Articles filed under General from Maine
No land closures planned
Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton says the executive order hasn't stopped any wind projects, but one of the groups behind the suit says it could be challenged if any are blocked.
LePage’s executive order says no wind turbine permits are to be issued until a new wind energy advisory commission reports on the impact of wind projects. The commission is collecting public comment until Aug. 15, and court documents say its 15 members, whose names have not been made public, include Governor’s Energy Office Director Steven McGrath.
Investors in clean energy are looking to Maine's gubernatorial election to see if the political opposition to wind power will shift in the state, which is currently leading in Northeast wind generation.
Industry leaders and others gather in South Portland for a 2-day conference to explore the future of the power sector in the Northeast.
The governor will release the names of the members of the wind commission when their first meeting is scheduled, which will likely be later summer or early September, after the public comments have been received,” McGrath replied via email.
The lawsuit from the Conservation Law Foundation, which was filed in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland, asks the court to strike down the order as unconstitutional, saying it violated provisions granting separate powers to Maine’s executive and legislative branches.
Maine Aqua Ventus has identified 11 other possible routes, and the top two options are being evaluated, Ward said. However, details of those top routes are not yet ready to be disclosed, he said. “We continue to work with fishermen, communities and regulators to find an optimum cable route,” Ward said.
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.