There was a time when I got all the news I needed either at the dump, at the store, or across the bed of a pickup truck. I guess now maybe things have changed somewhat.

News Updates

MAINE ENERGY NEWS

Peruse our compilation of news stories about Maine's evolution to a clean energy ecomony. You may also wish to view news sorted by topic categories from the community page of your choice.
Scroll to the end of this page for some energy-related RSS news feeds from other sites.

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Seven Maine Businesses Receive REAP Grants for Energy Improvements
03/12/2017 - 4:16pm

USDA logo courtesy of USDAUSDA Rural Development Acting State Director Tommy R. Higgins announced on March 2, 2017 that seven Maine businesses have been selected to receive Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants totaling $77,500 for the purchase and installation of solar energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Here is the list of recipients:

FEDCO Seeds, Inc.
Harpswell Freezers, LLC.
Power Gripps, USA, Inc.
Solar Center, LLC
Trippcrest Farm
Waldoboro Environmental Park, Inc.
Wilbur B. Bradbury, dba Bradbury Maple

Read what they are going to do with the money on the USDA’s Maine page.

USDA logo courtesy of USDA.

Feds Throw Lifeline to Maine’s Forest Products Industry
02/05/2017 - 7:40pm

SAPPIs Skowhegan woodyard courtesy of SAPPIOn January 18, 2017, the US Economic Development Administration announced a series of grants and initiatives aimed at breathing new life into Maine’s ailing forest products industry by helping industry leaders create a vision and roadmap for the sector. These will include forging a collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Maine and the US Department of Energy, to find new opportunities for biomass energy for combined heat and power, microgrid and cutting edge research related to biofuels.

The news is welcomed by the Maine Forest Products Council and the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine as a way to carry the industry into a future of stable prosperity.

Read the full report of the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT).  Or, read the full story in Mainebiz.

Image credit: SAPPI’s Skowhegan woodyard courtesy of SAPPI.

Grid-Scale Energy Storage Grows in Maine
01/08/2017 - 4:05pm

Convergents grid scale energy storage units in Boothbay Maine image courtesy of Convergent Energy and PowerFollowing on a pilot energy storage system built in Boothbay in 2015 (pictured), NextEra Energy Resources, operator of the Wyman Station oil-fired power plant on Cousin’s Island in Yarmouth has installed a giant battery the size of 8 shipping containers in a warehouse on the site. The facility has a storage capacity of 16.2 megawatts of power, the largest in New England and a significant percentage of the 30-100 MW needed to meet New England’s power needs on a given day.

Battery storage is hailed as a “non-transmission alternative” way to even out the highs and lows of both energy demand and the intermittent power supply from renewable sources like solar and wind power. Ellen Foley of ISO-New England is quoted as saying, “The role of grid-scale electricity storage will grow as the region moves closer to its clean-energy goals, while maintaining a reliable power system.”

Read it all in the Press Herald.

Image: Convergent's grid scale energy storage units in Boothbay Maine, courtesy of Convergent Energy and Power.

5-Megawatt Solar Farm Comes Online in Madison
01/08/2017 - 2:21pm

grid-scale solar image courtesy of NREL.On December 29, 2016, Madison Electric Works announced that its municipally-owned solar farm is ready to start powering homes and businesses. The project in Somerset County, being called the largest in Maine, was built and is owned by Ohio-based IGS Solar. ISG will sell the power to MEW at 7.99 cents per kWh for the first six years, at which time the utility may decide to buy the plant.

Madison Electric Works is a department of the Town of Madison, serving electric customers in the downtown area, Madison Business Gateway, and Backyard Farms. It is a Member of North East Public Power Association (NEPPA).

Read it all in the Morning Sentinel.

Grid-scale solar image courtesy of NREL.

MPUC Defers Decision on Net Metering Rule Changes
01/08/2017 - 1:51pm

Photo of Mark Vannoy courtesy of the Maine Public Utilities CommissionOn December 19, 2016, the Maine Public Utilities Commission announced a delay in handing down a decision about a controversial set of proposed rule changes to Maine’s net metering law.

Commission Chairman Mark Vannoy was quoted as saying, ”This is an important rule and more time is needed to consider the proposed rule in light of the comments we received to ensure that the rule treats all ratepayers in a fair manner. It remains clear that changes in technology and costs of small renewable generation, particularly solar photo-voltaic, require a careful review of the current rule and potential modifications."

The 128th Maine Legislature, which has just opened it 2017 session, will also be considering changes to net metering laws.

Read more in Mainebiz and read the announcement on the MPUC website.

Photo of Mark Vannoy courtesy of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Energy Director Woodcock Resigns
12/12/2016 - 6:42pm


Patrick Woodcock, former director of the Maine Governors Energy Office photo by Kay MannOn November16, 2016, the Portland Press Herald reported that Patrick Woodcock, the Director of Maine’s Governor’s Energy Office, planned to resign as of December 9. Woodcock cited the “broken” system in Augusta, in which special interest lobbyists are largely driving energy policy, as his main reason for stepping down. No replacement has as yet been named.

Read the full story in the Portland Press Herald.

Photo by Kay Mann

Maine Prepares to Export Wood Chips
11/13/2016 - 2:52pm

image of wood chips courtesy of DOEAs of November 8, 2016, the ports of Searsport and Eastport, Maine are announcing that they are prepared to begin exporting wood chips to India and the European Union, to be used as power generation feedstock, as soon as 2017.

Preparations have been underway since 2009 and involve perfecting a process called phytosanitation for heat treating the wood product to kill insects before transit. The news is being welcomed by Maine’s biomass industry, which has been dogged by paper mill closures and low oil prices for the past several years.

Read the full story in the Portland Press Herald or in Mainebiz.

Image of wood chips courtesy of DOE.

Almanac Publisher Harnesses the Sun
10/16/2016 - 1:36pm

artist rendering of future solar array at Geiger in Lewiston Maine Image courtesy of Geiger and HarrimanGeiger, the family-owned publisher of the “Old Farmers’ Almanac” celebrated its 200th consecutive issue this year by announcing some changes to its headquarters in Lewiston, Maine.

The company announced in September that it plans to invest $12 million to convert its former manufacturing space in Lewiston into a distribution center and offices. The renovated facility will have up to 90% of its power needs met by a 620-panel, ground-mounted solar array.

The 105,000 square-foot facility will be certified at the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) "gold" level and will qualify as a Maine Advanced Building. Geiger also anticipates hiring 25 to 50 new employees over the next three to five years.

Read more in Mainebiz and the PPAI Publications website.

Image credit: courtesy of Geiger/Harriman.

DOE Invests in Maine Tidal Power Company
09/17/2016 - 8:37pm

ORPC's TidGen turbine generator unit being readied for installation at Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project site image courtesy of ORPCOn August 31, 2016, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) of Portland, Maine will receive $5,350,000 through the Department of Energy to enhance the performance of its tidal turbine system.  ORPC was one of 10 organizations across the country to receive funding to support the development of a commercially viable marine and hydrokinetic industry.

ORPC plans to use the grant to enhance the performance of its tidal turbine system by integrating several advanced component technologies. The device's novel floating design will move the turbine near the surface to capture higher flow velocities and will help reduce the cost of installation and on-water operations, ultimately lowering the cost of energy. This project will demonstrate and monitor turbine performance during its deployment in Cobscook Bay.

Read the announcement from Senator Collins.

Read the Energy Department’s announcement.

Image credit: ORPC's TidGen® turbine generator unit being readied for installation at Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project site, courtesy of ORPC.

Twin Solar Arrays to Appear on Closed Landfills
09/17/2016 - 7:14pm

solar panels image courtesy of wikipediaBoth Portland and South Portland are moving forward with plans to install solar power plants atop closed landfills.

On September 7, 2016, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to authorize its city manager to negotiate a power purchase agreement (or PPA) with Revision Energy to build a 660-killiwatt solar array on the Ocean Ave. landfill. The array is expected to save the city more than $3.2 million in energy costs over its lifetime.

The city of South Portland is planning an identical array for its closed landfill. The joint negotiation by the two cities with the installer has served to lower costs for both projects. The initial $150,000 that each city will invest over the first six years of its project is expected to be paid back within 10 years through energy savings.

Read about the recent Portland vote in the Portland Press Herald.

Read about South Portland’s progress in the Portland Press Herald.