Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Offshore Wind Test Sites Choosen

Portland Press Herald:
"The first experimental offshore windmill is expected to be installed late next year in waters south of Monhegan Island, off Port Clyde. Developers have yet to come forward with plans for the other two sites, one near Boon Island in York County and the other near Damariscove Island, south of Boothbay Harbor.

Baldacci called the effort the first of its kind in the country and said it holds huge potential for creating clean energy and Maine jobs. 'This is where the future lies,' he said."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Washington County Windfarm

Bangor Daily News:
"First Wind plans to erect 17 wind turbines on Jimmey Mountain and Owl Mountain north of Route 169 in northern Washington County. The project, dubbed Stetson II, will extend First Wind’s 38-turbine Stetson Wind facility that was completed earlier this year on a ridgeline just south of Route 169.

Massachusetts-based First Wind received regulatory approval for Stetson II earlier this year but, like other wind power companies nationwide, had trouble lining up financing after the lending market for wind energy projects collapsed because of the recession."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wind Power Fails

The problems in Kittery and Saco show that the site for windmills need to be thoroughly assessed before turbines are put up.

Portland Press Herald:
"In Maine, the theory and the practice never matched.

Saco and Kittery bought the wind turbines with the assurance that they would generate about 90,000 kilowatts a year. Entegrity guaranteed that output with the payment promise.

Saco's windmill generated only about 16,000 kilowatts from the time it was installed in February 2008 until this August, when a meter stopped transmitting data.

In Kittery, where the windmill was supposed to power a trash transfer station and lower the electricity bill for nearby Shapleigh Middle School, the machine generated about 35,000 kilowatts from September 2008 until this fall, when hydraulic brakes malfunctioned, locking the blades in place."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tidal Energy Project

"Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. will launch a demonstration project of its proprietary tidal turbine generator technology by early next year in Cobscook Bay, and expects to connect its first full-scale turbine to the power grid by the end of 2010.

'Once launched, the Energy Tide 2 will deploy the largest ocean energy device ever installed in U.S. waters,' said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC in a release. A prototype was launched in 2007 and tested for more than a year."

Vinalhaven Wind Turbines Up

Portland Press Herald:
"And on Tuesday, the $14.5 million Fox Islands Wind project officially goes on line with a ribbon-cutting event, marking the completion of Maine's first island wind project. It's also the largest community-owned wind project on East Coast.

Vinalhaven itself is a step back in time, a small, close community that looks out for its own. Stacks of lobster traps adorn the docks, and the cut granite that has been the island's industry for more than 100 years is everywhere.

The island has long generated its own power. Tidal waters flow under the Tidewater Motel, through the remains of a mill system that once used hydropower to run a granite cutting operation and a blacksmith's bellows with a network of belts. At one time, a coal-fueled power plant operated near where the ferry landing sits today."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Too Much Wind?

Sun Journal:
"Instead, everyone learned that such a project might not even be viable, because First Wind studies so far show that wind atop Black Mountain is too strong for wind turbine engineering to handle, said Matthew Kearns, vice president of business development for First Wind.

'The gusts are extraordinary, and that's a problem for wind turbine bearings,' Kearns said. 'Turbine blades like a nice even wind.'

He said Black Mountain meets the minimum siting requirements for wind turbines, but the wind is too intense."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kibby Ridge to StartUp

The Boston Globe:
"The ceremony will mark the completion of the first 22 windmills and the start of their production of power, which will flow to Central Maine Power Co. and through its interconnections to the New England grid.

The second 22 windmills in the project, on Kibby Ridge, are scheduled for completion in late summer or early fall of next year, said Corey Goulet, vice president of energy projects for TransCanada. The portion of the project to be dedicated today will provide the equivalent average energy needs of 25,000 homes.

When all 44 windmills are completed, the Kibby Mountain windmills will provide twice that power and become New England’s largest wind power project. It has an overall cost of $320 million, said Goulet."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Herring Catch To Be Cut

Portland Press Herald:
"Fishery managers from around the Northeast met Tuesday in Portland to discuss deep cuts in the herring catch for 2010. No final decisions will be made until November, but scientists are calling for a 53 percent reduction from this year's catch limit because of uncertainty about the health of the population."

Wind Meeting Draws Protestors

While the Governor was inside praising the prospects of wind power in the State, several protesters picketed outside. Portland Press Herald:
"He spoke about the importance of energy independence, as well. 'We've been through too many contrived (oil) shortages, real or imagined, that are outside of our control,' Baldacci said.

He acknowledged the protesters who began to gather outside the civic center about 10 a.m.

'Everybody needs to be heard from,' he said, 'but we need to take action.'"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Group Appeals Roxbury Wind Farm Permit

Sun Journal:
"The appellants want a public hearing held based on 'credible conflicting medical and technical information regarding the licensing criterion,' mainly on perceived noise to be generated by the turbines.

A hearing, they say, would help the DEP's Board of Environmental Protection understand the evidence.

The 58-page document was sent to BEP Chairman Susan Lessard, DEP Commissioner David Littel and Robert Gardiner of Record Hill Wind LLC, the company that is currently building a 22-turbine, 55-megawatt wind farm.

Board of Environmental Protection executive analyst Cindy Bertocci in Augusta acknowledged on Wednesday that she had started examining it."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plum Creek Approved

Press Herald
"A sprawling resort and residential development at the gateway to Maine's North Woods won a state planning board's unanimous approval Wednesday.

Plum Creek Timber Co.'s proposal, which would be the largest of its kind in the state, received the go-ahead nearly five years after the Seattle-based company announced plans to build two resorts and more than 2,000 housing units near Moosehead Lake."

Monday, September 21, 2009

'Green' House

Portland Press Herald:
"The farmhouse-style house rising in an old field here will likely become the state's most energy-frugal home, its builders say, using 90 percent less fuel than a typical new home.

This structure is so airtight and heavily insulated, and so well oriented to the sun, that the builders are leaving out any real heating system. And thanks to solar panels on the roof, the owner won't pay anything for heat or hot water. Not ever.

But what makes this project even more noteworthy is that the three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot house is expected to cost roughly $225,000, minus land. That's on par with typical custom-built homes in Maine. And costs could drop, the builders say, if the techniques being used here are adopted in mass production."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wind farm approved near Rumford

The Portland Press Herald: "AUGUSTA -- Maine environmental regulators have given their final go-ahead to a 22-turbine wind farm near Rumford whose principals include former Gov. Angus King.

The $120 million windmill project is to be built on ridgelines of Partridge Peak, Flathead Mountain and Record Hill in Roxbury. It would become Maine's fourth major wind farm."

Monday, August 17, 2009

'Maine's windkeepers'
"Maine's shipbuilding and seafaring renown have long been cultivated by Maine Maritime Academy. But the Castine school years ago diversified its programs to also prepare students who might seek work in land-based power plants.

'We saw many of our marine engineers coming ashore and transferring their skills to land-based power plants and industrial power projects,' said Janice Zenter, school spokeswoman. She sees that as a natural jump for those trained as mariners."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Conservation fishery program

"Three conservation organizations are launching a novel plan to work with the local fishing industry to support sustainable fishing practices in the state.

The Nature Conservancy, Island Institute and Penobscot East Resource Center have joined forces to purchase two groundfishing permits, which they will make available to fishermen doing research on more sustainable fishing practices, according to a press release. The organizations are covering the costs of the research, including the permits, fuel, fishermen's time and time for research supervision scientists. The practice is called permit banking and will allow the organizations to work with fishermen on collaborative research projects without asking them to use their valuable days at sea associated with each permit."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kennebec Tidal Energy Project Dropped

"Maine Tidal Energy Co., which had proposed a tidal energy project in the Kennebec River near Bath, has dropped its proposal because of 'local hostility,' according to The Times Record.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Maine Tidal a preliminary permit to study the area of the Kennebec between Bath and Woolwich for a potential 100-megawtt tidal energy project. However, Mike Hoover, general counsel for Washington, D.C.-based Oceana Energy Co., Maine Tidal's parent firm, said the company is surrendering its preliminary permit after finding that 'insufficient development potential exists for pursuit of either a full development or pilot project there,' according to a letter he sent to FERC dated May 31, 2009."

Wiscasset Tidal Project Progresses

"Federal regulators today have granted initial approval to a tidal power project proposed by the town of Wiscasset and the Chewonki Foundation.

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission has issued a preliminary permit to the town and the foundation to study using tidal currents in the Sheepscot River to generate electricity, according to a press release. The permit will allow town and Chewonki officials to collect data on how much electricity could be generated, data needed in order for the town and Chewonki to apply for a full license application. Wiscasset has three years to submit that application. If the project receives final approval, it would include four to 40 turbines and a 6-mile-long underwater transmission cable.

Wiscasset first applied for the permit last November, according to the release."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kittery Windmill to be Removed

A windmill in Kittery will be taken down because it did not generate the expected power.

Portland Press Herald:
"The maker of a windmill in Kittery will refund the town nearly $200,000 and remove the turbine after a disappointing eight-month demonstration project, the town announced today.

The 50-kilowatt wind turbine on top of a hill at the Kittery Waste Transfer Station has been in operation since October, but generated less than 15 percent of the expected electricity, Town Manager Jon Carter said in a news release.

The turbine, manufactured by Entegrity Wind Systems of Boulder, Col., has a solid track record in the Great Plains, according to Carter. Its underperformance at the Kittery site was most likely due to ground clutter -- trees and buildings -- that caused significant wind turbulence, he said."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

CMP v. GridSolar

A pro CMP op-ed (by their CEO), and a pro Gridsolar article:
"According to Central Maine Power’s projections, the state’s growing energy demands will soon exceed the company’s generating capacity at peak times. Unless the state comes up with a solution, that could mean grid failures and blackouts in Vacationland.

CMP’s solution is to spend $1.5 billion to build new high voltage transmission lines and update existing lines. But representatives from GridSolar think there’s a better way. The GridSolar project proposes to develop up to 800 megawatts of solar generation to meet the demands of peak load growth."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wind Farm Permitted

Bangor Daily News:
"The Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued First Wind of Massachusetts a permit Tuesday to build a 40-turbine industrial wind site for $130 million on Rollins Mountain in Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn.

“The Department finds that the applicant has demonstrated that the proposed project will provide significant tangible benefits to the host community and surrounding area,” according to the department’s 64-page report on the project, which was issued Tuesday.

Lincoln Town Council chairman Steve Clay hopes to see construction begin soon." .....

Tidal Power Testing

Bangor Daily News:
"EASTPORT, Maine — The U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday that it hopes to have a tidal power generator in the water by the end of summer to provide electricity to Station Eastport.

Sector Northern New England, in partnership with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center in New London, Conn., plans to test a tidal generator off Station East-port, the Coast Guard said on its Web site.

The Coast Guard made the announcement on Wednesday — Earth Day.

The Station Eastport facility is located on the breakwater in downtown Eastport.

“Once complete, the station would be the first federal facility in the continental U.S. to use tidal power,” the Coast Guard said.

The project carries a $100,000 price tag and could serve as a prototype for other Coast Guard facilities in Alaska and Washington." ....

Jetport Traffic Down 1%

WMTW Portland:
"The Portland International Jetport said the number of passengers in March dropped for a third consecutive month.

Greg Hughes, the airport's marketing director, said the number of passengers was 132,959, or a drop of 1 percent from a year ago.

But he said it was the airport's second-best March. And he said the airport fared better than a projected nationwide decline of 7.3 percent for the month."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stetson Wind Farm Expansion Approval

Maine Daily News:
"A $60 million expansion of the newly commissioned Stetson wind farm in eastern Maine has won the approval of a Maine regulatory panel's staff, setting the stage for a final vote.

The Land Use Regulation Commission's staff endorsed the 17-turbine project near Danforth in Washington County."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Suit Over Herring Trawlers

Bangor Daily News:
"A group of Maine fishermen is suing the federal government in an effort to ban herring trawlers from groundfish spawning areas.

The fishermen decided Wednesday to pursue the lawsuit against the United States Department of Commerce, according to an attorney from Earthjustice, a national environmental group that represents the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance of Saco and the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association of Port Clyde."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Maine co-ops Growing

Portland Press Herald:
"The people behind the cooperative envision a time when it will provide locally produced foods to more people, operate a community-supported cafe and provide a greater source of income to its worker-owners.
'It's sustaining itself,' said Hanifa Washington, one of the four worker-owners. 'We definitely want more.'
Local Sprouts is just one type of cooperative found in Maine. Other member-owned entities include food-buying clubs, credit unions and cooperatives formed for housing, to provide electricity or to sell the wares of artisans, farmers and fishermen."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Katahdin Times Folds

WMTW Portland:
"The publisher of a northern Maine weekly newspaper said the poor economy and a sharp downturn in advertising are to blame for his decision to shut down the paper.

The Katahdin Times hit the stands for the last time on Thursday.

The paper had been a mainstay in the Millinocket region since the early 1970s."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Peaks Island Wind Power Considered

Residents of the island in Portland are looking into measuring the wind on the island for its potential of electric generation.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Maine Farming Numbers

Portland Press Herald:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest five-year census this week, showing that the number of farms in Maine increased by 13 percent, to 8,136, from 2002 to 2007, compared with a 4 percent increase nationwide. The average size of a Maine farm declined 13 percent, to 166 acres, during the same period.

Overall, Maine farms recorded $617 million in sales in 2007, up 33 percent from 2002.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Scallop season to continue
"PORTLAND, Maine—State officials are backing off from last week's decision to cancel the second half of Maine's scallop season in order to help scallop populations rebuild.

The Department of Marine Resources on Monday approved a 35-day season that begins Feb. 25, but only in selected areas, including Cobscook Bay.

Deputy Commissioner David Etnier said the department sought a way to enable fishermen to have some income but still provide protection for the resource.

The first half of the season ran from Dec. 1 to Jan. 4."

Maine's Great Potential for Wind

Mainebiz looks at the State's vast offshore wind potential, and the challenges capturing it.
"The Sway turbine is long and lean with a mast the color of an overripe lemon. The plan is to tow the mast out to sea with a barge, stand it upright by weighting one end, and pop the blades on the top using a crane on the barge. The turbine is then towed by the barge out to deep water, the base of the stem drops an anchor into the seabed that fills with sand, and the anchor is secured to the mast and the top of the turbine by cables. The result is an elegant wind turbine with a slight lean that alone could produce up to 5 megawatts of energy, or enough to power about 1,000 homes."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jail to be Restaurant and Bakery

"SKOWHEGAN -- The old Somerset County Jail will soon have a new owner who hopes to open a restaurant and bakery on the site that used to house prisoners.

Somerset County commissioners have approved selling the jail for $65,000 -- less than a third of the original asking price -- to Skowhegan artist Amber Lambke. The deal is scheduled to close on March 30.

Lambke says she and her business partner will turn the 14,000-square-foot Victorian-style jailhouse into a multi-use facility with a grist mill, bakery, restaurant and small retail store to sell bread and local fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat and dairy products.

The jail, which was built in 1897 in downtown Skowhegan, shut down last fall when a new 200-bed county jail opened in Madison."

Scallop Season Cut

"PORTLAND -- Maine's scallop draggers and divers have been dealt a blow after regulators canceled the second half of the state scallop season.

The Department of Marine Resources had already cut the season to 70 days, down from 132 days last year.

The first half of the season ran from Dec. 1 to Jan. 4, with the second half set to run from Feb. 25 to March 31.

Deputy Commissioner David Etnier says the second half of the season has now been canceled to help the declining scallop population. He says the resource is in bad shape for a number of reasons, but that the only factor regulators can control is the human element."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wind farm Starts Up
"DANFORTH -- Gov. John Baldacci joined First Wind officials to mark the start of commercial operations at the Stetson Wind power project, which now becomes the largest wind-power facility in New England.

First Wind says the 38-turbine wind farm on Stetson Mountain near Danforth in eastern Maine's Washington County will produce the equivalent power needs of 23,500 homes. Stetson surpasses the Mars Hill wind project in northern Maine as New England's largest.

During today's dedication, Baldacci said Stetson Wind continues Maine's aggressive leadership in pursuing energy independence. Even as the Stetson project goes on line, an extension known as Stetson II is seeking permitting.

In western Maine, TransCanada's 44-turbine project on Kibby Mountain is under construction."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Further Groundfish Cuts

Portland Press Herald reports on proposed National Marine Fisheries Service rules for number of days that can be fished.

Wind Farm on Stetson Mt. Opens
"The 38-turbine wind farm along Stetson mountain's long, low ridgeline of 600 to 1,200 feet is the second in the state completed by First Wind, whose Mars Hill project has been until now New England's largest commercial wind power project. Together, they will produce just under 100 megawatts of power."... more

Friday, January 2, 2009

Shrimp Catch Good

"Catch records for the month of December show Maine's shrimp season started strong.

Fishermen caught an average of 320 pounds of shrimp per hour of towing in December, despite inclement weather that kept many fishermen in port, according to the Mount Desert Islander. That's down from 2007's average of 332 pounds, the latest year for which the Department of Marine Resources has data, but still higher than the 200-250 pounds usually caught per hour during December. But there has not been much market for shrimp since many processors are not yet operating, Les White of the DMR told the paper.

In November, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission decided to extend the 2009 shrimp season, which began Dec. 1, by an additional four weeks in response to an anticipated strong shrimp season, according to the paper."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wind-power Rebates
"AUGUSTA -- The Maine Public Utilities Commission is offering a new incentive for residents and business owners to turn to wind for their energy needs.

The PUC's Efficiency Maine program is offering rebates of up to $2,000 for qualified residential wind energy systems. Non-residential systems that meet program
requirements could be eligible for rebates of up to $4,000.

PUC Chairwoman Sharon Reishus says the new program will give help to those who want to take the next step toward energy independence."