Articles from Maine

LePage slams ‘green’ energy at clean-tech business forum

LePage admonished participants at the forum, many who are involved in clean-sector businesses focused on energy efficiency, biomass, solar and wind power, not to expect the public to foot the bill for the cost of research and development. A vocal opponent of Maine’s wind power policies and any additional costs they put on ratepayers, LePage indicated the state now seems to be favoring solar subsidies.
20 Mar 2014

Could a governor-backed bill put Maine's wind future In jeopardy?

L.D.1791 was amended to keep the megawatt goals - a small victory for wind advocates - but the bill now also seeks to require developers to prove a project’s economic worth before receiving approval from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The original bill had included a goal, not a mandate, that a developer substantiate job creation and lower electricity rates.
18 Mar 2014

Judge: Maine DEP chief Aho’s actions in wind case 'had no rational basis'

In a ruling issued Monday, Kennebec County Superior Court justice Michaela Murphy overturned a controversial regulatory decision Aho made in June 2011 involving noise violations at a Vinalhaven wind farm, saying there was “no rational basis or relevant evidence” to support it. Aho’s decision, which reversed the recommendations of DEP staff and the Attorney General’s Office, was the exact outcome sought by Vinalhaven’s Fox Island Wind, which was represented by Pierce Atwood, the state’s largest law firm, where Aho had worked until earlier that year.
13 Mar 2014

Court rules against Maine DEP for failing to enforce of wind turbine noise standards: Vinalhaven

After three years of litigation, a Maine Superior Court decision has finally found in favor of wind turbine neighbors complaining about excessive noise from three nearby 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbines. Although citizens across the United States living near wind turbines are complaining -- including lawsuits against wind turbine operators --  this is the first court case where a state judge has found against a state agency charged with enforcement; the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
13 Mar 2014

CMP wants Mainers who generate their own power to pay more

When those customers are generating power from their own energy sources, they’re not buying power from CMP, thereby reducing the company’s revenue. CMP wants to charge those customers a special rate to reflect the fact that even though they aren’t buying power all the time, they expect CMP to provide them with reliable distribution service. It’s an issue in other states, too, as power companies adapt to increasing power generation “behind the meter,” on-site by small-scale producers.
11 Mar 2014

Maine gov's bill would change state's windpower goals

Six years into a state plan to charge ahead with wind development, the game may be changing. Gov. Paul LePage has put forth a bill that would shift the goal posts and redefine what the state expects from its wind projects. While the LePage administration argues that the state can and should switch strategies, pro-wind interests say the bill is just the latest attempt to tackle the industry before it can gain any yardage.
6 Mar 2014

Court casts doubt on First Wind, Emera joint venture

At issue is the role of each company in the electricity market. Emera distributes electricity. First Wind generates it, through wind turbines. When Emera joined with First Wind in 2012 to create a new power generating company, that presented a problem, says Eric Bryant, senior counsel with the Maine Public Advocate. "Because it controls the poles and the wires, it could do things to its grid that would favor one type of generator over another," Bryant says.
5 Mar 2014

High court overrules state approval of multimillion-dollar wind energy deal

The court’s decision puts into question the validity of the deal among the four companies. The deal was undertaken after getting PUC approval; if that approval is invalid, can the deal still stand? “It does create a certain moment of awkwardness as to exactly what the status quo is at this point,” said Welch. “We’re certainly going to be soliciting the views of all the parties in the case as to what they think the implications of this are.”
4 Mar 2014

Maine gov seeks to get rid of wind energy goals

Maine set ambitious goals to spur wind power development but now Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the targets don’t really help the state and are so far out of reach as to be meaningless, so why have them?A bill recently introduced by the governor would do away with the megawatt targets and replace them with goals to expand economic opportunities and lower electricity prices.
2 Mar 2014

By streamlining wind approval, Maine Legislature is preparing to sell out northern Maine

LD 1750 gives a blank check to foreign and out-of-state industrial wind companies to build thousands of huge turbine towers across the middle and top half of Maine with limited environmental review. Southern Maine voters don’t want wind turbines there, so the Legislature is effectively arranging for hundreds of towers to be built in northern and central Maine where, under current law, residents won’t even get the chance to decide if they want these huge industrial zones or not.
20 Feb 2014

Maine groups reach agreement with wind developer

"This does more for PR value for First Wind than it does anything else," says Chris O'Neil, who is with Friends of Maine's Mountains, which actively opposes the 62-turbine project in Bingham, Kingsbury Plantation and Mayfield Township. He says he's glad that the groups got something out of the agreement, but wonders why First Wind would offer anything at all, given that the groups presented no real challenge to the project.
19 Feb 2014

Maine gov. pushes back against wind energy bill

State officials under Republican Gov. Paul LePage say the Democratic-supported bill would prevent regulators from receiving information needed to weigh wind energy projects. And Patrick Woodcock, director of the governor’s energy office, spoke against the measure. He told the committee the proposed decision-making process ‘‘would continue to try to simply rubber stamp projects going forward without asking those questions about how can we help this project benefit the Maine people.’’
18 Feb 2014

Bingham hearing again pits First Wind project backers against opponents

More than 100 supporters and opponents of what would be the state’s largest and most expensive wind project presented their views Wednesday night in a public hearing called by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. They spoke of noise and light pollution, quality-of-life issues, the economic benefits of wind power and the partnership of private land owners and business.
13 Feb 2014

Maine Voices: Bill favoring wind industry threatens to muzzle Maine citizens, regulators

This hastily prepared assault was crafted by the industry with the clear intention of hijacking the public process, restraining regulators and punishing opposition. It’s a mirror image of how the industry secured their highly favorable 2008 Wind Act ...L.D. 1750’s arrival at the end of a short legislative session serves to stifle public debate and allows Alfond and his cronies to push through their fix with minimal public scrutiny.
13 Feb 2014

Acoustics expert disputes wind company’s noise study

An acoustics investigator is disputing a recently released report that indicated Beaver Ridge Wind in Freedom is operating at noise levels below the noise limit required of similar wind projects. Stephen Ambrose, of Windham, reported to the legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee that he felt the report, which was conducted by an independent third party, failed to take into account noise results from particularly windy days.
6 Feb 2014

UT residents take back rights in wind energy development

Hosting the meeting was Katherine Cassidy. Cassidy reminded the audience that the focus of the assembly was not targeted towards future wind power development in Maine. The urgent cause for the gathering was to recognize that the rights of certain citizens are being jeopardized. “It’s not about wind power. It’s about citizens rights,” said Cassidy.
5 Feb 2014
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