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Long-running efforts to secure a power contract for the first floating wind farm in the United States suffered a setback Tuesday when the Public Utilities Commission decided to delay its approval. Without a long-term power contract, the experimental project off Maine’s coast near Monhegan Island is in danger of losing future federal funding, making it extremely difficult to finance the project.
The Land Use Planning Commission voted against adding approximately 25,000 acres to the expedited permitting area for wind power in northern Franklin and Somerset County at its meeting Tuesday. The expansion would have helped facilitate the development of a 130-plus turbine project proposed by a renewable energy company.
A Maine planning commission will consider a rule-making petition Wednesday that requests expansion of the expedited permitting area for wind energy development by nearly 25,000 acres in northern Franklin and Somerset counties.
Wyman & Simpson, Inc., a Richmond-based construction company, submitted the only bid to the public works department for $30,000 to remove the turbine. Public Works Director Patrick Fox said the bid was much higher than expected and city officials will speak to Wyman & Simpson about lowering the cost of the project.
"Putting an industrial plant a few miles off shore and then bringing the cable for the transmission of power into this tiny village and bringing it straight up the peninsula would really disrupt both of those activities - tourism especially, and lobstering and fishermen, absolutely," Blum says.
Opponents of an offshore wind project slated for development off Monhegan Island will take their fight to a new level Tuesday, when they plan to file a petition designed to prevent cables delivering electricity from the project to the mainland from passing through St. George.
The wind turbine never came close to generating the amount of energy promised, and Entegrity Wind went bankrupt in 2009, thus making the guarantee invalid. The wind turbine, in need of repair, was shut down last year due to safety concerns, according to City Administrator Kevin Sutherland.
After discussing the idea of following their counterparts in Somerset County by drafting a letter in formal opposition to additional industrial-scale wind development for customers in Massachusetts overlooking Moosehead Lake, the Piscataquis County Commissioners signed a document of their own during an Oct. 3 meeting.
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.
“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 preferences of Massachusetts utilities and policymakers could advance a range of massive wind, solar or power lines through Maine by 2022.
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.
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.
Lawmakers will consider two bills that seek to address deficiencies in the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which even advocates admit isn't working as intended.
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.
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.