Library from Maine
Maine's ambitious goal of cutting carbon out of its economy by the mid-21st century is facing a harsh reality: The network of wires and substations built to feed power from central generating stations to homes and businesses isn't up to the job of handling the two-way, intermittent flow of energy from solar and wind farms to electric vehicles, heat pumps and giant storage batteries.
Maine’s burgeoning solar industry is up in arms, after many developers received emails from Central Maine Power last week indicating that their projects are causing technical problems at substations that could require costly upgrades. The controversy is erupting as scores of solar developers are building and proposing projects in Maine worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The Gulf of Maine looks huge but it's not, and 99 percent is being fished,” said Cushman. "16 miles is not a little area, and maybe just the beginning, we don’t know." He predicts fishermen will lose prime ground for lobstering, which will, in turn, cost them and the economy millions of dollars.
In a letter to licensed commercial fishermen, Mills announced that she will ask the Legislature to approve a 10-year moratorium on new offshore wind projects in waters managed by the state, which extend three miles from shore. The ban, however, wouldn’t include the already permitted New England Aqua Ventus demonstration site off Monhegan island.
The court granted a temporary injunction sought by opponents ordering the company to stop work on the entirely new section of the proposed line until judges can review a legal dispute related to it. That effectively stopped work on that part of the corridor until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit takes further action.
In court papers Monday, the developer says access road plowing started Monday and construction is expected to begin on or about Jan. 18.
Maine fishermen say that Gov. Janet Mills’ plan for a state-led offshore wind project is being rushed. And now news that a developer is considering a new commercial-scale wind project off the coast is adding to their fears.
The location for the turbines hasn’t been identified, but the state is seeking a site that would minimize impact on fishing activity, limit visibility from the coastline and be away from highly trafficked waters and other offshore activities. The cost of the project is unknown and will depend on the scale and designs, state officials said. They hope it will be operating within about 5 years.
But two energy developers who weren’t among the winners challenged the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s award of the projects ...On Tuesday, the three commissioners unanimously dismissed the requests by the two developers, Clearway Renew LLC of California and Longroad Energy of Massachusetts.
Maine’s largest-ever procurement of renewable-power contracts was hailed in September as a historic step on a path to reaching ambitious climate change goals. But today, those contracts are under fire from two dissatisfied developers.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved contracts for 17 renewable power projects on Sept. 22, including a 20-megawatt (MW) wind farm known as Silver Maple Wind in Clifton and a 100-MW solar project in Hancock known as Three Rivers Solar.
A 180-day moratorium ordinance to give the town of Belgrade time to update its ordinances related to development such as commercial solar and wind facilities, telecommunications towers and subdivisions is up for discussion.
A global clean-energy investment company is teaming up with a Falmouth-based solar development firm on plans to build a $100 million trio of utility-scale solar electric projects in Maine. The projects are part of a suite of seven large solar farms being developed in New England by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments and North Light Energy. The three Maine projects would be built in Livermore Falls, Lewiston and Garfield Plantation, near Ashland.
The University of Maine will collaborate with New England Aqua Ventus LLC, which includes two global energy companies that are investing $100 million in the project. That investment comes on top of $47 million in grants already awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Corporate Surrogates for Massachusetts have spent close to $17 million so far battling a referendum question in Maine that seeks to block the importation of hydroelectricity from Quebec using a power line running through wilderness areas in the western part of the state.
The business groups argue that halting the surcharges would provide some rate relief to both commercial and residential customers at a time when many are having financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. “We’re not looking to decimate these programs, but we are saying, ‘We’ve got to take a breather,’” said Doug Gablinske, executive director of the Energy Council of Rhode Island, which represents large energy users.
In deeper waters of the gulf, wind power will be achieved only with the use of floating turbines. The extensive anchoring and cabling that would be required means “lease areas will become de facto closures to fishing,” the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance wrote in an April 14 letter the governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Those types of disputes are “what we’re trying to avoid happening now,” said Annie Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, or RODA. The coalition of fishing stakeholders aims to get the industry on the same page as researchers and wind developers across the region. “We’re trying to make sure fishermen are much more involved in the process from day one,” Hawkins said. She’d like to see more work across state lines to coordinate policy and research.
Another potential barrier to Central Maine Power Co.’s proposed $1 billion hydropower corridor through western Maine was removed Tuesday when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled against a challenge to a regulator’s approval of the project.
MACHIAS, Maine - A project to build dozens of new wind turbines around Washington County was approved by County Commissioners during a public hearing Monday afternoon in Machias.