Library filed under Energy Policy from Maine
A compromise has emerged in the state Legislature that would install a permanent ban on wind energy development in state waters and give the fishing industry a seat at the table on any federal projects that want to connect to land through the state’s jurisdiction. The compromise came from the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, which had been considering a pair of dueling bills on offshore wind. The first was an outright ban of state agencies permitting wind development in the Gulf of Maine proposed by local state Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor). The second was a 10-year moratorium on offshore wind power projects in state waters that came from Governor Janet Mills.
Corporate Surrogates for Massachusetts have spent close to $17 million so far battling a referendum question in Maine that seeks to block the importation of hydroelectricity from Quebec using a power line running through wilderness areas in the western part of the state.
The business groups argue that halting the surcharges would provide some rate relief to both commercial and residential customers at a time when many are having financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. “We’re not looking to decimate these programs, but we are saying, ‘We’ve got to take a breather,’” said Doug Gablinske, executive director of the Energy Council of Rhode Island, which represents large energy users.
Despite earlier opposition, the RPS bill won support from industrial power customers, following an amendment that allows them to opt out of the requirement. Paper mills and other large, energy-intensive manufacturers had warned at a hearing last month that increasing the renewable portfolio standard could lead to higher costs for them and threaten their ability to compete.
A bill that would mandate an increase in the amount of electricity coming from renewable sources to Maine consumers received mixed reviews Tuesday in a legislative committee, with business interests split on the cost and benefits of the mandate ...At issue is an energy policy called the Renewable Portfolio Standard which, under the bill, will increase the mix of new renewable energy sources used to supply electricity to Mainers from 10 percent to 50 percent by 2030.
While developers have applied for space on the regional grid’s interconnection queue, further development will depend on regional activities. Massachusetts, the biggest destination for clean energy, has mandated aggressive targets for clean energy and called for projects throughout the region. It mostly has been preoccupied with offshore wind and eventually, Canadian hydropower.
In her third executive order, Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday ended a 2018 moratorium restricting the issuance of permits for wind turbine projects across the state.
After eight years of what some call obstructionist policies, renewables advocates look forward to Janet Mills in the Blaine House.
As the Maine Wind Energy Act enters a second decade, developers say the state is unlikely to see strings of new turbine towers on the horizon, as market forces overtake policy directives. In 2018, only a 22-turbine wind farm in Hancock County and a four-turbine project in Oxford County have active permit applications. There are several reasons why.
Franklin County residents and elected officials will have the opportunity Monday night to question Central Maine Power Co. authorities about a proposed Quebec-to-Massachusetts power line that would run through six towns and about 33 miles of the county.
Major players in the industry are holding off on $3 billion to $5 billion in spending on land-based projects, waiting to see if Mainers elect a candidate who will be more open to wind power than Gov. Paul LePage.
In other instances, the region’s growing fleet of wind and solar energy generators might have been able to help. But data gathered by ISO-NE found that snow and clouds during the period limited solar output to a small fraction of its potential. Generation from wind farms, too, was variable in the fast-changing weather conditions. At times, wind farms also were unable to feed power to the grid because of transmission-line congestion.
FERC approved ISO-NE’s two-stage capacity auction to accommodate state renewable energy procurements, with Commissioner Robert Powelson dissenting and Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick leveling new criticism on the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) (ER18-619).
LD 1810 would shrink the area where wind developments are eligible for Maine’s abbreviated permitting process and ramp up requirements for projects that would still qualify. Following a series of procedural motions and votes Thursday in the House of Representatives, the bill is in danger of dying because of a disagreement with the Senate over which legislative committee should handle the bill.
New England’s power grid is in good shape now and home solar and energy efficiency efforts mean the region’s annual demand for electricity is projected to decline, according to the grid’s operators. But there are also problems ahead.
Gov. Paul LePage wants to eliminate Maine’s fast-tracked permitting process for commercial wind power projects throughout the state except specific locations within Aroostook County.
Representatives of five transmission projects proposed in July in response to the Massachusetts solicitation for 9.45 TWh/year of hydro and Class I renewables (wind, solar or energy storage) tried to explain why their projects should be among those selected in January. Contracts awarded under the MA 83D request for proposals are to be submitted in late April.
The letter and accompanying resolution — both supported 5-0 — cite the dangers of 500-plus-foot wind turbines and the associated transmission lines they say will forever spoil the “world class beauty” of the region.
Evans-Brown says opponents want to know why their scenery should become the pass-through for Massachusetts' electricity needs, "people who have businesses that would be impacted by the construction, and who believe they're business depends on tourists coming up to visit. There's a very famous pancake parlor that the owner came and gave very impassioned testimony."
A spokesman for a group of island residents behind the bill said the university is responsible for the crisis by changing the scope of the project. What started in 2009 as a scaled-down, temporary experiment has grown to a 20-year, full-scale project with blades that would reach 576 feet above the waterline and an undersea cable to the mainland, at Port Clyde. A project that size, said Travis Dow of Protect Monhegan, can’t help but impact the view for tourists and artists, who drive the island’s summer economy, and the experience for birders, who flock in spring and fall for annual migrations.