Library from Maine
The local Ordinance Review Committee reached a tentative agreement last week on a proposal to lessen key restrictions in the town’s new commercial wind power ordinance. Don Bennett suggested a setback of 4,000 feet from the property line, and Smerczynski and Brown agreed. ...Most members agreed to stay with the current level of 35 decibels during the day and 25 at night.
But in 2017, ISO New England, which administers New England’s power grid, hasn’t permitted any new wind proposal in Maine. Al McBride, the group’s transmission planning director, says the trunk power lines in Maine were built mainly to serve local loads — and they have reached their capacity. “That’s one part of it. The other part of it is these proposals are located remotely from the existing infrastructure,” he says.
Massachusetts’ demand for clean energy has drawn interest from several companies hoping to win lucrative contracts to transmit wind and hydro power from Maine, Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The utilities National Grid, Eversource and Unitil, along with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, are considering dozens of bids, including Maine-based proposals that would entail overland transmission lines and at least two undersea cables running through the Gulf of Maine to the Bay State.
“I’m concerned with the future development of wind farms in the Moosehead Lake area of Somerset County and the effect that will have on our tourism business, which is 95 percent of our livelihood,” Richardson said. “Without these transmission lines in place, they will not be able to sell the wind energy to Massachusetts. This is a critical piece of the puzzle for the power companies.”
The letter and accompanying resolution — both supported 5-0 — cite the dangers of 500-plus-foot wind turbines and the associated transmission lines they say will forever spoil the “world class beauty” of the region.
At the September 6, 2017 meeting of the Somerset County Maine Commissioners, the Board adopted Resolution 17 – 164 that publicly opposes any additional industrial Wind Development in Somerset County. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. The full resolution, as adopted, is provided below and can be accessed at the links on this page.
Residents said they feared the 500-foot tall turbines would adversely affect the aviation tradition on the lake, culminating every fall with the Greenville Fly-in. “There’s a lot at stake,” McDonald told the group. “The view and the wilderness experience. There’s a future at stake if you want to develop tourism in the area, the turbines pose a serious threat to the region.”
A group that fears that more industrial wind development in rural Somerset County will hurt the economy and quality of life for area residents.
In 1819, Maine separated from Massachusetts and became its own entity. We have gotten along just fine for the past 200 years. But Massachusetts wants to use us as its industrial power center by running power lines and putting up industrial wind turbines in our mountains.
Evans-Brown says opponents want to know why their scenery should become the pass-through for Massachusetts' electricity needs, "people who have businesses that would be impacted by the construction, and who believe they're business depends on tourists coming up to visit. There's a very famous pancake parlor that the owner came and gave very impassioned testimony."
The preferences of Massachusetts utilities and policymakers could advance a range of massive wind, solar or power lines through Maine by 2022.
The New York utility wants to partner with a group of energy developers called Maine Power Express LLC to build a 630-megawatt wind facility in Penobscot and Aroostook counties. New York energy giant Con Edison hopes to partner with developers of new Maine wind farms to deliver power to Boston through a bid process under consideration in Massachusetts.
The project cost is confidential, but CMP has confirmed that it’s in the $1 billion range. The total cost would be paid by Massachusetts electric customers. ...It’s also possible that a similar line being proposed by CMP and a partner could carry power from new solar and energy-storage projects in western Maine, as well as wind turbines on both sides of the border.
Despite a 40-year marketing effort undertaken by the solar industry, with its annual barrage of new solar legislation requesting more money, the only numbers adding up are taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded subsidies, subsidies that benefit only solar panel owners, and a small group of marginally successful and heavily subsidized producers and installers who continue to pray for more sunlight and subsidies.
The mayor says at the time it seemed like an offer too good to turn down. The company that installed it, Entregrity Wind Systems, guaranteed it would produce enough energy to save the city thousands of dollars a year. Enough to pay off the $200,000 investment after 10-years. But the company went bankrupt a year later and the turbine never generated the energy promised.
The wind turbine was purchased and installed by Entegrity Wind Systems in February 2008 for about $200,000. A contract with Entegrity Wind guaranteed the turbine would produce about 90,000 kilowatt hours a year ...The wind turbine has never come close to generating amount of energy promised, and Entegrity Wind went bankrupt in 2009.
After a decade of rapid growth, wind energy in Maine has hit the doldrums. No big new wind projects are likely to go live anytime soon, and it could cost billions to unlock enough of the state’s wind resource — the best in the region — to serve southern New England’s thirst for renewable energy.
Energy committee members unanimously vote against a bill that would have moved the test site at least 7 miles farther out to sea.
Long ago and in a different reality, the Maine Legislature approved a set of ambitious goals for developing Maine’s offshore wind resources, which are the largest off the country’s Atlantic coastline. Now, the Legislature may completely abandon these ambitions.
Maine Aqua Ventus representatives testified that the bill would have the practical effect of ending Maine’s bid to build the country’s first commercial-size, floating wind turbines and jump-start an industry ...But representatives of the Maine Lobstering Union, which represents 500 fishermen, said wind power has no place on the Maine coast. If the industry takes off, undersea cables and moorings associated with offshore wind farms would destroy valuable lobster habitat and imperil fishing.