Articles from Maine
The Mills administration is partnering with a commercial wind energy company, New England Aqua Ventus, to seek a lease of 16-square miles of federal waters south of for a wind farm of up to 12 wind turbines tens of miles south of Bremen, with a goal of researching novel “floating platform” technology and its effects on ecosystems and fisheries.
While Avangrid has agreed to pay for the upgrade itself, NextEra’s position is that Avangrid should also compensate NextEra for any revenues lost while the Seabrook station is offline to allow the work to happen. In filings it estimated these costs at about $560,000 a day. But Avangrid doesn’t trust its rival not to slow walk the work, especially if there is no net financial cost for it to do so.
Actions by Maine fishermen directly affected the process of offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine with a bill signed into law on July 7 by Governor Janet Mills.
Under the law, new wind projects are now confined to federal waters. LD 1619, sponsored by Sen. Mark Lawrence (D-Eliot), stipulates new offshore wind developments are permanently prohibited in state waters, but will be permitted in federal waters if, by March 2023, the Governor’s Energy Office develops and proposes a planned research strategy to guide the development of such projects.
A compromise has emerged in the state Legislature that would install a permanent ban on wind energy development in state waters and give the fishing industry a seat at the table on any federal projects that want to connect to land through the state’s jurisdiction. The compromise came from the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, which had been considering a pair of dueling bills on offshore wind. The first was an outright ban of state agencies permitting wind development in the Gulf of Maine proposed by local state Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor). The second was a 10-year moratorium on offshore wind power projects in state waters that came from Governor Janet Mills.
The LUPC on May 19 determined that the wind project is an allowed use in the area, with no rezoning required, but is still reviewing whether the plans meet use requirements for the general management subdistrict, as well as protection districts for floodplains, great pond, remote recreation and wetland. The commission has asked for additional site information from Apex, including more detailed maps about location of turbines and other elements, and a history of the land division on the site.
More than 60 commercial fishermen and their supporters testified Tuesday in favor of a bill that would block any attempt to develop offshore wind projects anywhere along the Maine coast. The bill would prohibit any state agency from permitting or approving any offshore wind energy project regardless of its location. It was introduced by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, a commercial fisherman, and co-sponsored by eight other Republican lawmakers.
As the rally was getting underway, Governor Janet Mills unveiled a bill that would enact a 10-year offshore wind development moratorium in state waters while state officials create a “roadmap” on how and if offshore wind will work in Maine. But for many local fishermen who went to the rally, that wasn’t good enough.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Sprawling wind farms located off the coast. Hydropower transmission lines that cut through some of America’s most beloved forests and rivers. Solar megaprojects of unprecedented size.
But several counties and towns are finding out they are getting less revenue out of the wind projects than they had expected when they were wooed in the 2000s and 2010s by developers looking to erect turbines several hundred feet tall along local remote, elevated ridgelines. In some cases, the developers are arguing that recent advancements in wind turbine technology have made newer models so efficient that older, less efficient turbines erected nearly a decade or more ago have lost much of their taxable value.
According to a letter sent to Helix Maine Wind Development on March 4 by the Maine Revenue Services Property Tax Division, the state reduced the valuation of the 44-turbine facility by $54.86 million. As a result, a refund of $469,611.60 is warranted for property in the townships of Wyman, Jim Pond, Kibby, Chain of Ponds and Skinner for tax year 2020, according to supervisor Lisa Whynot's letter to Helix. The refund to Helix is expected to be issued within four to six weeks.
Maine's ambitious goal of cutting carbon out of its economy by the mid-21st century is facing a harsh reality: The network of wires and substations built to feed power from central generating stations to homes and businesses isn't up to the job of handling the two-way, intermittent flow of energy from solar and wind farms to electric vehicles, heat pumps and giant storage batteries.
Maine’s burgeoning solar industry is up in arms, after many developers received emails from Central Maine Power last week indicating that their projects are causing technical problems at substations that could require costly upgrades. The controversy is erupting as scores of solar developers are building and proposing projects in Maine worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The Gulf of Maine looks huge but it's not, and 99 percent is being fished,” said Cushman. "16 miles is not a little area, and maybe just the beginning, we don’t know." He predicts fishermen will lose prime ground for lobstering, which will, in turn, cost them and the economy millions of dollars.
In a letter to licensed commercial fishermen, Mills announced that she will ask the Legislature to approve a 10-year moratorium on new offshore wind projects in waters managed by the state, which extend three miles from shore. The ban, however, wouldn’t include the already permitted New England Aqua Ventus demonstration site off Monhegan island.
The court granted a temporary injunction sought by opponents ordering the company to stop work on the entirely new section of the proposed line until judges can review a legal dispute related to it. That effectively stopped work on that part of the corridor until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit takes further action.
In court papers Monday, the developer says access road plowing started Monday and construction is expected to begin on or about Jan. 18.
Maine fishermen say that Gov. Janet Mills’ plan for a state-led offshore wind project is being rushed. And now news that a developer is considering a new commercial-scale wind project off the coast is adding to their fears.
The location for the turbines hasn’t been identified, but the state is seeking a site that would minimize impact on fishing activity, limit visibility from the coastline and be away from highly trafficked waters and other offshore activities. The cost of the project is unknown and will depend on the scale and designs, state officials said. They hope it will be operating within about 5 years.
But two energy developers who weren’t among the winners challenged the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s award of the projects ...On Tuesday, the three commissioners unanimously dismissed the requests by the two developers, Clearway Renew LLC of California and Longroad Energy of Massachusetts.