Articles from Maine
Despite earlier opposition, the RPS bill won support from industrial power customers, following an amendment that allows them to opt out of the requirement. Paper mills and other large, energy-intensive manufacturers had warned at a hearing last month that increasing the renewable portfolio standard could lead to higher costs for them and threaten their ability to compete.
One bill, L.D. 1383, would have required electric utilities to obtain approval from local governments before using eminent domain to take private land for transmission line projects. Supporters failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to overturn Mills’ veto in the House on a 79-64 vote.
Maine Title 35-A details the mission of the PUC: “The basic purpose of this regulatory system as it applies to public utilities subject to service regulation under this Title is to ensure safe, reasonable and adequate service, to assist in minimizing the cost of energy available to the State’s consumers and to ensure that the rates of public utilities subject to rate regulation are just and reasonable to customers and public utilities.” Without answering the PUC’s questions (for example, where is the cable going to land?), how can the PUC judge if the rate that would be imposed by this legislation is not abusive to consumers?
A 22-turbine, $147.5-million wind farm project is one step closer to breaking ground after receiving approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday. ...The company also has agreed to curtail the turbines during peak bat migration periods, and MDIFW has recommended that Longroad staff be required to record all bird and bat fatalities in an annual log and freeze the carcasses in plastic bags, if possible.
The bill would direct the Public Utilities Commission to approve a long-term contract between the University of Maine-led Aqua Ventus program and Central Maine Power. A PUC decision last June to reopen a previously negotiated contract was viewed by project supporters as yet another setback during the administration of Gov. Paul LePage for Maine to develop an energy sector with enormous economic and environmental potential.
Representatives of NextEra said the regulatory commission should have required CMP to analyze alternatives to the project to mitigate negative environmental effects. The appeal was made to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which will set the schedule to hear the case, according to the commission’s spokesman, Harry Lanphear.
A bill that would mandate an increase in the amount of electricity coming from renewable sources to Maine consumers received mixed reviews Tuesday in a legislative committee, with business interests split on the cost and benefits of the mandate ...At issue is an energy policy called the Renewable Portfolio Standard which, under the bill, will increase the mix of new renewable energy sources used to supply electricity to Mainers from 10 percent to 50 percent by 2030.
Issuing or withholding wind turbine permits is testing the limits of home rule. A 400- or 500-foot tower’s impact is not exclusive to the town in which it has been erected. Maybe the solution is a renewed focus on offshore turbines, which is the trend in Europe. In any case, the pressure’s on for an approach — arguably a regional approach — to wind turbine siting that recognizes the literally towering impact of this iteration of green power.
During a brief public hearing on Monday evening, Otis residents voiced unanimous opposition to commercial wind development in the town. “I love the area,” said William Grindle. “It’s pretty much undisturbed and it should stay that way.”
Wind turbines? Not in our backyard. That was the message from the Otis Planning Board on April 4, when members voted 3-2 to adopt a new wind turbine ordinance aimed at blocking commercial wind development in the town.
While developers have applied for space on the regional grid’s interconnection queue, further development will depend on regional activities. Massachusetts, the biggest destination for clean energy, has mandated aggressive targets for clean energy and called for projects throughout the region. It mostly has been preoccupied with offshore wind and eventually, Canadian hydropower.
In her third executive order, Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday ended a 2018 moratorium restricting the issuance of permits for wind turbine projects across the state.
The disagreement over Vineyard Wind’s waiver concerns a technicality in New England’s power markets. The company requested an exemption that would have allowed it to bypass a minimum offer price on subsidized energy resources that participate in the grid operator’s annual markets for reserve power. FERC agreed to a fix proposed by ISO New England that would allow Vineyard Wind to qualify for the exemption in the coming years.
Residents made more noise than the quiet wind on Wednesday as stakeholders met at the Airline Community School to discuss a proposal for a 22-turbine wind farm under review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Roxwind LLC has submitted a permit application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the Roxwind Project on North Twin Mountain. The project would produce 15.2 megawatts of power and include access roads and overhead and underground collection lines.
LUPC approval is required because some of the project, which is spread between Eastbrook, Osborn, Aurora and Township 16, is in unorganized territory, where land use planning is governed by the state. The plans also will have to be approved by the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The wind turbine was purchased from and installed by Entegrity Wind Systems in February 2008 for about $200,000. ...Entegrity guaranteed that for five years the turbine would produce 90,000 kilowatt-hours a year and the promise for five years of free maintenance. Unfortunately, Entegrity went bankrupt in 2009, and when the company dissolved so did the guarantee.
After eight years of what some call obstructionist policies, renewables advocates look forward to Janet Mills in the Blaine House.
Because it may or may not be there when you flip the switch, the value of electricity generated by windmills is limited. Energy expert James LaBrecque said it this way: “Together, all the intermittent solar and wind power installed across the country has never displaced a single dispatchable generation plant. These expensive, low-production sources of power add additional cost to the whole electric system by forcing dispatchable generators to run less efficiently and less productively."
As the Maine Wind Energy Act enters a second decade, developers say the state is unlikely to see strings of new turbine towers on the horizon, as market forces overtake policy directives. In 2018, only a 22-turbine wind farm in Hancock County and a four-turbine project in Oxford County have active permit applications. There are several reasons why.