. Click here to read what the community has to say about this awesome news.
Small Businesses Can Save 75% on LED Install - Hurry - Deadline for signing up is May 31st
ACTT is working with Efficiency Maine to provide qualified Small Businesses on Mount Desert Island the opportunity to upgrade to new LED lighting at a significantly reduced cost.
If you’re a General Service electric customer (Rate Class B-1 as noted on your electric bill) on MDI, Efficiency Maine will pay 75% of the total upgrade cost for new LED lighting at your business.
Projects are designed to significantly improve quality of light, reduce lighting maintenance costs, and past participants are saving approximately $100/month or more.
Upgrading lighting at your business is easy! Fill out this online form to signup for your free, no-obligation lighting assessment or click here to learn more.
Local Couple Offers $25,000 Challenge Pledge to A Climate to Thrive
A local couple who grew up on MDI have made a five-year, $25,000 matching pledge to A Climate to Thrive which would be the largest tax-deductible gift in our 20-month existence. "We enthusiastically support the mission of ACTT and envision its expansion to communities across the State."
Positive News! 82% of Adults Support Rebates for People who Purchase Energy-efficient Vehicles or Solar Panels
Click here for full article on Americans' view on Climate Change
Climate Change Communications Workshop a Success
35 people attended a workshop developed by the Maine Climate Table on May 1 at the Northeast Harbor Library. Tyler Kidder of the Onion Foundation led an exciting interactive workshop that explored the results of in-depth research about climate change messages that resonate especially well with Mainers. Based on extensive Maine social science research conducted by communication professionals through the Maine Climate Table, the workshop included information on modern brain science as well as findings on how to change opinion and move audiences to action.
Several educators and rangers from Acadia National Park, and representatives from the Abbe Museum, Friends of Acadia, the Ellsworth Green Plan, and other organizations were in attendance. All attendees received the print edition of supporting research.
Get Involved! Join one of our ongoing projects to help create a positive future for MDI by helping us promote clean energy locally and throughout Maine, improve building efficiency, reinvent local food systems, develop climate-friendly transportation, move toward zero waste, reduce single use plastics, and influence public policy.
Our projects featured above and below ...
will create jobs, preserve the beauty of this island, and establish MDI as a resource and leader for communities around the world.
Maine Energy Visioning Project
Maine Youth Climate Action
Expanding Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
Large-Scale Solar Energy
Winter Farmers Market with Healthy Acadia’s MDI FarmDrop
Youth Community Catalysts with MDI Schools
Are you passionate about clean energy, zero waste, public policy, or climate-friendly transportation? We welcome you to join one of our exciting projects and help create the future that you envision for your family, your grandchildren, and future generations.
ON CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION is happening everyday!
CLICK HERE OR ON THE ITEMS BELOW TO READ all ABOUT it!
A Successful 2019 Summit!
Over 200 people from around the state joined us at MDI High School on February 10 for our Summit event, “Building a Brighter Future: Stepping up to the Climate Change Challenge”. A variety of community members shared their own success stories and what they are personally doing to take action towards a more sustainable MDI. From high school students who implemented a plastic bag and styrofoam ban, to a local hotel manager aiming to adopt more sustainable practices, it was great to hear from MDI residents who are passionate about conserving our island!
We're very excited about the positive energy that this year’s event helped to create, and look forward to continue working together towards a more sustainable future!
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” - Thomas Edison (1931)
Thanks to the following organizations for their generous support.