Entries Filed in 'Maine’s green energy potential'
SAPPI paper mill in Skhowegan, Maine, emits pollutants. Photo by Ramona du Houx
At the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is today releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.
“Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source–power plants,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment–our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs.”
Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.
While Maine is part of the New England state’s cap-and-trade carbon tax system, know as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI, the state is still at the mercy of winds that carry pollution here. RGGI has been very successful bringing over $51,000 million to Maine to help energy efficiency for businesses and citizens.
“The EPA’s plan will allow states like Maine to build on the strong work we’ve already been doing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” said Michaud. “Over the last 9 years, emissions from power plants in the nine states participating in the northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have dropped by more than 40 percent. That is a very important step forward, and this proposal – when taken with Maine’s cutting-edge clean energy initiatives – positions Maine to be a leader in the clean energy sector. That means more jobs, lower utility bills and cleaner air for all Mainers.”
Read more ›
Recent photo of Brunswick Landing, courtesy photo
The Brunswick Planning Board unanimously approved Bowdoin College plans for a ground-based solar power array on 114 acres of Brunswick Landing, the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.
The panels will be connected to two other solar arrays on the roofs of Bowdoin College buildings. The project is expected to generate 8 percent of Bowdoin’s total current energy use. SolarCity, a national solar energy company, has a 20-year contract to build the system and provide electricity to the College.
The college and SolarCity plan to lobby the Town Council to reduce the mandatory 30-day waiting period so they can break start the project in mid-June with the hope of completion by August.
Solar powered car at ReVision in Maine. Photo by Ramona du Houx
Today, by a solar-powered electric car charging station, a diverse group of business and conservation leaders and citizen electric car owners gathered in Portland to recognize and celebrate the growing use of electric vehicles in Maine, as well as the tremendous benefits these vehicles can bring to our state. With more and more makes and models now available, electric vehicle (EV) ownership is on the rise in Maine. There are now hundreds on the road here, and roughly half of Maine’s EVs are registered in Cumberland County.
“Electric vehicles can and should be an essential part of Maine’s energy future,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Nearly everyone agrees that Maine must cut our dependence on oil if we want to sustain a strong economy and confront the increasing threat of severe climate change. It is therefore very exciting to see more and more Mainers putting electric vehicle technology to use to do just that.”
A wide range of plug-in electric vehicles are available today, from all-electric models to “plug-in hybrid” versions, which include significant gasoline engine capacity in addition to a plug-in charged battery. All reduce gasoline consumption and gasoline costs for owners. As a result, conservation groups hail electric vehicles as a major strategy to reduce Maine’s dependence on oil and curb global warming pollution. Stakeholders and EV owners gathered at Revision Energy on Presumpscot Street, which hosts two publicly available charging stations.
Read more ›
Tags: Solar energy in Maine
The Senate unanimously gave final approval to a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson to study the potential benefits of biomass for renewable energy.The measure directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to complete a comprehensive study on the potential benefits and barriers to making thermal energies eligible for the State of Maine’s renewable energy portfolio standard. This standard is a regulation that requires at least 30% of energy production in Maine to come from renewable energy sources.
“With more and more Mainers struggling to heat their homes, we need to explore alternative sources for energy,” said Senator Jackson of Allagash. “Biomass is one option for renewable energy, and this study will help us determine the role it could play in Maine’s energy future.”
As part of the study, the PUC will review the legislative actions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maryland to add thermal energies to their portfolios. The PUC will report their findings to the Legislature in 2015. The measure, LD 1468 “Resolve, Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Study the Potential Benefits and Barriers Involved in Making Renewable Thermal Technologies Eligible for Qualification in Maine’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard”, will be sent to Governor LePage for his signature.
ReVison Energy installs solar car battery chargers like this one at their headquarters in Portland. Photo by Ramona du Houx
In a vote of 105 to 41, the Maine House overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s veto
of a bill that would provide rebates for solar panels as well as heat pump rebates for low-income Mainers.
LD 1252 reestablishes the solar rebate program under Efficiency Maine and would help more than 1,250 new solar panel and hot water projects at Maine homes and businesses.
“The strong bipartisan support for clean, renewable energy sources bodes well for the people of Maine,” said bill sponsor Rep. Terry Morrison. “We cannot afford to continue to subsidize big oil without looking at other options. We must explore all of our alternatives and not let ideology limit our ability to save our citizens money. Maine people are struggling to pay their bills. Solar panels and heat pumps are a part of an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy to put more in the pockets of the people we serve.”
The bill that was vetoed was crafted in a bipartisan manner with the addition of an amendment from Rep. Lance Harvell, that would provide Mainers who qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program with rebates for heat pumps. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.
Tags: Solar energy in Maine
Solar panels on top of the G.O Logic home in Belfast.
Small businesses gathered in Augusta, Maine to urge Governor LePage to allow a solar bill to become law, now that it has passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. Over 20 small businesses signed a letter to the Governor saying that the bill would allow more small businesses to invest in money-saving solar energy and support more good paying, clean energy jobs. LD 1252 would reinstate the solar energy program at Efficiency Maine, which provides rebates to homeowners and businesses to help lower the up-front cost of rooftop solar energy arrays.
“Duratherm has utilized this program in the past to help fund the installation of our solar wall at our Vasslaboro facility about three years ago,” said Tim Downing, President of Duratherm Windows. “The result of this installation has been a 35 percent reduction in the amount of LP gas used at our facility. Not only has the solar system reduced our fuel usage, but it has also increased the number of hours per day our finish room can be used in the coldest days of winter. Energy efficiency and renewable energy investments at our facility have enabled us to eliminate our use of #2 oil (previously 21,000 gallons/year.)”
Last year the Baldacci administration’s solar program ran out of funds, leaving Maine the only New England state with no policies specifically to help people invest in solar on their homes and businesses, and leaving hundreds of Maine solar jobs in jeopardy. LD 1252 was enacted by the Legislature by strong votes in each body (House 109-30, Senate 22-12). It would provide one million dollars per year for 2.5 years for the program.
“This solar program helped hundreds of Maine home- and business owners invest in solar energy, and it was a key part of growing the solar industry in Maine—from Portland to areas like Pittsfield and Newport,” said Vaughan Woodruff, Owner of Insource Renewables in Pittsfield. “Now is not the time to abandon that progress.”
Read more ›
Tags: Solar Power in Maine
Solar power in Maine is about to receive rebates from lawmakers. Photo by Ramona du Houx
The Maine State Senate unanimously gave initial approval to a measure to increase solar energy development in Maine.
“Maine is the only state in New England without a solar incentive program and because of this we are missing out on an important opportunity to increase access to energy, protect our environment, and strengthen our economy,” said Senator Vitelli of Arrowsic, the sponsor of the measure. “The sun is the most abundant energy source on the planet and we would do well to take advantage of it.”
Senator Vitelli’s bill creates roadmap for solar power in Maine, based upon a tax incentive program of the Baldacci administration that was law until the funds ran out and the LePage administration refused to continue the program.
Read more ›
Tags: Solar energy in Maine
The Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee unanimously voted to support a bill sponsored by Democratic Senator Eloise Vitelli to support solar energy development in Maine.
“Maine is the only state in New England without a solar incentive program and because of this we are missing out on an important opportunity to increase access to energy, protect our environment, and strengthen our economy,” said Senator Vitelli. “The sun is the most abundant energy source on the planet and we would do well to take advantage of it.”
Maine’s solar energy rebates started under Gov. John Baldacci’s administration but when the funding ran out the LePage administration let the program die. Maine spends $5 billion per year importing fossil fuels and is the most petroleum-dependent state for home heating, with more than 70 percent of households using it as their primary heating source.
“Although Maine gets 33 percent more sunshine per year than Germany, the world leader in solar energy harvest, the Dirigo state is the only territory in New England with zero state policy support for solar energy,” said Phil Coupe of ReVison Energy, a Maine-based company that installs solar energy systems and helps non-profits with special financing programs so they can adopt solar power. “We have a tremendous opportunity to create good-paying jobs, reduce long-term energy costs and restore Maine’s air quality by adopting Senator Vitelli’s solar bill.”
Read more ›
Tags: Solar energy in Maine
The VolturnUS floating offshore wind turbine 1/8th pilot at it’s launch. VolturnUS is the only offshore wind turbine in the Americas. photo by Ramona du Houx
President William Jefferson Clinton in his book Back to Work wrote, “The surest way to create jobs, cut costs, enhance national security, cut the trade deficit by up to 50 percent, and fight global warming is to change the way we produce and consume energy.”
A measure to strengthen Maine’s wind energy law, sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond received strong support today at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.
“Business and industry need a fair, consistent, and predictable regulatory environment,” said President Alfond. “Renewable energy and wind power development are very important to Maine, and this bill is an attempt to create a regulatory environment where decisions are made in a transparent, consistent, and predictable manner.”
The bill explicitly states that the Department of Environmental Protection shall not establish new requirements on permitting without going through established procedures. The bill also requires a written explanation when the primary siting authority ignores the opinion of a hired expert.<
Read more ›
Tags: WInd energy in Maine
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert opened on February 13, 2014 as the largest thermal solar power plant of its type in the world. The facility can produce nearly 400 megawatts—enough power for 140,000 homes. It includes 173,500 mirrors that follow the sun’s trajectory to create steam power for the generators.
“We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar in a release.
The Ivanpah project, which is a joint effort between NRG Solar, Google, and BrightSource Energy, received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy.