Articles from Maine
According to the draft analysis, northern long-eared bats and little brown bats are listed as state species of special concern and are being considered for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are among the least common bats to be killed by wind turbines, but concern has risen because of the rise of white-nose.
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public meeting 12 February to review the report on the developer’s permit application. DEP commissioner Patricia Aho will preside over the session and gather public comments.
And now with Maine’s southern neighbors halting industrial wind in their states, they’re paying to build thousands of turbines in Maine, to devastate every magnificent Maine ridge, pinnacle and mountain with howling machines more than 50 stories high, some so tall they’ll be the third-tallest structures in New England.
With the agreement they made public Thursday, the governors — five Democrats and one Republican — started to broach the specifics of introducing more natural gas to a region that is often cut off from the benefits of America’s natural gas revolution.
One trend that has come clear is the existence of historic migration corridors the birds favor. Another trend shown by the data is how sub-adult eagles show “fidelity” or an attachment to the nest site where they hatched.
“Our energy prices are becoming more expensive for businesses competing across the world, and the Maine people are spending more of their disposable income on energy,” LePage wrote in a message to the Legislature. “Maine’s energy policy has been focused on streamlining wind development that is almost completely contracted with southern New England states. This is not helping Maine lower electricity prices or assisting Mainers with their high heating costs.”
The survey asks people to rate their level of support for the project based on their current knowledge. On a scale of 1 to 5, with “1” the least supportive, 63 percent checked “1.” Fifteen percent went with “2”; 5 percent rated their level of support a “3”; 8 percent, a “4”; and 9 percent checked “5,” the most supportive option regarding the project Maine Aqua Ventus is pursuing.
A long-term contract, as laid out in a finalized term sheet, will now be negotiated between Maine Aqua Ventus and Central Maine Power, which is the utility within whose jurisdiction the pilot project would be generating power. The term sheet approved Tuesday calls for Maine Aqua Ventus to sell electricity to CMP for 23 cents per kilowatt hour. The PUC will review and approve the final contract.
Under a bill being considered by the Energy, Utility and Technology Committee, the state could seek an assessment of the visual impact of a wind project as far as 15 miles from a scenic resource, like the Appalachian Trail, instead of 8 miles as it's written in current law.
For the fourth year in a row, Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is pushing to roll back or significantly change portions of Maine law aimed at boosting in-state renewable energy production. LePage says he wants to level the state’s energy-production playing field and open the door to cheap, renewable hydropower from Quebec and maritime Canada.
Brighton Plantation was approached by First Wind about a potential site for the project, but the town has a zoning ordinance that doesn’t allow for commercial and industrial development. "he project is right across our border and some of us are concerned that with it being so close to our town borders and us being a small town whether they will be respecting our borders.”
Lannicelli said Friday that most residents were worried that they were powerless to stop the project. She said a recent outreach efforts by Maine Aqua Ventus had only heightened the panic among some people on Monhegan. She said many were concerned about the politics of the project and the influence of its potential benefactors.
But the situation has prompted some soul-searching as some residents worry more wind turbines will turn the woodsy state into New England's utility closet. Opponents also question wind power's environmental merits and say turbines aren't worth spoiled views or noise. Larry Dunphy, a Republican state representative, recently posited a future when "you won't be able to climb a mountain without seeing blinking red lights and spinning turbines."
Federal regulators are being asked to resolve a regional rift over who should pay for new power lines needed to carry renewable electricity to southern New England. Vermont has joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island to oppose the cost-sharing formula being promoted by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. ...the more populated states are trying to offload much of the cost of the new power projects on other states in New England.
Two environmental groups are going head to head over the impact on wildlife and the future benefits of wind energy development in Maine. Friends of Maine’s Mountains challenged Maine Audubon on Thursday to retract a recent report that says wind energy is sometimes compatible with wildlife, and to acknowledge funding it receives from the wind power industry.
The opposition group suggested they’re suspicious that what could be considered a report beneficial to developers was written in part because First Wind, Patriot Renewables and attorneys and supporters of those firms can be found among Maine Audubon’s corporate partners. “They’ve basically given wind developers a free pass ...We speculate it’s because they’ve gotten chummy with the wind developers, and that’s possibly influencing their report and misleading the people of Maine.”
Horton’s 12-page decision states the town ordinance requires pre-construction contour maps, which were waived by the planning board, and the maps are needed to determine other sound factors within the plan. “Pisgah’s admitted failure to submit any such maps means that its application should not have been approved,” the judge wrote.
It is troubling that, although the report is replete with disclaimers and acknowledged weakness by the authors themselves regarding the types of information that went into the work and the limitations of any conclusions stemming from it, it has been confidently presented to the public as a tool that would reliably serve as guidelines for siting land-based wind energy development. I'm not aware that during any stage of the project's development that any effort was made by MAS to bring in biologists from academia, as well as state and federal wildlife agencies for input.
Peace and tranquility that Gosselin says he no longer has ever since 28 wind turbines were placed on top of Mars Hill mountain in 2007. “It sounds like a loud airplane overhead never leaving for it’s destination,” Gosselin said.
The Board of Environmental Protection on Thursday rejected two challenges to permits granted earlier this year for the $110 million Hancock Wind project in Hancock County.