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.
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Public Utilities Commission Cuts Efficiency Maine Budget
03/22/2015 - 9:07pm

Efficiency Maine logoOn March 17, 2015, the Maine Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 in favor of cutting the budget for Efficiency Maine's programs from $60 million to $22 million per year. Commissioners Mark Vannoy and Carlisle McLean, both LePage appointees, cast the 2 votes to cut the budget.

Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine, said of the cuts, "We would stop having heating programs or programs to save peoples' heating levels through weatherization and high-efficiency heating systems, plus we still wouldn't have enough to reach our electricity-saving obligations".

Environmental groups plan to appeal the decision.

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

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.

Economic Report on Energy in Maine Released
03/02/2015 - 10:23pm

Maine Development Foundation's Measures of Growth In Focus quarterly report image courtesy of Maine Development FoundationIn February 2015, the Maine Development Foundation and the University of Maine released their fifth Quarterly Economic Report on Energy In Maine. This series of quarterly reports explores the economic indicators in Measures of Growth In Focus, an  annual report issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council.

The Measures of Growth report’s Cost of Energy indicator tracks retail and industrial electricity prices for Maine, both of which have declined in recent years. Nevertheless, Maine’s costs of energy remain high relative to the nation. Download the report here.

Wind Power Jobs Predicted to Grow
02/01/2015 - 8:39pm

a wind turbine in Maine photo by Kay MannOn January 6, 2015, Maine Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine released a report, commissioned by the Maine Renewable Energy Association and Wind for Maine, that projects that the wind power industry will produce 4,200 jobs in 2015 and is poised to double over the next four years to 1,300 megawatts of power output.

The report also projects that total spending in Maine on wind power (excluding imported equipment) will total $1.28 billion by 2018.

Read the full news story from AP and download the full report here.

Island Institue Receives Grant to Upgrade Energy Efficiency
01/25/2015 - 4:58pm

the Island Institute building in Rockland Maine photo courtesy of the Island InstituteOn January 8, 2015, the Island Institute announced that it has received a grant of $90,285 from the Grants to Green Maine program for energy efficiency upgrades to its headquarters in Rockland. The grant will be used to make energy-saving retrofits to the historic building, including a new, high-efficiency wood pellet boiler. Work on the upgrades is expected to begin in January.

The Institute has already made several energy efficiency upgrades to the building over the past fourteen years, and completed an extensive energy audit of the building. Sally Perkins, the Island Institute’s facility manager, said “We are constantly working to reduce our energy consumption, in keeping with our mission. By enabling us to heat with wood pellets, this grant will help us dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels.”

Read the whole announcement here
 

Maine Islanders Study Danish Energy Ways
01/18/2015 - 6:22pm

Samso Island, Denmarks Energy Academy photo courtesy of Samso Energy AcademyIn October of 2014, a group of 5 Mainers from Peaks and Monhegan Islands and 15 College of the Atlantic students traveled to Denmark's Samso Island to attend the Samso Energy Academy and learn about their "Fossil-Free Island" project.

Samso Island is becoming energy independent by using wind and solar power and geothermal and biomass heat. Read a great New York times article that details what they learned there.

Image: Samso Energy Academy photo courtesy of Samso Energy Academy.

CMP, Emera Maine Standard Offer Prices Set to Decrease in 2015
01/15/2015 - 7:32pm

a happy electric ratepayer in Maine photo by Brian HymerOn January 13th and 14th, the Maine Public Utilities Commission released new electricity prices- effective this year- for residents and small to medium businesses who use standard offer supply services through CMP and Emera Maine. 

CMP residents and small businesses who recieve the standard offer can expect to see a 13.4% decrease in the cost of electricity per kWh from last year, from the current price of 7.56 cents/per kWh, to 6.54 cents/ kWh in 2015. CMP medium business customers will see about a 17.3% decrease in medium class prices compared to last term; the new prices differ by month, and will amount to about 6.44 cents/kWh on average over the 2015 term. 

Emera Maine residential and small business customers in the Bangor Hydro area will see a similar decrease in price of about 14% this year, the price shifting from the current 7.58 cents/kWh to 6.50 cents/ kWh in 2015. The prices for Medium businesses for the new term is set to average about 6.66 cents/ kWh, reflecting about a 17% drop in prices from the same 10 month period from last year.

These new prices apply only to standard offer supply services, and are effective starting March 1, 2015. For more information, find the full MPUC press releases here:

Electricity Supply Prices Set for Standard Offer Service in Central Maine Power Territory

Electricity Supply Prices Set for Standard Offer Service in Emera Maine – Bangor Hydro District

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.

Efficiency Maine Announces Increased Appliance Rebates
01/04/2015 - 6:33pm

a heat pump water heater image courtesy of Efficiency MaineOn the last day of 2014, an announcement came in from Efficiency Maine: In addition to their $300 mail-in rebate on heat pump water heaters, they have just rolled out a $200 markdown on qualifying units with Maine retailers and wholesalers. Heat pump water heaters that used to sell for $999 can now be found for $799 and they still qualify for the $300 mail-in rebate. These units offer 50-gallon tanks, 10-year warranties and up to $2,500 lifetime savings, based on $250/year savings vs electric resistance water heating (per Energy Star). Check out the program here.

In addition, new appliances have been added to the list of eligible rebates from Efficiency Maine.

Image credit: Efficiency Maine

UPDATE 2/15/15: As of March 1, 2015, the rebate will be lowered to $100, according to Efficiency Maine.  Please refer to the Efficiency Maine site above for up-to-date information.

More Solar Power for Loring in Limestone
12/05/2014 - 7:08pm

depiction of Loring II solar development in Limestone Maine image courtesy of Maine Solar EngineeringOn December 5, 2014, the Loring Development Authority of Limestone, Maine and The Power Company of Washington, Maine announced that construction had begun on a 200 KW solar energy project, named “Loring Solar II” on the former Loring Air Force base, which closed in 1994.

Under the terms of a special lease agreement, LDA will act as host and off-taker of the electricity. In exchange, LDA leases the equipment and realizes a net saving in electric costs.

Loring Solar II will consist of 30 dual-axis-tracking devices. Combined with Loring Solar I, the 2 projects will produce approximately 385 MWh per year, enough to off-set 250 tons of carbon production annually.

Read the full story in the Bangor Daily News.