Articles filed under Energy Policy from Maine
Today we are faced with many issues regarding the previous ecological misuse of our planet. In our mad dash to correct the maligning of our environment we are grasping at alternative sources of energy: mainly wind, solar and hydro. Wind power is the concern of this letter, and Harley Lee's project on the Redington Range is the center of that concern. I wonder if, in our rush to seek alternatives to foreign oil, we may be overlooking our most valuable local natural resources.
We think the Waldo County Commissioners should convene a high-level forum on wind energy and invite people from all over the area. That way, Freedom residents who have experience with turbines and those from other communities that may well decide to welcome them can confer with both experts and each other. The goal could be a countywide approach to wind energy, though that might be getting ahead of ourselves. After the talk is over, at least we'd all be on the same page.
Legislators are trying to overhaul Central Maine Power Co.'s $1.5 billion proposal to install high-capacity power lines throughout the state. One bill would force CMP to bury high-voltage lines near residential areas, schools, playgrounds, children's summer camps and child care facilities. Another would force public utilities, including CMP, to pay for independent appraisals of land they want to take by eminent domain. ...The project would affect about 4,000 abutters statewide. If approved, it is expected to take three to five years to complete.
State regulators on Thursday dismissed a $625 million power grid expansion necessary to support a massive wind farm in northern Maine, putting the so-called Maine Power Connection project on ice for the time being. The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Thursday granted a motion to dismiss the project after Aroostook Wind Energy discovered unanticipated technical hurdles.
Acres of solar-electric panels installed near communities that use lots of power in the summer could be an alternative to a controversial and costly upgrade of the transmission system in southern and central Maine, a Portland-based energy company is asserting. GridSolar LLC suggests erecting solar panels in 25-acre fields, initially around the midcoast and Lewiston-Auburn. The locations would coincide with areas that Central Maine Power Co. has identified as being most prone to future blackouts and reliability problems, GridSolar said.
Wind is the latest Maine resource whose value has been identified by outsiders. In the emerging post-petroleum economy, wind is valued for its potential to produce cheap electricity, and Maine's undeveloped ridge lands provide prime locations for towers and turbines. This has the potential to make businesses building those towers and turbines a lot of money. ...Measuring that benefit is a complex analysis, and difficult to explain.
To state officials and proponents of "green energy," Thursday's ceremony celebrating New England's newest wind farm was a relatively small yet symbolic step toward greater energy independence in Maine. ...But today wind-power projects nationwide are being delayed or put on the backburner due to economic turmoil.
What happened in Roxbury, though contentious, needed to happen. Community-changing projects cannot be built without debate, scrutiny or emotional outburst - it comes with the territory ...What should resonate from Roxbury into the ears of public officials and wind developers across Maine is this: Residents affected by wind projects care deeply about their communities and will fight doggedly to ensure their interests are heard and their demands met.
A proposed wind-energy project designed to send massive amounts of electricity from Aroostook County through southern Maine has been put on hold, due in part to the discovery that a technical glitch in transmitting that power could black out portions of southern New England. The proposal involved hundreds of wind turbines with a total output of 800 megawatts, equivalent to the former Maine Yankee nuclear plant in Wiscasset.
About 25 people attended Tuesday night's hearings on wind power and proposed Roxbury law changes to accommodate wind energy facilities. Most of them opposed such development, planner Mark Henry said. ..."The big thing is that we want to get the issue before the people of Roxbury so they can have their vote," he said.
The Maine Legislature has voted that there should be 3,000 megawatts (a megawatt equals a million watts) of wind power in Maine by 2020. That is something like voting for free ice cream. ...What the country and the state need is a long-range, comprehensive energy policy for the gradual but steady transition away from imported fossil fuels. If there is a magic word, it is "plan."
Selectmen voted Monday to ask the state Legislature pass legislation allowing Carrabassett Valley to annex the upper portion of Redington Township, subject to local voters' approval. The move allows the process and debate to continue so that if the Legislature passes a private and special law, a townwide vote can occur. It will be up to Carrabassett Valley registered voters to make the final decision on annexation. If they approve, then it opens the process for a community-based wind farm to be built.
Residents will head to a special town meeting Tuesday, Jan. 6, to consider approving a six-month moratorium on wind turbines. The vote comes as a third company has expressed interest in erecting wind turbines on town-owned property. ...The warrant for the Jan. 6 meeting states there will be "discussion on the status and findings regarding proposals received," although there is not a specific article calling for a vote on the proposals. There is, however, an article asking voters if they will approve a moratorium "on the issuing of permits allowing for wind turbine construction and development."
The electricity grid in Maine and much of the country can't reliably handle new generation capacity from wind power and other renewable resources, an influential industry group says. Aside from beefing up transmission lines, the group said, states must aggressively promote energy efficiency and manage electricity use to balance the on-again, off-again nature of wind and solar power. ...The report, issued last week by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., is expected to influence debate over plans to modernize Maine's transmission grid.
This week, the state of Rhode Island selected a New Jersey-based company, Deepwater Wind, to finance and construct a 100-turbine windfarm between 15 and 20 miles off shore. The project is estimated to cost $1.5 billion. ...Maine's approach to wind power development - land and offshore - is different. Instead of directing the process, this state has allowed firms to develop their own plans. The process is slow and the results, so far, mixed. Site-by-site proposals from companies have resulted in uneven regulatory reviews and divergent opinions on its gains or drains.
New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers are expected to focus on a regional approach to energy when they begin their annual meeting Tuesday in Bar Harbor, Maine. With an energy-hungry New England market and the five eastern provinces all looking to export new sources of energy, the premiers say maintaining good cross-border relations is crucial. "We'll be able to talk about the commonalities and that's around energy efficiency, around renewable types of energy," said Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald.
A proposed $2 billion upgrade to the state's electric transmission system is contingent, the utility companies say, on Maine not only staying in, but expanding its ties, with the organization that oversees the New England power grid - a relationship the Baldacci administration last year said was costing ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. This year the administration is being asked to change its tune, attracted by the thousands of jobs the transmission projects promise to bring and the connection that would be built to proposed wind projects - all potentially subsidized by other New England states. ...Closer to home, ratepayers in Aroostook County are worried that if Maine Public Service becomes part of the ISO, they will see their electricity costs skyrocket because they would be asked to pick up a share of transmission projects in other states. "I still feel this is a gold rush mentality and people aren't really looking at this," said Sen. Roger Sherman, R-Aroostook.
A University of Maine researcher told members of Congress on Tuesday that offshore wind power offers enormous potential for helping wean the U.S. off its fossil fuel dependence and that Maine is ready to lead the charge in developing the technology. ...These turbines would be located about 20 miles out to sea, making them invisible from land and therefore less likely to encounter opposition from coastal landowners, Dagher said. And unlike the Pickens plan, which focuses on wind power development in the Midwest, offshore wind energy could be located closer to the nation's primary population centers.
The Sun Journal editorial about T. Boone Pickens' wind power development (July 13) was right about the potential of wind power in the Great Plains states, but wrong about the feasibility of transmitting that power across the country to New England. ...While there is some wind potential in Aroostook and Washington Counties, there is less than most people seem to think. Many of the blueberry barren and potato farm field sites that were originally planned for development have proved to lack sufficiently strong winds to make turbines a good investment.
Boisvert said future projects only will result in more spending as the utility carries out needed improvements. She also said one of the most expensive projects on the horizon could be the proposed Coos County Loop. She said this project requires the transmission lines in Coos County to be upgraded so new biomass, wind and solar power generated there can be transported to Southern New Hampshire and other states as needed. Boisvert said PSNH has to carry out that project to meet the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards approved by state lawmakers. ... It has yet to be determined if the costs will be borne by PSNH ratepayers, New Hampshire state taxpayers or shouldered by customers of member utility companies that make up ISO-New England throughout the Northeast. "There's no definitive answer," Boisvert said.