October 10, 2018
Can students identify enough green energy to get a Maine island off the power grid?
Students from UNE and Kennebunk High School (KHS) are teaming up on a research project to determine if nature can provide enough energy to power a lighthouse and a historic home on Goat Island off the coast of Kennebunkport.
The project was recently featured in a segment on 'NEWS CENTER Now' on WCSH.
“We came together around this idea of getting both college and high school students to do an applied, on the ground, problem solving project out of the classroom and in the field,” explained Pam Morgan, professor in the Department of Environmental Studies.
An underground cable bringing power to Goat Island is beginning to falter. Replacing it would be of great cost to the island’s owner, the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.
“Before the cable goes out, we’re trying to figure out how much energy do they really need, and what sources will work,” Morgan said. “Ultimately the goal is to get Goat Island completely off the grid, so they're not relying on that underground cable.”
The students are now taking the same problem-based course, Gulf of Maine Studies, at their own separate schools. Morgan and Kennebunk High School teacher Melissa Luetje work together to deliver the course. KHS students can elect to earn college credit by completing it.
The students traveled to Goat Island to deploy instruments built at UNE. The instruments measure solar, wind and tidal energy possibilities.
KHS students and a UNE student recently returned to Goat Island to collect the data and tour the island. UNE students will soon return to the island to collect their own data. Next month, students from both classes will come together on UNE’s Biddeford campus to analyze the data and share information.
The project is being done in conjunction with the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust and the Gulf of Maine Institute, which is providing funding.