We Mainahs are famous for being do-it-your-self-ers, but when it comes to some things like surveying and lawyering and such, we know when to call on the experts.

Professional Services News

The All-Important Backstage Crew: Professional Services

Engineers, site surveyors, architects, builders, attorneys and many other professionals play an essential role in making any sustainable energy system come together. Let's talk about what is needed and who can provide it.

An energy auditor performing a blower door test

An energy auditor performs a blower door test.

 
 
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

REAP Awards Sow Seeds of Energy Investment
05/20/2016 - 10:18pm

hands forking over money with a spading fork image by Harold RobertsOn May 11, 2016, The USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) announced the winners of its latest round of Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants.

Development Assistance Awards went to:

The Greater Portland Council of Governments: $100,000 to identify renewable energy technologies for agricultural producers and rural small businesses and promote energy programs.

and:

The College of the Atlantic: $64,650 to educate Hancock County business owners and agricultural producers about solar energy options and solutions.

The USDA Rural Development program helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.

Read about the development awards in Mainebiz.

E2Tech Hosts its First Expo Oct. 1
09/28/2015 - 9:45pm

Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine E2TechThe Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) and its partners are pleased to host the inaugural E2Tech Expo on October 1, 2015. Events include keynotes from a Fortune 50 company and a venture capital firm; its first-ever “E2Tech Talks” on Maine’s local and global food movements; a high-level plenary panel on cleantech markets, technologies, and public policies; workshops on energy policy, workforce development & career connections, sustainability in the supply chain, and cluster development and seed funding; and dozens of tables featuring environmental and energy companies, products, services, and resources.

You may see the agenda and register here.

E2Tech Garners SBA Grant
08/28/2015 - 9:45am

Environmental and Energy Technology Council of MaineOn August 4, 2015, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced it would provide $50,000 in grants to the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine, known as E2Tech, to help support its efforts to accelerate key programs, including:

  • Studying the ripple effect of clean-energy development in expanding Maine’s manufacturing supply chains;
  • Convening an “E2Tech Expo” this fall on the state of Maine’s energy, environmental, and cleantech sector;
  • Increasing Maine entrepreneurs’ access to the New England Clean Energy Council’s Navigate Northeast network and concierge services;
  • Reaching entrepreneurs further north and downeast; and
  • Attracting more startups to co-locate with its offices in downtown Portland.

Green Energy Maine congratulates E2Tech. Please enjoy a brief video about the organization here and read the full article in the Portland Press Herald. Watch for details about the Oct. 1 Expo on our calendar page.

Image courtesy of E2Tech.

New Law Permits Maine EV Charging Stations to Charge for Power
05/01/2015 - 10:38am

The electric vehicle charging station at the South Portland Community Center in Maine photo by Kay MannThe Greater Portland Council of Governments reports that Governor LePage signed a new law allowing the owners of public electric vehicle charging stations to charge customers a fee for kilowatt usage when they plug in their Electric Vehicles.

The law will provide an incentive for more electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) to be installed throughout the state, providing EV owners more places to charge their vehicles, over the current 44. The law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature finishes its 2015 session.

Read more from GPCOG. And, see where the charging stations are at this time.

Public Utilities Commission Releases Maine Distributed Solar Valuation Study
03/22/2015 - 5:00pm

installation of solar panels at University of New England photo courtesy of UNEOn March 1, 2015, the MPUC presented a report on the value of solar energy to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology in the Maine Legislature, fulfilling a request made in last year's session.

Weighing such factors as avoided energy supply costs, avoided transmission & distribution capacity costs, and most notably the social cost of carbon, SO2, and NOx emissions, the report sets the long-term value of solar energy at over 33 cents/kWh. By comparison, solar homeowners only receive a credit worth about 13 cents/kilowatt-hour on their bills. The report goes on to suggest implementation options and incentives that might speed wider adoption of solar technology in Maine.

Read an excellent analysis by Tux Turkel at the Portland Press Herald.

Read the report from the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Read the report itself.

Wind Project Subject to Question
01/04/2015 - 7:01pm

a wind turbine photo by Kay MannThe Industrial Energy Consumer Group is set to challenge the proposed West Range Wind project near Bingham in Somerset County, on the basis that it would be owned by CMP's parent Iberdrola and therefore may be given preferential treatment by CMP. At issue is whether it might violate the deregulation rules that prohibit utility companies from owning power generation capacity.

Read more in Mainebiz and in the Portland Press Herald.

Two DOE Research Grants Go to Maine Projects
10/08/2014 - 1:47pm

US Secretary of Energy Dr Ernest Moniz courtesy of US-DOE After losing its bid for a $47million grant in May, the University of Maine-led consortium behind the planned Aqua Ventus offshore wind pilot project has been awarded a $3.8 million cooperative research grant to continue the design and engineering work on its 6 MW VolturnUS floating turbine, connected to the grid in Castine.

Read the whole story from North American Windpower.

Also in September, the Biodiversity Research Institute of Gorham, Maine heard it will receive $1.1 million to develop a stereo-optic camera system to detect and document bird and bat flight behavior in the vicinity of wind turbines, using near-infrared cameras and specialized software to detect animal movements in both the day and night. The project will help researchers better understand potential environmental impacts of wind turbines.

Read the DOE announcement here.

Image credit: US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz courtesy of US-DOE

High Court Breaks Up Wind Partnership
03/06/2014 - 10:21am

Leigh Saufley photo from Maine State Judicial Branch website.On March 4, 2014, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court overruled a 2012 approval by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of an affiliation deal between wind developer First Wind, the utility companies called at the time Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service and their present parent company, Nova Scotia-based Emera, Inc.

Appeals to the approval of the $361 million loans and investment deal were made by the state Public Advocate, the Houlton Water Company and the Industrial Energy Consumers’ Group.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley said,“If the relationship among the entities results in the T&D (transmission and distribution) utility having a financial interest that would provide an incentive to favor certain generators over others, the proposed corporate restructuring is prohibited… [by the Restructuring Act of 1997]."

Read the full story from the Pinetree Watchdog.

Photo credit: Leigh Saufley photo from Maine State Judicial Branch website.