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Sustainability Engineering at Shoals Marine Lab

Supporting hands-on experience in maintaining a renewable microgrid. Eight miles off the coast, engineering and communication students learn what it takes to use renewable energy to power an energy independent UNH/Cornell Marine Lab though a unique, once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunity.

aerial view of Shoals Marine lab showing rooftop solar panels amongst the islands vegetation
Stat Grid Items
reduction in fossil fuel use
kWh island solar energy
kWh island wind energy
headshot photo of Alec O'Meara

The team at Shoals Marine Lab has been reducing their carbon emissions for decades through smart decisions and holistic integration of renewable energy. Today, the lab gives students the opportunity to see what sustainable energy looks like in practice, and it gives the rest of us a glimpse into how to make a low emission or no emission future possible.

Alec O'Meara
Media Relations Manager, Unitil

Main Project Details

Unitil and Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) have enjoyed a unique relationship through the design and maintenance of the Lab’s microgrid on Appledore Island during the last 20 years. Isolated from the mainland, the grid on Appledore already utilizes many of the tools often discussed as part of a potential future of electric infrastructure, including the full integration of renewable fuel sources, active energy storage solution for off-hour use and the widespread adoption of energy efficiency measures. As Unitil continues to explore what the future of renewable energy looks like, the system at SML offers a tremendous learning opportunity—both for the engineering interns that reside on site in the summer and for Unitil engineers themselves. Likewise, the groundbreaking SML microgrid itself is a story worth sharing, as the real-world solutions found on the island to meet the SML’s needs may pave the way towards a smarter energy future for us all.

Beginning in the offseason, Unitil Engineers work with officials at Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) to review potential opportunities that would offer mutual learning opportunities for the upcoming summer. Unitil engineers serve as mentors to the SML Sustainable Engineering Interns made possible by Unitil’s support while a communications-specialized intern documents the work and creates program content for both Unitil and SML.

solar battery storage inside marine lab facility

Wind Power

Shoals Marine Lab Wind Turbine Project

Our Communications Intern, Anna Kieffer from University of New Hampshire, spent three weeks exploring Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, ME. Join Anna as she takes a behind-the-scenes look at their wind turbine project.

Sustainable Resources

Ready to continue your clean energy journey? Check out the blog posts below to discover sustainable best practices.