Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Environmental news site redesigned
"The Internet-based Maine Environmental News Service has been redesigned by its new operator, Planet Maine Web Design and Hosting, company officials announced.

“The site has been totally redesigned using the latest in web-based data base technology, said William Sugg of Planet Maine who said he launched the site in 2000 while he worked for the Maine Environmental Policy Institute. “The site now has over 50 volunteer contributors. The site has evolved into an essential resource for Maine professionals working in the environmental field.”

Professionals working on environmental issues can add announcements from their organizations, Sugg said.

The site offers press releases, event information, publications and alerts from Maine environmental organizations, he said, along with news articles and audio from newspapers and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network."

LURC updating plan for North Woods
"AUGUSTA — The Maine Land Use Commission is updating its 1997 Comprehensive Land Use Plan — the blueprint for future use and preservation of the North Woods — and has scheduled public workshops for citizens to register their views.

In central Maine, a workshop will be held in Augusta from 6 to 9 p.m. May 7 at Augusta Civic Center."

Ethanol Refinery
"OLD TOWN (NEWS CENTER) -- The University of Maine and Red Shield Environmental in Old Town now have the financial backing to build an ethanol refinery.

The pulp mill and research university learned on Friday that they are getting a $30 million federal grant from the Department of Energy.

Ethanol is a bio-fuel that can be made out of wood waste.

The university is developing the technology to build a refinery at the Red Shield pulp mill.

Tuesday, state leaders joined Red Shield and UMaine officials to celebrate this significant step forward.

'There aren't many places in the world, if any, that could bring the talent, the technology, the facilities, or the resources together between a visionary company and a leading research university the way that this project does,' said UMaine President Robert Kennedy.

Red Shield is expecting it will take about two years to get the bio-refinery built and on-line.
It expects that the ethanol it produces will be marketed and sold as a gasoline additive.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Offshore wind turbines proposed

King pushes for offshore wind turbines | Portland Press Herald:
"King said Tuesday that the state should launch a massive research and development effort to create a $15 billion network of offshore wind turbines in the Gulf of Maine over the next 10 years. Only something as ambitious as 1,000 turbines spinning 26 miles off the Maine coast will be able to break the state's reliance on oil and prevent an economic catastrophe, he said.

'The Gulf of Maine is the Saudi Arabia of wind,' King said. 'There is nothing I've come across that has the large potential this has We need to be thinking big about this.'

King called for the wind power equivalent of the 'Manhattan Project' during a lecture at Bowdoin College Tuesday evening, referring to the effort that produced the atomic bomb. He said such a 'wind ranch' could provide all of Maine's electricity, as well as heat for its homes and power for its cars."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Downeaster a good investment

Another report indicates that keeping the Downeaster is worth the money.
"The Amtrak Downeaster passenger train will generate billions of dollars in economic benefits in Maine and New Hampshire over the coming decades, according to a new study.

The study, 'Amtrak Downeaster: Overview of Projected Economic Impacts,' was commissioned by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority to identify long-term economic benefits in Maine and New Hampshire associated with development along the train's Portland-to-Boston corridor. It also examined potential economic impacts of expanded service to Brunswick and Rockland."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Wind Power?

Mainebiz reports on a Texas Company looking to build a wind farm.

Houston-based Horizon Energy is examining a wind farm site near Bridgewater, but won't disclose any other potential sites in eastern Aroostook County, according to the Bangor Daily News. The company's long-term plans envision 400 turbines in the county, the paper said.

The company, doing business locally as Aroostook Wind Energy, has been considering northern Maine for wind power development for the past two years, but it recently began approaching land owners about acquiring or leasing land for the turbines and transmission lines, the paper said.

Horizon has not submitted any plans to regulators in Maine, but a project manager for the company told the Daily News it hopes to begin construction on the first wind farm by 2010."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oakhurst goes solar

"Oakhurst Dairy will install solar hot water panels on the roof of its Forest Avenue facility to cut down on energy use and reduce carbon emissions.

The panels represent a step toward the Portland company's goal of reducing carbon emissions 20 percent by 2010. By using the panels to pre-heat water used in the dairy plant, the company said it expects to save 5,000 gallons of heating oil a year. Recovering waste heat from the system will save an estimated 2,500 additional gallons of oil.

Work on the project will begin April 14, Oakhurst said. The project is expected to be done by the end of May.

The company said that, when complete, the panel project will be one of the largest commercial solar energy systems in Maine, with 2,700 square feet of solar panels.

Oakhurst has also converted its fleet of trucks to use biodiesel fuel and improved effiency in refrigeration to cut down on energy use and reduce emissions."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Save energy; Create Jobs

"Maine businesses could save more than $450 million a year in energy costs by adopting cost-effective efficiency measures, according to a report released Thursday by university researchers.

These measures could help create between 1,500 and 2,500 jobs by 2020, the report said, and boost the state's gross domestic product between $170 million and $260 million, depending on energy prices."
- Portland Press Herald

Is lobster green?

"Efforts are under way to have the state's signature seafood certified as sustainable by an international organization that evaluates fishing practices worldwide. With consumers demanding more 'green' food products, the lobster industry stands to lose out if it doesn't get certified, supporters say."
- Portland Press Herald

1,000 turbines by 2020?

"The group's draft report calls for streamlined regulatory review of wind power projects in most regions of the state so that 1,000 or more turbines could be set up by 2020. It also identifies important scenic areas -- places such as Baxter State Park, Acadia National Park and the Appalachian Trail -- that would be protected from the visual impacts of wind farms."
- Portland Press Herald

Real Atlantic Salmon Rebounding?

"For the first time in almost a decade, fishermen will be allowed to cast for Atlantic salmon on the Penobscot River in the spring.

The Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission voted unanimously Thursday to open the river to fly fishing for a limited season this May, despite protests from the federal government and even some anglers."
- Portland Press Herald

Wilbur Yachts Going Strong

"With contracts through June 2009, the yard is plenty busy, a fact which earned recognition recently from the Department of Economic and Community Development. Wilbur Yachts this year is one of two Down East companies that received Pine Tree Development Zone certification. The program is a performance-based tax incentive initiative designed to stimulate growth in targeted business sectors in order to strengthen the economy and create jobs for Maine people."

Biddeford mill keeping busy

"WestPoint Home, which changed its name from West Point Stevens after emerging from bankruptcy in 2005, has more than once reached the verge of obsolescence and found new ways to remain profitable. Forty years ago, as the last of the cotton-weaving mills were leaving Biddeford, WestPoint textile engineers were told to come up with a viable new product or close the factory, according to Bill Plante, the plant's manufacturing and service manager.

In response, inventor Francis Spencer led a group of fellow employees through a process that developed the Vellux blanket. Vellux is a lightweight fabric that consists of a thin layer of foam sandwiched between fluffy coatings of chopped nylon fibers, or flock. The blanket is produced through an adhesive process and requires no weaving."
- Portland Press Herald

Future of Portland Fishing in Doubt

"Groundfishing trawlers, which have vanished from their historic home ports of Rockland, Eastport and Boothbay, now appear to be abandoning Portland, Maine's last remaining groundfishing hub.

Portland's fleet of medium and large draggers left the harbor for Massachusetts before Christmas, and most boats have yet to return. On a recent day, at least 13 Portland-based or formerly Portland-based draggers were in Gloucester Harbor. In Portland, there were two.

The migration has cut the supply of local fish for Portland processors and is costing area businesses that serve the fleet millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Cash-strapped boats are landing fish in Gloucester primarily because they can earn extra money selling lobsters they catch in their nets, a practice allowed in every coastal state but Maine. At least five draggers have left Portland permanently for Gloucester and Boston."
- Portland Press Herald