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


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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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.

Legislature Overrides Veto to Help Restore Efficiency Maine Funding
07/01/2015 - 8:31pm

And image courtesy of Maine Association of Building Energy Professionals.L.D. 1215, the bill that restores the missing word "and" that was omitted from the 2014 Omnibus Energy Bill and reverses the ruling by the Public Utilities Commission to cut Efficiency Maine funding by $38 million, is now law.

On June 23, 2015, the governor vetoed the bill. First the House voted 144-0 to override the veto, then the Senate voted to do the same, 35-0. The Public Utilities Commission will be asked to reconsider its vote in light of the new legislation and set the funding level at the intended $60 million.

Read the full story in the Portland Press Herald.

Image credit: And image courtesy of Maine Association of Building Energy Professionals.

Greater Voice for Unorganized Territories in Wind Siting Decisions
07/01/2015 - 8:00pm

Map showing Maine's unorganized territories courtesy of State of MaineOn June 29, 2015 in a rare act of agreement with the legislature, the governor signed LD 828, legislation that could give citizens from the state’s rural Unorganized Territories (UT) a greater say in the siting of large, industrial wind turbines in their communities.

The bill allows citizens in certain UT plantations and townships to petition to be removed from the state’s “Expedited Wind Zone,” where permitting for turbines has been streamlined since 2008.

Read the full story from the Pine Tree Watchdog.

Bowdoin College Earns EPA Award for Energy Efficiency Efforts
07/01/2015 - 4:42pm

Solar panels atop Bowdoin's Farley Field House and Watson Arena Image courtesy of Bowdoin CollegeOn July 1, 2015, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine was recognized by EPA with a 2015 Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) award. CHP technology produces electricity and useful heat simultaneously from a single energy source, such as natural gas, oil, or biomass. For hospital systems and universities, CHP systems can also provide reliability benefits which ensure that these facilities’ operations can continue in the event of power outages.

This award recognizes Bowdoin College for the superior efficiency of its CHP system that produces 630 kW of electricity and steam that provides space heating and hot water to 1.4 million square feet across 56 campus buildings. Bowdoin’s CHP system, designed by RMF Engineering, includes an oil or natural gas-fired boiler and a 630 kW steam turbine. With an operating efficiency of nearly 87 percent, the CHP system requires approximately 12 percent less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production. The system also avoids emissions of air pollutants, including an estimated 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equal to the emissions from the generation of electricity used by nearly 130 homes.

Follow links for more information about EPA’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership or on Energy Star CHP awards.

Image: Solar panels atop Bowdoin's Farley Field House and Watson Arena. Image courtesy of Bowdoin College.

King Proposes Bill to Promote Personal Energy Independence
06/01/2015 - 12:20pm

Senator Angus King of Maine image courtesy of Angus KingOn May 6, 2015, Senator Angus King of Maine introduced The Free Market Energy Act of 2015, which would establish a set of parameters for the governance of distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar power, stored energy or demand response. Existing policies discourage investment in DER. For example, utilities may levy expensive grid-connection fees on consumers who pursue newer technologies, while current net metering formulas may not properly compensate grid owners when these new technologies are connected.

The proposed act would protect the right of consumers to connect their distributed resources to the grid for a reasonable price while also ensuring that grid owners and operators receive proper compensation to maximize the potential of DER in relation to the grid. The act would also retain the authority of each state to design its own set of rules within its parameters, to properly reflect the state’s needs.

Read the bill here.

Efficiency Maine Increases Incentives on Heat Pump Water Heaters
05/01/2015 - 11:03am

diagram of a heat pump water heater image courtesy of US DOEEfficiency Maine has announced that effective April 15, 2015, the mail-in rebate on qualifying heat pump water heaters will be increased from $100 to $300.

This means that, after rebates, a $1,000 heat pump water heater costs only $300 more than a traditional electric water heater. With average savings of $250/yr, a heat pump water heater will pay for itself in 1.2 years - an 83% return on investment after taxes, according to Efficiency Maine.

Learn more here.

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.

King Floats Hydrokinetic Bill
04/23/2015 - 3:04pm

Senator Angus King of MaineOn Earth Day, May 22, 2015, Senator Angus King re-introduced "The Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act" to encourage the research and development of renewable energy generated through waves, currents, ocean tides, and free-flowing water in lakes and rivers, known as marine and hydrokinetic power.

Maine has strong, hydrokinetic, natural resources and was the first state in the nation to connect a tidal energy generator to its power delivery infrastructure. Read the full story here.

Image source: Senator Angus King.

Dimmable LED Street Lights to Save Big at Brunswick Landing
04/16/2015 - 11:44am

A worker installs LED street lighting at Brunswick Landing in Maine image courtesy of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment AuthorityBrunswick Landing has become the first demonstration site in the US to use radio-frequency controls to dim LED street lights at times and locations of low traffic. Pemco Holdings, LLC, which managed and financed the project, announced its completion in April of 2015.

The cost of the conversion from sodium and metal halide fixtures to dimmable LED's will be paid for from the expected 85% savings on the cost of lighting at the former naval air station. Pemco has raised another $30 million to finance similar projects.

Read the full article here.

Image courtesy of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

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.