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.
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Brunswick Junior High Students Explore Energy Efficiency with Evergreen Home Performance
02/02/2016 - 3:34pm

Evergreen Energy Advisor Cree Krull prepares BJHS students for a blower door test. The bright red blower door has a calibrated fan that measures a building's air leakage image courtesy of Evergreen Home PerformanceBrunswick Junior High School 7th graders competed to see who could build the most energy efficient “home” last week, with some pretty surprising results. The structures started with cardboard from the cafeteria, and the insulation and air sealing options were limited to paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, blueboard, tape, and glue, but the improvements helped students connect the science of heat transfer to the real-life challenges of weatherizing Maine homes.

“The kids can unequivocally confirm that well-taped plastic wrap is great at reducing air leakage but not so great at stopping heat loss,” said Cree Krull, who led the activity and helped students test their structures with fans and infrared cameras. “And we can extend that observation to explain why homes need air sealing and insulation.”

Krull should know; as an energy advisor at Evergreen Home Performance, he uses the same tools to assess real homes for air and heat loss. “Using an infrared camera is pretty straightforward, so it makes sense to have kids work with the real thing,” said Krull. “Interpreting what you see and knowing what to do about it is what takes expertise.”

The BJHS students may not be ready for careers in energy efficiency yet, but they’re much more informed thanks to a month-long interdisciplinary project that highlights the science, economics, and politics of home weatherization and introduces students to the need for lower reliance on home heating oil and greater emphasis on energy efficiency.

“Weatherizing Maine’s old homes reduces our dependence on the fossil fuels used to heat them, which in turn reduces heating expenses and environmental impacts” said BHJS teacher Cris Lavigne. “When kids learn how weatherization works and how they can be a part of it, they make things better for their community. It’s a powerful service-learning opportunity.”

Students will share what they’ve learned by creating a bank of weatherization materials, along with instructions on how to use them, and using those weatherization materials to seal drafty spaces in their lives. In March, they will share the results of their learning at a community-wide event.

Photo and article courtesy of Evergreen Home Perfomance.

Central Maine Power's Parent Company Involved in Merger
01/27/2016 - 11:17pm

Electric wires in Maine. Photo by Kay Mann.As of December 16th, 2016, Central Maine Power has become part of the U.S.-based company Avangrid as part of a merger. CMP left the ownership of Spain-based Iberdrola to become part of Avangrid's assemblage of companies operating in New York, Connecticut, and western Massachussetts. This merger follows an industry trend of diversification as the US works toward a clean energy future. CMP's local customers should not see any interruptions in service.

Read the full story on MPBN here.

Belfast Turns Dump into Solar Resource
01/23/2016 - 6:03pm

solar panelsIn early January 2016, the city of Belfast began producing solar power from a 122-kilowatt array it had mounted atop its former landfill. In a sort of lease-to-own arrangement, the city signed a power purchase agreement with the owner and installer of the array, Revision Energy. After 6 years of buying the power at a discount, the city will have the option to buy the system at a discount. The system is expected to last for 40 years.

A few other Maine municipalities have entered such PPA agreements, and this is the first one located on a closed landfill. Read the full story in the Free Press.

UMaine Opens World Class Wind and Wave Testing Facility
12/26/2015 - 7:03pm

the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratories image courtesy of the University of MaineOn November 23, 2015, the Advanced Structures & Composites Center at the University of Maine at Orono celebrated the opening of the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing Laboratories. This world-class testing laboratory will prototype coastal and offshore structures, including ships, aquaculture facilities, oil and gas structures, and ocean energy devices under extreme wave, wind and current environments.

During the ceremonies, the Harold Alfond Foundation announced a $3.9 million grant to the University of Maine to match $9.98 million already raised for the facility. See photos of the day’s celebration here. Read more in the Bangor Daily News.

Image credit: University of Maine.

Ocean Renewable Power Company Receives DOE Grant
12/26/2015 - 12:15pm

Ocean renewable power company tidgen tidal generation turnine photo courtesy of orc.On November 24, 2015 the Bangor Daily News reported that the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) of Portland received a $2.25 million grant to make efficiency improvements to the deployment, anchoring and retrieval system for its tidal power generation turbines in Cobscook Bay off Lubec and Eastport. The work is expected to lower operational costs and make the technology more commercially viable. Testing is slated for 2017.

The grant was announced by Rep. Chellie Pingree and is one of 41 of the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy awards made recently. Read the full story in the Bangor Daily News.

Image courtesy of Ocean Renewable Power Company.

Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credits Extended 5 Years
12/26/2015 - 10:59am

solar panels image courtesy of the humble farmerOn December 15, 2015, the US Congress approved an extension of the Residential Renewable Tax Credit, originally set to expire at the end of 2016, for another five years. The tax credit enables homeowners and small businesses to claim 30% of the cost of solar, small wind, fuel cell and geothermal systems against their taxes. 

Read more about the tax credit from the US Department of Energy. Read Senator Charles Schumer’s announcement of the extension in the Westfield Republican.

Image courtesy of the humble Farmer.

Maine National Guard Battalion Opens Solar Facility
11/25/2015 - 4:35pm

The readiness center of the Maine National Guard 133rd Engineering Battalion photo courtesy of Maine National GuardThe new, LEED Silver readiness center for the 133rd Engineering Battalion of the Maine National Guard at Brunswick Landing opened in September 2015. Following new National Guard regulations to build energy efficiency and renewable energy into all new projects, the $23.5 million building boasts 38 KW of solar capacity, geothermal heating wells, LED lighting and a living roof growing blueberries.

Read more about it in the Sun Journal.

New England’s First Net Zero Food Production Plant Opens
11/25/2015 - 2:35pm

Grandy Oats real granola we are going off the grid image courtesy of Grandy OatsOn Nov. 17, 2015, the Grandy Oats company unveiled the solar array at its new production facility. The manufacturer of organic granolas and snacks is moving from its original location, a restored barn in Brownfield to a former school building in Hiram, Maine. Now, a 95,000KW solar array will meet all of the company’s energy needs, including heating, cooling and powering fork trucks. After a 7-year loan payoff, the company will have free energy. Said one owner, “This insulates us from world pressures. It feels good that we are generating our own power on site.”

Read the full story in the Bangor Daily News and watch it on WCSH-TV.

Aqua Ventus Wins $3.7 Million Grant
11/22/2015 - 8:02pm

Volturn US prototype wind turbine developed for the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind project image courtesy of the University of MaineOn November 16, 2015, Maine's US Senators Collins and King announced that the offshore wind project for the Gulf of Maine known as Aqua Ventus will receive $3.7 million from the US Department of Energy to complete planning, design and supply chain contracts.

The project is being developed by a consortium led by the University of Maine and received a previous $3 million grant in 2014 under the DOE’s Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Project. Of other states receiving greater funding under this program, Aqua Ventus is the only one to secure a power purchase agreement so far.

Read the full story in Mainebiz.

VolturnUS floating offshore wind turbine image courtesy of University of Maine.

Algae Research Funds Flow to USM
10/27/2015 - 11:08am

a student conducts algae research image courtesy of US-DOEOn October 2, 2015, the US Department of Energy awarded a multi-year, $1.5 million grant to the Algae Foundation, to develop a college degree in algal cultivation technologies as well as an aquaculture extension training program.

The Algae Foundation has formed the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC), a partnership between academic institutions, national research laboratories, and industry leaders. The Consortium will develop novel educational programs to strengthen industry workforce capabilities.

The Algae Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about the algae industry. Its leader, Dr. Ike Levine, teaches at the University of Southern Maine in Lewiston. Read the full news story here.

Image courtesy of US-DOE.