Library from Maine
Maine’s quest to become a leader in wind power – producing enough megawatts to light up more than a million homes – has gotten pushback from rural residents who say they want a greater voice in proposals that now bypass them and go directly to the state for review.
The renewable energy giant SunEdison has asked a bankruptcy judge to approve its sale of various wind projects, including a proposal near Moosehead Lake that has generated local opposition.
DIXFIELD — The moratorium on wind power projects came to an end at Monday evening's selectmen meeting when the board voted 3-1 against extending it for another 180 days.
The Board of Selectmen will decide tonight whether to extend the moratorium on wind power projects for another 180 days. ...It would be the fifth moratorium extension in four years.
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.
With giant wind developer SunEdison now bankrupt and struggling to reorganize, several Maine wind energy projects continue to move forward under new management. It appears, according to filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, that before its voluntary bankruptcy declaration in April, SunEdison sold Maine wind farms in Bingham and Oakfield and the Bull Hill project in Township 16 to Terra Nova Renewable Partners, owned by SunE Utility and Novatus Energy. SunEdison also had withdrawn, at least temporarily, an application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the Weaver Wind project — a 22-tubine proposal in the Hancock County towns of Osborn and Eastbrook. But another SunEdison and Novatus project — the 17-turbine, 56-megawatt Hancock Wind farm in Townships 16 and 22 — remains under construction. And according to contractor Reed & Reed, the project, when completed, will boast the largest turbines in the Americas with towers of 382 feet and turbine rotor diameters of 384 feet.
The Atlanta-based energy company Southern Co. has purchased the Passadumkeag Wind project in Grand Falls Township for about $127 million.
This month, residents voted 178-220 against approving the most recent version of the ordinance, which included the state standard for sound limits of 42 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day. The ordinance was written after Patriot Renewables of Quincy, Mass.
There appeared to be multiple controversies on simmer at the same time regarding a possible wind power project in Milton Township that was discussed at the monthly meeting of the Oxford County Commissioners.
The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday evening to sign a letter of support asking the Maine Land Use Planning Commission in Bangor to remove Milton Township from the state's expedited permitting area for wind energy development.
Pattern has agreed to buy rights to SunEdison’s proposed King Pine wind project for about $26.5 million, conditioned upon the project winning a supply contract from a group of southern New England states that solicited clean energy proposals in February.
The San Francisco-based wind energy investors Pattern Energy Group Inc. has reached a deal with the now-bankrupt SunEdison to buy development rights for what would be the state’s single-largest wind farm, located in southern Aroostook County.
The town of Buckfield Maine adopted a wind ordinance that established a setback distance of 1 mile between a wind turbine and the property line of an adjacent property. Noise was limited to no more than 3 dba above the preconstruction sound levels. To access the ordinance, select the link on this page.
RUMFORD — Voters repealed the town's five-year-old wind development ordinance at the annual town meeting Tuesday, 571-452.
“If Weyerhaeuser is pulling the plug on the Misery Ridge project, it’s a great day for the Moosehead region. ...Avoiding this disaster will allow us to redirect or energy and our resources to growing our economy and promoting the richness and world-class natural beauty that makes this region outstanding,”
Sgt. Matt Casavant, of Maine State Police Troop C in Skowhegan, said troopers were escorting the loaded truck from the Quebec border to a wind energy project in Bingham when the driver lost control on a corner in Johnson Mountain Township just before 9 a.m. Monday.
Traffic is delayed on Route 201 near The Forks, after a truck carrying a wind tower rolled onto its side.
“I tried to negotiate in good faith with Democrats to reach a compromise that would not add to the burden of ratepayers,” LePage wrote. “I requested that the bill include all renewables, return all renewable energy credits (RECs) to ratepayers and have a cap on the price we pay in long-term contracts. We could not reach an agreement. They are not serious about reducing the price of energy for Maine families or job creators.”
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.