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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Subscribe to the "News from Maine's Energy Frontier" to receive a "moonthly" digest of articles and events from the website. You can read archived issues here.

Baxter Academy Wins Wind Blade Challenge
05/06/2014 - 1:00pm

Students from Baxter Academy who won the 2014 Maine Wind Blade Challenge photo courtesy of Maine Ocean and Wind Energy InitiativeOn May 2, 2014, the Maine Composites Alliance (MCA) and the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative (MOWII) held the 6th annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge at the University of Maine at Orono.

Baxter Academy won the competition with a unique mechanical variable blade pitch design. Brunswick Region 10 Team 1 and Thornton Academy placed second and third out of 39 registered teams.

See the full results of the event here. Photo of the Baxter team courtesy of Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative.

LePage Vetoes Solar Rebates
04/14/2014 - 11:10am

Maine Governor Paul LePage photo by Kay MannAfter passing the Maine Senate by a vote of 22-12 in March, a bill which would bring back rebates for solar power installations fell to Governor Paul LePage's veto pen on April 11, 2014.

The program would have cost an average ratepayer five cents per month and provided a $2,000 incentive to homeowners who install solar panels for electricity or hot water.

Read it all in the Portland Press Herald. Photo of Paul LePage by Kay Mann.

Brunswick Landing Welcomes Anaerobic Digester
03/21/2014 - 5:23pm

MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque and Village Green Ventures CEO Dave Weyburn shake hands after signing documents for a new anaerobic digester power plant to be built at Brunswick Landing in Maine photo courtesy of MRRAOn March 14, 2014, the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) signed a ground lease agreement and power purchase agreement with Village Green Ventures, which plans to build a 1-megawatt anaerobic digestion power plant on the east side of the BXM airfield at Brunswick Landing. The plant is expected to furnish a large percentage of the collective power needs of businesses on the campus.

Read the full story on the MRRA website.  Or, read our detailed blog post on Dave Weyburn's E2Tech presentation about the system here.

Photo: MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque and Village Green Ventures CEO Dave Weyburn shake hands; photo courtesy of MRRA.

Thermogen Changes Horses: from Torrefaction to Steam Explosion
03/16/2014 - 2:59pm

Thermogen Industries a Cate Street Capital CompanyCate Street Capital, LLC, the owner of Thermogen Industries, has asked the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) to allow it to change the process and product it will make at its yet-to-be constructed plant in East Millinocket.

The company has decided to put its money on a technology known as steam-exploded black pellets rather than the torrefied wood product known as biocoal. University of Maine Professor Robert Rice has said of the two products that, "based on testing we have done…of torrefied wood and black pellets, I would say that black pellets have a distinct advantage.”

FAME will review the proposed change to Cate Street's financial package of bonds and loan guarantees at its meeting in April. Read all the details in the Bangor Daily News.

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. 

Fossil Fuel Prices Skyrocket
01/29/2014 - 1:22pm

Forking over the cash for high fuel prices image credit Kay MannA trio of headlines this week point to an unaffordable future for fossil energy. Firstly, in the coldest week of winter, prices of both kerosene and home heating oil jumped 7 cents per gallon, while propane (in short supply) jumped 10 cents per gallon. Read more in Mainebiz.

Next, the great hope of cheap natural gas is cracking around the edges as the Augusta Civic Center discovered after having a natural gas pipeline extended there, that several of its propane boilers cannot be converted to burn natural gas and must be replaced at a cost of $150-250K. Read more in Mainebiz.

Meanwhile, Unitil has asked the Public Utilities Commission to permit it to hike rates by 10.4% to cover higher-than-expected commodities costs for natural gas. If approved, this would narrow the margin of savings down to 8% (over last year) for customers who converted from oil to gas. Read more in Mainebiz.

Image credit: Kay Mann

Public Utilities Commission Approves Maine Aqua Ventus Term Sheet
01/16/2014 - 1:43pm

VolturnUS the first grid-tied floating wind turbine in the US designed by the University of Maine Engineering Department and licensed to Maine Aqua Ventus photo courtesy of University of Maine.By a vote of 2-1 on January 15, 2014, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved the terms of an agreement between the State and Maine Aqua Ventus, a coalition led by the University of Maine to develop a 500 MW deepwater, floating wind power plant in the Gulf of Maine. The rate agreed upon was 23 cents per killowatt hour, which would raise the average Maine ratepayer's bill by less than $9 per year and have beneficial repercussions throughout Maine's economy.

The approval was a key hurdle in UMaine's quest to win a $50 million federal energy grant in May to further develop the project. Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Photo credit: VolturnUS floating wind turbine designed by the University of Maine Engineering Department and licensed to Maine Aqua Ventus; photo courtesy of University of Maine.

Bath Students Embrace PowerHouse
01/14/2014 - 4:24pm

Powerhouse program partners courtesy of Gulf of Maine Research InstituteEighth Grade Students at Bath Middle School have not only embraced the PowerHouse program from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, but taken it a step further by creating public service announcements encouraging energy conservation.

Read the full blog article here.

Image credit: Powerhouse program partners courtesy of Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

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.

Multifamily Milestone: 1000 Buildings Weatherized
01/14/2014 - 12:10pm

Blower door testing units on a multifamily house in Maine by DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Energy Evaluation ServicesOn January 2, 2014, Efficiency Maine’s Multifamily Efficiency Program announced that it had reached a milestone in December: since its launch 18 months ago, the program has helped property managers weatherize more than 1,000 apartment units throughout the state. One thousand more units are already in the pipeline to be weatherized in the year ahead. Average energy savings is predicted to be 26%.

Read it all on Efficiency Maine's website…and learn about the program here.

Photo Credit: DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Evaluation Services.