Does your island or remote community experience unique energy challenges such as frequent energy disruptions, threats to energy infrastructure from natural hazards, and high energy costs?

As a regional partner of the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Program (ETIPP), the Coastal Studies Institute is encouraging remote, island, and/or islanded communities in the Southeast US looking for more reliable and resilient energy options to apply for the program. While the official application for Cohort 2 will not be released until January 2022, interested communities can take preliminary steps now to prepare.

CSI’s role in ETIPP is to support community-based energy transitions and is committed to supporting prospective ETIPP applicants by providing detailed information about the program and assistance with the application process. CSI is joined in this effort by energy experts at UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC).

What Is ETIPP?

The Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project is a strategic energy planning and technical assistance program that works alongside remote, island, and islanded communities to transform their energy systems and increase energy resilience. By participating in ETIPP, communities can advance their self-defined energy goals by leveraging the experience and expertise of the ETIPP partner network: a coalition of local stakeholders, tribal leaders, regional organizations, national laboratories, and the U.S. Department of Energy offices.

Who Is Eligible?

Communities in the United States that identify as remote, island, or islanded are eligible and encouraged to apply. ETIPP defines remote, island, or islanded communities as follows:

  • Remote communities are isolated from population centers, and as a result, have limited access to centralized energy systems.
  • Island communities are isolated from the mainland by waterways.
  • Islanded communities are not grid-tied to large transmission-scale power systems, and as a result, experience frequent issues with power quality. These communities may or may not be categorized as “remote” or “island.”
ETIPP at Work

Selected communities will embark on a project scoping phase (approximately one to two months) followed by 12- to 18-month-long energy planning and analysis projects that keep communities at the center of the decision-making process. Communities can also expect to receive substantial in-kind support from the ETIPP national labs in the form of technical expertise on energy analysis, planning, and implementation, as well as general ETIPP program guidance and education from the ETIPP regional partners.

Currently, the Coastal Studies Institute is working with two of the eleven communities from Cohort 1, the Town of Nags Head and Ocracoke Island, both located in the Outer Banks.

“Growing up on the Outer Banks and spending a lot of time living on islands and coastal communities during my career in the U.S. Coast Guard, I’ve seen firsthand the vulnerabilities with reliable electricity to islands and remote communities.  We have a great team at CSI and UNC Charlotte Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) with diverse expertise in energy and resilience and are excited to be working with the Department of Energy National Labs and our Regional Partners in developing solutions to enhance resiliency for island and remote communities,” states George Bonner, Director of the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program and CSI lead for ETIPP.

Interested in Learning More Or Applying?

CSI is looking forward to your inquiry! Please contact George Bonner for more information.

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.



Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T University.  Click on the links below for more information.




ECU's Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU's Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.