Tremont leading the way towards MDI energy independence

Solar panels installed in an old landfill next to the town office now power all the town's municipalities, as well as the school.
MDI moving closer to complete energy independence
MDI moving closer to complete energy independence
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 9:39 PM EDT
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TREMONT, Maine (WABI) - Nothing says green energy like powering a town by putting a solar array on an old, otherwise useless landfill. That’s what the little town of Tremont, on the southwest corner of MDI, has done.

“It’s very exciting, it’s been a great success down here,” said State Representative Genevieve McDonald. “I’m very proud to represent this district that’s doing such creative work around sustainable energy.”

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Sara Gideon was there Thursday, as part of a stop on the campaign trail.

”It’s really impressive,” Gideon said. “You can just see how much energy is being generated. But also the fact that they used land- a brownfield- that couldn’t be used for any other purposes. So to repurpose it for this use is a pretty amazing thing.”

These solar panels went up in February of 2019, and since then have powered every municipality in Tremont. They’re part of a larger effort to have all of MDI energy dependent by 2030.

Kevin Buck is a town selectman in Tremont, who has come around on the idea of energy independence on MDI. He also sits on the board of a group called ‘A Climate to Thrive,‘ who are helping to facilitate multiple projects on the island to make the dream of energy independence a reality.

“Honestly, when I got involved in this, I didn’t think it was possible,” he said. “But I’ve changed my mind. It is. Not only do I think it’s possible, it’s going to happen.”

And it’s not just good for the environment. Buck says its good for business.

It’s going to save the town probably a minimum of $400,000 over a twenty-five year period. That’s a pretty significant amount of money saved for a town of sixteen hundred people.”

Gideon said she thinks the Tremont model could work for any community in the state of Maine.

Buck agrees.

“I would like to think any town could do this,” he said. “It’s entirely possible. I see no reason it isn’t.”

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