Articles filed under Energy Policy from Maine
Before New England’s electric industry was restructured in the late 1990s, utilities directly charged customers for the cost of new power plants. But with private developers responsible for power these days, a special market has been put in place that creates a financial incentive to build the next generation of resources.
Pennies on the dollar are what some legislative policies cost the average ratepayer. Most people don’t worry about those pennies, but I am not one of those people. I believe that if you watch your pennies, they add up to dimes and eventually to dollars. Those pennies have added up, resulting in Maine having one of the highest electric rates in the country. The last two bills we worked on this year are classic examples of policies that, although well-intentioned, are costly and will likely do nothing to lower energy costs, never mind decrease our tax burden.
For those inclined to see the glass half full, Massachusetts has made enormous strides in reducing its carbon emissions. Coal-fired plants, the worst offenders, are dying out across the Commonwealth. Investments in energy efficiency have lowered demand. The solar panels sprouting up along the Massachusetts Turnpike are only the most visible of the new generation of green technologies feeding power into homes and businesses.
Backers of gas generation countered that renewables are benefiting from government-backed subsidies and long-term contracts that threaten to reintroduce government-mandated integrated resource planning. ...state policies are giving renewables undue advantage and undermining conventional generators’ investments in the market.
The legislative committee handling energy policy has recommended the state leave it to regulators and the courts to decide whether affiliates of Maine electric utilities can own power generation within the state.
Chris O’Neil, policy director for Friends of Maine’s Mountains, observes, “Maine and New England already have among the cleanest and most expensive electricity in America. Now southern New England wants to make it even more expensive while turning Maine into their wind plantation. It is unacceptable and we need to stop it.” ...Maine’s greatest resource is our fabulous scenery – mountains, lakes, rivers and ocean coastline. Continuing to ravage our birthright to support a misguided feel-good energy policy is an insult to our own citizens, their children and their grandchildren.
Three Southern New England states want to turn Maine into their wind plantation, and Central Maine Power and Emera Maine appear to be enthusiastic supporters of that plan. ...Maine’s greatest resource is our fabulous scenery – mountains, lakes, rivers and ocean coastline. Continuing to ravage our birthright to support a misguided feel-good energy policy is an insult to our own citizens, their children and their grandchildren.
Energy officials and industry representatives in Maine were tamping down impressions that all or even most of these projects would be built. “I’ve been trying to get the public prepared for this and not think that all of these projects will be developed,” said Patrick Woodcock, Gov. Paul LePage’s energy director. “In fact, under the request-for-proposals, it’s not even possible for all of them to be chosen.”
Dozens of submissions will need to be vetted in coming months as the three states look to sign long-term contracts for electricity from wind turbines, dams and solar projects. The states are seeking up to 600 megawatts of power.
Companies designing projects to bring clean electricity to southern New England say they’re grateful Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have finally made a request for proposals to carry that power to the region. But meeting the region’s longer-term goal of expanding the use of renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectricity will require more transmission capacity than the states requested, said Edward Krapels, the CEO of Anbaric Transmission, which is proposing one project in Maine and another Vermont.
Washington -- Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity -- virtually all of it in the form of solar projects -- are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released 2015 Regional System Plan.
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
Maybe, just maybe, some Mainers are becoming less inclined to fall in line and accept the state’s excessively generous standards for wind development. The Fort Fairfield Town Council recently approved a wind ordinance requiring turbine siting of one mile from property lines of non-participating property owners, rather than acceding to the state model — written by the wind industry — requiring setback of only 150 percent of the height of the turbine.
The billions New England wasted in the last decade on unsustainable feel-good generation assets were the same billions that should have been invested in critical, dependable, clean energy infrastructure. Specifically, our natural gas transmission constraints and our lack of access to large-scale Canadian hydro now stand as tragic examples of our grossly negligent misappropriation of resources.
Huskilson told analysts that Emera Maine is working with Central Maine Power Co. on a proposed transmission upgrade that would allow more wind power and other energy to be transported from northern Maine and Canada.
Utilities regulators turned down Central Maine Power Co.’s request to negotiate a land purchase for an affiliated wind power developer, arguing such an arrangement could open the possibility of improperly favorable treatment.
Staff for Maine’s utilities regulators recommended that Central Maine Power Co.’s request to set up a land deal for its sister company that develops wind farms should be denied, stating such an arrangement opens the possibility of improperly favorable treatment for the affiliated power generator.
Rep. Beth Turner, a Republican from Burlington, has several unorganized territories in her district and supported the committee proposal. "The 32 U-T's that I represent don’t have that right, their voices were taken away and they cannot have a public hearing," Turner said. "They deserve to have their voices heard."
Several initiatives by Gov. Paul LePage, including a proposal to use money from timber harvesting on state land to help low-income residents with heating costs, appear to be dead for this year, following action late Thursday by the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.
The committee took no action on the bill Wednesday. The panel’s co-chair, Sen. David Woodsome, R-York, said he hopes to hold a work session and vote on the bill Thursday. With time running out for the panel to wrap up for the session, lawmakers are under pressure to either kill the measure, adopt certain provisions or hold over the bill for consideration next year.