Articles from Maine
More than 60 commercial fishermen and their supporters testified Tuesday in favor of a bill that would block any attempt to develop offshore wind projects anywhere along the Maine coast. The bill would prohibit any state agency from permitting or approving any offshore wind energy project regardless of its location. It was introduced by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, a commercial fisherman, and co-sponsored by eight other Republican lawmakers.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Sprawling wind farms located off the coast. Hydropower transmission lines that cut through some of America’s most beloved forests and rivers. Solar megaprojects of unprecedented size.
But several counties and towns are finding out they are getting less revenue out of the wind projects than they had expected when they were wooed in the 2000s and 2010s by developers looking to erect turbines several hundred feet tall along local remote, elevated ridgelines. In some cases, the developers are arguing that recent advancements in wind turbine technology have made newer models so efficient that older, less efficient turbines erected nearly a decade or more ago have lost much of their taxable value.
According to a letter sent to Helix Maine Wind Development on March 4 by the Maine Revenue Services Property Tax Division, the state reduced the valuation of the 44-turbine facility by $54.86 million. As a result, a refund of $469,611.60 is warranted for property in the townships of Wyman, Jim Pond, Kibby, Chain of Ponds and Skinner for tax year 2020, according to supervisor Lisa Whynot's letter to Helix. The refund to Helix is expected to be issued within four to six weeks.
Maine's ambitious goal of cutting carbon out of its economy by the mid-21st century is facing a harsh reality: The network of wires and substations built to feed power from central generating stations to homes and businesses isn't up to the job of handling the two-way, intermittent flow of energy from solar and wind farms to electric vehicles, heat pumps and giant storage batteries.
Maine’s burgeoning solar industry is up in arms, after many developers received emails from Central Maine Power last week indicating that their projects are causing technical problems at substations that could require costly upgrades. The controversy is erupting as scores of solar developers are building and proposing projects in Maine worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The Gulf of Maine looks huge but it's not, and 99 percent is being fished,” said Cushman. "16 miles is not a little area, and maybe just the beginning, we don’t know." He predicts fishermen will lose prime ground for lobstering, which will, in turn, cost them and the economy millions of dollars.
In a letter to licensed commercial fishermen, Mills announced that she will ask the Legislature to approve a 10-year moratorium on new offshore wind projects in waters managed by the state, which extend three miles from shore. The ban, however, wouldn’t include the already permitted New England Aqua Ventus demonstration site off Monhegan island.
The court granted a temporary injunction sought by opponents ordering the company to stop work on the entirely new section of the proposed line until judges can review a legal dispute related to it. That effectively stopped work on that part of the corridor until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit takes further action.
In court papers Monday, the developer says access road plowing started Monday and construction is expected to begin on or about Jan. 18.
Maine fishermen say that Gov. Janet Mills’ plan for a state-led offshore wind project is being rushed. And now news that a developer is considering a new commercial-scale wind project off the coast is adding to their fears.
The location for the turbines hasn’t been identified, but the state is seeking a site that would minimize impact on fishing activity, limit visibility from the coastline and be away from highly trafficked waters and other offshore activities. The cost of the project is unknown and will depend on the scale and designs, state officials said. They hope it will be operating within about 5 years.
But two energy developers who weren’t among the winners challenged the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s award of the projects ...On Tuesday, the three commissioners unanimously dismissed the requests by the two developers, Clearway Renew LLC of California and Longroad Energy of Massachusetts.
Maine’s largest-ever procurement of renewable-power contracts was hailed in September as a historic step on a path to reaching ambitious climate change goals. But today, those contracts are under fire from two dissatisfied developers.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved contracts for 17 renewable power projects on Sept. 22, including a 20-megawatt (MW) wind farm known as Silver Maple Wind in Clifton and a 100-MW solar project in Hancock known as Three Rivers Solar.
A 180-day moratorium ordinance to give the town of Belgrade time to update its ordinances related to development such as commercial solar and wind facilities, telecommunications towers and subdivisions is up for discussion.
A global clean-energy investment company is teaming up with a Falmouth-based solar development firm on plans to build a $100 million trio of utility-scale solar electric projects in Maine. The projects are part of a suite of seven large solar farms being developed in New England by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments and North Light Energy. The three Maine projects would be built in Livermore Falls, Lewiston and Garfield Plantation, near Ashland.
The University of Maine will collaborate with New England Aqua Ventus LLC, which includes two global energy companies that are investing $100 million in the project. That investment comes on top of $47 million in grants already awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
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.