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."