Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vinalhaven and North Haven Approve Wind Projects

"VINALHAVEN — The cooperative that supplies electricity to Vinalhaven and North Haven is moving ahead with what it says will be the largest coastal wind turbine project in the Northeast.

Members of the Fox Islands Electric Cooperative voted 382 to 5 this week in favor of the plan to erect two or three turbines that will provide electricity directly to residents of the two Penobscot Bay islands without going through the power grid.

The co-op said the turbines are expected to generate 3.5 to 5 megawatts more power than a wind project in Hull, Mass., a coastal town of more than 11,000 year-round residents that gets about 12 percent of its power from two land-based turbines.

Vinalhaven and North Haven have a combined year-round population of 1,500 that balloons to 4,500 during the summer. The turbines are expected to generate enough power for all winter residents, enabling the co-op to sell excess electricity into the grid; in summer, the co-op will have to import power to meet all of its customers' needs.

The overall cost of the project is expected to run between $10 million and $13 million, according to Bill McGuinness, policy specialist with the Island Institute, which has been working on the plans"
- Portland Press Herald

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lobster price down

"A solid harvest and diminished demand from diners adjusting to the weak economy have pushed the retail price of lobster in Maine beneath $6 a pound, tightening the financial squeeze on fisherman struggling with soaring fuel prices.

While fewer locals and tourists overall are shelling out for lobster dinners, some say the affordability -- at a time when most food prices are rising -- has encouraged them to eat more of the seafood delicacy than usual."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Geothermal regulations

"There are an estimated 500 geothermal energy systems in Maine homes and businesses, but only about a half dozen are registered as required under federal and state law. And some engineers and experts warn that a lack of proper regulation is a disaster waiting to happen.

So the state is trying to assess the risk posed by the systems and impose some oversight without discouraging investment in the technology, one of several alternatives to fossil fuels as the cost of heating oil soars.

'We need to promote this technology. It just needs to be done right,' said Erich Kluck, an environmental specialist who runs the state's Underground Injection Control Program. 'If we don't have clean drinking water, the price of oil isn't going to matter.'"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'Great Eastern Mussel Farm shuts down'
"The Great Eastern Mussel Farms Inc. of Tenants Harbor announced this morning it is immediately shutting down the company and laying off its 40 full-time employees.

The company cited increased regulatory challenges, competition from Canadian mussel growers and rising energy costs for the demise of the 30-year-old company. Founded in 1978 by Endicott 'Chip' Davison, the company was a pioneer in developing the modern mussel industry in North America."