Friday, August 29, 2008

Kirby Wind Power work started

"Work has begun on the $320 Kibby Wind Power project on Kibby Mountain in northern Franklin County.

Plum Creek, which owns the land, has started clearing for the 17 miles of roads, and developer TransCanada MaineWind Development Inc. has hired Woolwich construction firm Reed & Reed to lay the roads, build the foundations for the 44 turbines and install them, and construct the electrical collector system, according to the Sun Journal in Lewiston.

The first set of 22 turbines are planned to be operational in December 2009, and the second half in 2010. LURC approved the wind farm in July."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Millinocket mill closure

Portland Press Herald:
"Maine's elected leaders say the Katahdin Paper mill in Millinocket will be closing its doors on or about Sept. 2. The mill previously announced a July 28 shutdown, but later said that date would be pushed back.

Maine's two U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, said Tuesday they're working to see that assistance programs are in place for mill workers. Gov. John Baldacci said he's also working with mill owners to address energy costs.

Baldacci said mill owners are committed to re-starting the mill as soon as a new biomass gasification system is installed. He said the mill could then hire its employees back."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clam Flat Closures Hurting Diggers

Lincoln County News:
"The July 25 movement of a pollution line, closing much of Broad Cove in Bremen to the harvesting of shellfish, has caused a big stink and is a pattern that has rippled from one working waterfront in Maine to the next.

'Something's not going right at the DMR,' said Bremen town selectman Bob Miller, speaking of the schedule by which clam flats are tested and the governing body which regulates the Dept. of Marine Resources, the Food and Drug Administration.

Much of the debate is between what DMR scientists need in order to establish accurate testing results, and the current test results, showing an improvement in water quality and the need to continue harvesting a crop so many in this community rely upon for their livelihood.

According to Amy Fitzpatrick, Director of the Public Health Division at the DMR, the mud flats bordering Broad Cove in Bremen were not meeting the department's clean water criteria in 2006. The DMR tests for fecal matter in water samples taken from the many mud flats up and down the coast of Maine." more...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lobster Fishing Update

Mount Desert Islander:
TREMONT — Dock prices for lobster are low and the rising costs of fuel and bait are squeezing fishermen’s bottom lines. As the profits dwindle, area lobstermen deal with the situation in their own ways. There are several common threads in their opinions of how the scenario plays out.

“The fuel is just killer,” said Wayne Rich of Tremont. “It is almost double what it was last year. Normally, I would run my engine at 2000 to 2100 to cruise; now I am running 1600-1800 rpm.” The slower the engine speed, the better the fuel efficiency.

“I am also not fishing as far out as I normally do. I think guys aren’t running offshore because of fuel,” Mr. Rich said. “If they can catch as much inside as they can outside, they do that for awhile and then they will move them outside in September or October.”

Bar Harbor fisherman Shane Carter is also easing back on the throttle. “I am running the boat a lot easier,” Mr. Carter said. - more

Downeaster Ridership Up

"WASHINGTON D.C. -- Amtrak released figures yesterday that show an increase in ridership through July, including a boost in riders on the Downeaster train, which runs from Portland to Boston.

Overall, Amtrak reports that ridership was up 14 percent in July -- 2,750,278 riders, which marks the most passengers carried in any single month in Amtrak's 37-year history.

The Downeaster carried 48,438 of those passengers in July, which shows a 33.6 percent increase over the previous July.

'Increasing fuel prices, highway congestion, airline issues and environmental awareness continue to make intercity passenger rail extremely relevant and popular,' Alex Kummant, president and CEO of Amtrak, said in a prepared statement. 'Our record-setting ridership and ticket revenue in the month of July alone indicate we will end the year with approximately three million new passenger trip in FY09.'"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Residential windmills send power back to the grid for electricity credits"

"As energy costs skyrocket, the image of one’s electrical meter spinning backward is somewhat tempting. With wind turbine power, that image can become reality.

John Rush and Kate Burgess own Evolo Energy Solutions and Evolo Home Center in Newport. Evolo Energy Solutions offers renewable energy systems including solar thermal systems that provide domestic hot water and radiant-floor space heating, solar PV systems that provide electricity, and wind turbines for homes and small businesses
“We have varying sizes of wind turbines available,” Rush said. “Our largest is 10 kilowatts, and that is large enough to run a small farm or business.”

Rush explained that the newer types of wind turbine systems work in conjunction with the utility grid. On days when the wind is blowing, the electrical meter literally spins backwards, banking electrical credits for those days when the wind does not blow. The best candidates for wind turbine power are “interested in producing their own renewable, domestic energy, and have a good wind resource — areas on hills near bodies of water, for example,” Rush said. “There are a number of places all over the state that have good wind resources, but certainly not everyone does.”

Norway Looking to Wind Power
"NORWAY - Wes Wentworth has a vision of windmills on top of Pike's Hill overlooking picturesque Lake Pennesseewassee. The 150-acre Roberts Farm Preserve was once a model dairy farm owned by former Maine Commissioner of Agriculture John A. Roberts.

Wentworth of Norway said he hopes his proposal for the town to undertake the project will generate enthusiasm as it did when Saco officials paid $200,000 to put a 100-foot tall turbine just across the Saco River from the historic downtown shopping district in February.

'The monies generated (from energy produced) will save taxpayers. Saco did it,' said Wentworth of the turbine Saco erected in hopes of producing at least 90,000 kilowatts of electricity each year and saving about $12,600 in city energy costs."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Irving Mill Closing

NASHVILLE PLANTATION, Maine -- Irving Forest Product's Pinkham Saw Mill in Aroostook County is being permanently closed, resulting in the loss of 64 jobs.

Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith said workers were briefed Tuesday on plans to close the mill on Aug. 25. The company cited the ongoing slump in home construction as well as a 97 percent increase in fuel costs and a 40 percent increase in transportation costs since 2000.

The company said a fire that destroyed part of the mill on Monday accelerated the timetable. Irving hopes some workers will take jobs at the company's other operations in Maine. more ....
MTW Portland

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gulf of Maine Wind Farm Plan

"BANGOR — A Boston-based developer of wind turbines that can operate in deep waters has been meeting with state leaders about plans for a large wind power project at an undetermined site in the Gulf of Maine.

'What we're trying to do is focus in and find an appropriate location in the state of Maine that will have minimal impact on the fisheries and the environment,' said Raymond Dackerman, general manager of Blue H USA.

The company said it's aiming for a site far enough at sea that any large turbines would not be visible from land.

Maine has emerged as one of the premier areas on the East Coast for wind energy, but all projects approved or proposed thus far are based on land.

Experts estimate that more than 100,000 megawatts of potential wind energy could be tapped in the Gulf of Maine, which has strong and steady winds year round.

Blue H USA claims to have developed and patented a turbine that is shorter and lighter than most land-based industrial turbines yet produces more power."
- Portland Press Herald

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trust May Sell Land to Developer

"A controversial proposal to sell seven acres of conservation land on Crystal Spring Farm to a developer will go before members of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust this fall.

The land trust wants to sell the property between Baribeau Drive and Pleasant Hill Road and use the money to help conserve farmland in western Brunswick.

It intends to put the issue to a vote of members as early as October, said executive director Angela Twitchell.

The organization's board has debated the issue since it received a proposal last spring from an unidentified developer who wants to build a long-term care facility on the site.

The parcel is in the city's Medical Use Zone, and has less conservation value than the remaining 155 acres of the north parcel of Crystal Spring Farm, said land trust president Tom Settlemire.

'This is a piece of land that is not a high priority in terms of land conservation. It came as part of the package, and we identified right from the start that we could use proceeds from the sale of this land to conserve other pieces,' Settlemire said.

The land trust raised $2.2 million to buy the Crystal Spring Farm-North parcel. Some members who contributed to the campaign have called the proposed sale a betrayal, and say it violates the spirit of the fundraising campaign." - more
- Portland Press Herald