My friend Elmer used to be too cheap to buy gas much, so he stayed at home, mostly. Last month he got himself one of those new plug-in electric cars, and now you see him tooling all over the county.

Transportation News

TRANSPORTATION: A HUGE OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT

Depending on whom you talk to, we in Maine spend 50-70% of our energy dollars on transportation. So, we stand to gain the most savings by exploring all the ways we can conserve and convert our fuel usage for a more sustainable ride.

Jory Squibb's handmade mini-car, "Moonbeam"

Jory Squibb of Camden shows off his home-made,100 mpg microcar "Moonbeam" at the AltWheels festival in Boston.

 
 
Maine-Quebec EV Charging Station Corridor Announced
03/10/2016 - 5:04pm

Signage in front of an EV charging station in South PortlandOn Wednesday, March 10th, 2016 Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec announced a partnership to establish a route of electric vehicle charging stations between the two locations. The program promotes tourism to Maine and complements Quebec's new multimillion dollar program to incentivize EV sales. Funding for the project has not yet been announced; an initial plan is expected by summer 2016.

Read more on MaineBiz, the Portland Press Herald, or the Bangor Daily News.

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.

City of Portland Adds Two More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Parking Garages
08/28/2015 - 1:29pm

An electric vehicle charger in a parking garage in Portland, Maine image courtesy of Greater Portland Council of GovernmentsOn July 29th, GPCOG joined the City of Portland's Mayor Michael Brennan, Councilor Ed Suslovic, Joel Harrington of Central Maine Power and Darlene Beach with the Iberdrola USA Foundation to celebrate the expansion of the City's electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

As part of a grant to GPCOG from the Iberdrola USA Foundation, the City was able to install two level II electric vehicle charging stations, one at both the Temple St. and Spring St. parking garages.  Mayor Brennan said, "I want to thank the Iberdrola USA Foundation and GPCOG for this grant. GPCOG has been instrumental in introducing electric vehicles and charging stations into our fleet and parking garages. Having two more EV chargers in our parking garages adds convenience and will hopefully help convince more people to use electric cars."

So far, seven EV chargers have been installed at municipal buildings and other locations including: Town Halls in Falmouth, Raymond and Windham, as well as Pineland Farms, the Marriott Hotel on Commercial St. in Portland and the City's two parking garages.

To learn more contact the Greater Portland Council of Governments.

Photo: An electric vehicle charger in a parking garage in Portland, Maine; image courtesy of Greater Portland Council of Governments

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.

Breathing Easier With Biodiesel
01/14/2014 - 3:24pm

Maine Standard Biofuels delivery truck photo courtesy of Maine Standard Biofuels In November 2013, The Northeast Diesel Collaborative – a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state agencies, and private and nonprofit groups – recognized Oakhurst Dairy and Maine Standard Biofuels with its 2013 Breathe Easy Leadership Award for their outstanding leadership in reducing diesel emissions. Maine Standard Biofuels makes biodiesel fuel from waste vegetable oils and delivers it to Oakhurst Dairy to fuel its delivery fleet. As a result of this partnership, Oakhurst has decreased its diesel fuel emissions up to 70 percent annually.

Read more from the EPA. Photo courtesy of Maine Standard Biofuels.

Portland-Auburn Commuter Rail Line Proposed
11/25/2013 - 2:34pm

Rail image courtesy of Maine Rail Transit CoalitionThe Maine Rail Transit Coalition is proposing a commuter rail line between Auburn and India Street in Portland, with an estimated $138 million startup cost. Pending procurement of funding, the service would operate on a freight line now owned by the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad, on which it wants to discontinue service.

Read more in the Portland Press Herald and in Mainebiz.

Rockland to Boston via Rail in 2014
11/17/2013 - 5:38pm

Map of the Maine Eastern Railroad line from Rockland to Brunswick Maine image courtesy of Maine Eastern RailroadMaine Eastern Railroad announced on October 30, 2013 that it plans to capitalize on increased Downeaster train ridership by aligning its summer 2014 schedule with the Downeaster's so that passengers from Rockland to Brunswick will also be able to travel to Boston by rail. Rates will be reduced for the train, which will run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between July 4 and Oct. 13.

Read more in Mainebiz and from Maine Eastern RailroadImage courtesy of Maine Eastern Railroad. 

Alternative Fueling Station Finder App for iPhone Released
11/14/2013 - 4:08pm

Pearson Fuels in San Diego offers multiple alternative fuel options image Courtesy of DOE/NRELOn November 7, 2013, the US-DOE's Clean Cities announced the launch of a free iPhone app that locates fueling stations offering alternative fuels, including electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, E85, propane, and hydrogen. Developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the app is available for download through Apple's App Store.

Read more from Clean Cities. Image courtesy of DOE/NREL.

Aroostook County Rail Line Sold
06/12/2013 - 5:20pm

Maine Northern Railway is operated by Maine Eastern Railway, a division of JD Irving Ltd of CanadaOn June 10, 2013, the  Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway sold a 28-mile stretch of railway that runs from Van Buren to Madawaska, including an international bridge to St. Leonard, Quebec, to Eastern Maine Railway, a division of JD Irving, Ltd. The new owners expect the line to offer their clients "seamless, efficient rail service that will mean less freight transfer and the related savings in time and costs associated with direct service.”

Read more in the Fiddlehead News, in Mainebiz and in the Bangor Daily News.

Photo Credit: Maine Northern Railway, operated by Eastern Maine Railway.

Rail Extension Project Begins at the Auburn Transportation Hub
04/24/2013 - 7:33pm

On April 17, 2013, officials announced a $3 million railroad renovation that will connect business parks in Poland and Auburn to Auburn's intermodal transportation hub. According to the Sun Journal, the funding for the project comes from a state bond that was issued several years ago. The extension will restore 6,600 feet of the old Rangeley Branch line, build a 400-foot spur and provide direct rail access to approximatly 400 acres of land in Auburn and Poland. Additionally, 1,500 feet of siding will be built allowing trains to more easily pull over and let another pass, decreasing congestion. The restoration and additions to the railroad will create more room for businesses to tie in and connect to rail in Auburn and Poland. The construction is projected to be finished by this coming fall.

Read more at Mainebiz and the Sun Journal.