Articles from Maine
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.
Maine’s floating wind power advocates are sounding the alarm over legislation that would push a two-turbine test site farther away from Monhegan Island, saying that the shift would sink the decade-long push to draw power from the untapped Gulf of Maine winds.
The 180-day moratorium, if passed, would give the town more time to update the Wind Energy Facility Ordinance to address community concerns about the height, noise and other possible impacts of a project. At a public hearing on the issue last month, there was some discussion that perceived "inadequacies" in the current wind regulations might not be sufficient to meet state requirements for a moratorium.
Lawmakers will consider two bills that seek to address deficiencies in the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which even advocates admit isn't working as intended.
A spokesman for a group of island residents behind the bill said the university is responsible for the crisis by changing the scope of the project. What started in 2009 as a scaled-down, temporary experiment has grown to a 20-year, full-scale project with blades that would reach 576 feet above the waterline and an undersea cable to the mainland, at Port Clyde. A project that size, said Travis Dow of Protect Monhegan, can’t help but impact the view for tourists and artists, who drive the island’s summer economy, and the experience for birders, who flock in spring and fall for annual migrations.
Massachusetts on Friday issued a massive request for clean power proposals that could help the state meet its goal of reducing its electrical system’s impact on global warming. By 2020, the state aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation to 25 percent below 1990 levels. The long-expected solicitation has wind opponents in Maine again gearing up for a fight, as Maine is host to the vast majority of pending land-based wind power projects in New England.
A total of 39 Unorganized Territory communities from western Maine to Down East have taken back the ability to nix wind power projects they don’t like. ...Backlash against the loss of zoning review by the Land Use Planning Commission prompted a 2015 law allowing communities to restore that regional authority over wind projects.
Fishermen worry about how close they’ll be able to get to the turbines without entering restricted space, and also want to avoid getting traps stuck on underwater wires and moorings. Those boundaries likely will be set by the U.S. Coast Guard much later in the planning process.
Legislation proposed by Maine Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, to prohibit The New England Aqua Ventus 1 project from building two 6-megawatt wind turbines two-and-a-half miles off Monhegan Island could kill the University of Maine-led effort. For now, it is now one of only two projects still in the running for Department of Energy funding.
Martin’s 2013 examination of MPO, kept secret for three years under a legal exception to the state’s open records act, revealed that the program maintained almost no records, making it impossible for Martin to assess its effectiveness in achieving its public mandate: saving money. “The initial response and continued discussions with the staff at Maine PowerOptions were devoid of any metrics or statistics that would help to gauge the effectiveness of the program,” Martin wrote.
In 2008, Governor John Baldacci worked with a very cooperative Legislature to craft a special zoning and permitting process that significantly aided developers seeking to capitalize on Maine’s rural resources for large-scale wind power projects.
Dozens of sparsely populated areas across Maine have won special protections that could pose a hurdle to companies looking to build wind power turbines in some of the state’s windiest areas.
Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, has compiled figures to show transmission rates in the region already are five times higher than they were in 2005. During that period, he said, wholesale electric rates have fallen by 48 percent. That drop is tied to the lower cost of natural gas, which is used to generate half the power supplied by members in Dolan’s association.
EDP Renewables says the need to build new transmission lines and the loss of a power-purchase agreement with utilities in Connecticut contributed to the company's decision to withdraw its application.
Maine people would never allow a massive wind turbine experiment to be placed two miles from the top of Mount Katahdin or just off the shores of Acadia National Park. These are special, almost sacred places. So is Monhegan, which is why this experiment must be moved.
“In July, I informed council that we had to implement the safety shutoff due to its need for repair,” City Administrator Kevin Sutherland wrote in a memo. ...“This turbine has never performed as expected.”
The 2011 contract required the wind power companies to act in good faith to finalize the sale to the cooperative of a 12.54-mile section of transmission line connecting two wind farms ...The parties had agreed that the three wind farms would pay for costs, including repairs and upgrades to the line, which is standard in the industry, the release said. The final contract was never signed.