I recently wrote about climate change and my sincere desire for a wealthy, influential, highly connected person, such as Elon Musk, to adopt a nation, state – or at least a community – to test their technology while making meaningful progress.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

In response, many wrote to tell me about the most marvelous advances in green power that are happening right here in our very own state.

I’m starting with my favorite: tidal power. Granted, this is not actually up and running yet in any way we can tap into as consumers, but it is on the verge and it holds so much promise.

Most of the research and discussion has been centered in Cobscook Bay, which includes Eastport, Lubec, Perry and Pembroke – the coast with the big tides. Teams from the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine have been working with scientists, local fisheries and members of the community to explore using underwater turbines to harness wave action to generate power.

Concerns over ecosystems and local economics have been topmost, and commercial applications are not yet up and running. But according to an article published by the center on the university system’s website, Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Company, which generated power with prototype turbines in Cobscook Bay in 2020, plans to install a commercial system by year’s end that could power between 50 and 75 area homes. The project would eventually scale up to provide enough electricity for 1,200 Maine homes and businesses.

That’s huge.

And then there is our more familiar friend: solar. Solar panels on single-family homes have advanced tremendously since their inception, becoming smaller, more efficient and less troublesome to maintain. If you are a homeowner who wants to go solar, numerous companies and organizations in Maine are poised to design and install a system.

If you like the idea of solar, but are not prepared to invest in a system or you rent and therefore can’t install, Maine now has numerous community solar banks as well. These so-called solar farms often operate through more conventional power suppliers. The power coming to a residence doesn’t change and neither does the company to whom the bill is paid. However, this process does change the source from which the power company buys its power, or at least a percentage of it.

It is a shockingly low-stress way to make an impact.

For those looking to build a greener home or improve its efficiency, Maine has several architects that create award-winning home designs and solutions. In addition, there are consulting organizations such as The Pretty Good House and PassiveHaus, Maine, both of which offer information and resources about eco-friendly home design and renovation. There are also companies that are looking to improve heating options with heat pumps and geothermal.

What’s even more exciting than the actual technological developments are the people behind them who, despite the sometimes dire warnings, remain hopeful and fully engaged in seeking out solutions. I tip my hat to you all, and I thank you for creating such a lively conversation. You inspire me.

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