Entries Filed in 'Maine’s green energy potential'
President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020. Already the White House has been equipped with solar panels. These efforts are aimed to show an example to others that transitioning to renewable energy sources makes economic sense as in the long run it saves money, saves finite resources, keeps jobs in America, lessons our dependency on other countries for oil, reduces the effects of climate change, and grows American jobs. It also strengthens our national security.
Obama announced the plan today as part of a wide-ranging, second-term drive to fight climate change and prepare for its effects. The directive on renewable energy applies to all federal agencies — civilian and military. The Defense Department has already set a goal that 25 percent of its energy needs should be supplied by renewable energy by 2025 and is implementing their plan.
Wind energy is on the rise in Maine and is providing large environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report released today by Environment Maine. Maine’s wind energy avoided 534,700 metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution in 2012, which is equivalent to eliminating the pollution from more than 111,000 cars. The report also finds that wind energy reduces smog and soot pollution and saves the nation vast amounts of water.
“Wind energy isn’t just good for the environment and our health, it’s Maine’s economic future,” said Paul Williamson of the Maine Wind Industry. “The wind industry has invested more than $1 billion in Maine over the last 10 years, putting more than 700 local Maine businesses to work across all 16 counties. That represents thousands of real jobs for local people. And the industry is poised to invest almost $2 billion new dollars in Maine during the next three years alone. Wind is Maine’s future.”
Thanks to its current and future benefits, wind power is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming by 17 percent by 2020. The plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency, and the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
Wind Power for a Cleaner America II: Wind Energy’s Growing Benefits for Our Environment and Our Health report analyzes 2012 data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the wind industry to quantify environmental benefits from current wind generation in Maine, as well as the additional benefits five years from now, in 2018, if wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years.
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President Barack Obama’s weekly address on how we are creating a new clean energy economy
Thermal Energy Storage of Maine CEO Adam Cote was one of twelve people honored today at the White House as a Champion of Change and recognized for being a “Veteran Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security.”
Cote, a Sanford, Maine native and Veteran with service in Bosnia and Iraq, is currently deployed to Afghanistan as Company Commander of the Maine Army National Guard 133rd Engineering Battalion’s Task Force Black Bear. The White House arranged for Cote to join the event briefly via video link to talk about his energy work in Maine and the importance of energy storage for America’s clean energy future.
“I am humbled and grateful to the President and the White House for this honor, thank you” said Cote. “We founded Thermal Energy Storage of Maine because winters are cold and expensive for Maine families. Energy storage technology provides an affordable home heating solution for families and businesses. It is also an important piece of the puzzle that will allow Maine and our country to convert intermittently generated renewable energy into a stable, secure and local source of power and heat. We are grateful to be working with terrific, forward looking businesses like Dead River Company, Central Maine Power Company (CMP), Steffes Corporation and many others who are committed to giving their customers affordable off-peak electric heating options.”
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Maine’s proposal to ease anti-smog regulations has faced criticism from Delaware and New York as it is seen undermining the alliance formed by 12 states and the District of Columbia to control cross-border ozone pollution.
The proposal is seeking to remove what Maine state and industry officials claim are hindrances to economic growth without really improving the air quality. New York and Delaware have submitted letters to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency to urge the EPA not to approve the proposal, which will be ruled on by the end of the year.
“At a time when we should be focused on improving air quality and having consistent standards across all the states that contribute to our air quality problems, we believe this is a step in the wrong direction,” said Collin O’Mara, head of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, to the Portland Press Herald.
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The Norwegian energy innovator, Statoil announced it was terminating its investment in nearly $200 million for an off-shore ocean energy project citing “changes” and “uncertainty” in the state’s legal framework and “project delays which have made the project outlook too uncertain to proceed.”
“This is a terrible blow to Maine. Governor LePage has failed. He literally turned away hundreds of millions of dollars in economic opportunity and denied jobs to hundreds of Maine people,” said Senate President Justin Alfond. “This should not have happened and could have been avoided. But we have a governor who changed the rules of the game and pulled the welcome mat out from underneath Statoil’s feet.”
The state began to work with Statoil in 2009 when former Governor John Baldacci, on a special trade mission focussed on alternative energy to promote Maine, toured the world’s first floating wind turbine. The apparatus, in the North Sea, was built by Statoil. The company is partially owned by the Norwegian government. The trip resulted with an agreement between the University of Maine (UMaine) and Statoil to share research. Since then UMaine has built it’s own prototype floating wind turbine, VolturnUS, that is currently being tested off Castine, Maine. UMaine’s project developer, Habib Dagher, worked closely with Statoil since 2009 and had hopes of including the company in an application to the federal government for a multimillion dollar grant.
“Without Statoil’s investment, we still have an opportunity to be first to market with the university’s project, but having two offshore wind projects in Maine would have been big elements in creating the entire industry here. Now the opportunity is less likely that Maine will be the birthplace of this industry,” said Paul Williamson, executive director of the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative.
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President Barack Obama declared in his State of the Union that we must combat climate change. One Mainer heading up this cause is Kay Mann of GreenEnergyMaine.com. Mann had the idea for the website in 2003 to respond to what she saw as an unsustainable energy paradigm as the United States invaded Iraq, oil prices peaked, and climate change was being highlighted.
“I felt strongly motivated to learn as much as I could about sustainable energy technologies and to work to help others to find ways to make the changes that will bring us to sustainability. I thought that aggregating as much information as possible onto one website would create a helpful resource that I could provide,” said Mann.
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By Representative Ann Dorney
As a Representative from District 86, I have been looking at Maine’s energy policy. When I evaluated how we could quickly create jobs, save people money (many of my constituents are on fixed incomes) and reduce our energy use, I found the obvious solution is to encourage energy updates to our houses and businesses. Maine has the oldest population and we have the oldest houses, many of which are not properly insulated. Many of our heating systems use oil, which is expensive and comes from other countries. We also need to reduce our carbon emissions – there is more and more evidence that Climate Change is real and we need to act.
We have an opportunity to do something different. There are already State programs to encourage energy efficiency. Weatherizing your house, for example, has a payback time of two years on average; putting up solar panels could pay for itself in ten years. There are loan programs through Efficiency Maine that give loans to homeowners, but many towns to not participate (including two in my district) – probably because they don’t know about them or how to sign up.
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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Clean Air Act standards to cut carbon pollution from new power plants in order to combat climate change and improve public health on September 20th.
The EPA has also initiated broad-based outreach and direct engagement with state, tribal, and local governments, industry and labor leaders, non-profits, and others to establish carbon pollution standards for existing power plants and build on state efforts to move toward a cleaner power sector.
Maine is part of the Regional Green House Gas Inititive (RGGI) which was the first cap-and-trade program in America. The program has been so successful over $40 million has come to Maine from it for energy efficiency projects.
“This is good news for Maine because we limit climate pollution from power plants through RGGI,” said Enviroment Maine Director Emily Figdor. “Now it is time for national standards so the rest of the country will clean up dirty power plants as well.”
The EPA’s new proposal achieves the first milestone outlined in President Obama’s June 25 Memorandum to EPA on “Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards,” a major part of the President’s Climate Action Plan.
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Tags: RGGI - Regional Green House Gas initiative
“USDA Rural Development’s ongoing investments in Maine’s four wood pellet manufacturing companies is important and helps to sustain the growth of Maine’s vital biofuel industry, supports jobs and replaces use of fossil fuels with clean renewable biomass energy in many of Maine’s homes, businesses, and non-profit institutions,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.
All four of Maine’s pellet companies have received payments for a total of $42,966 invested in Maine’s biofuel industry:
- Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC, in Athens, has received a payment of $24,127 to produce wood pellets.
- Geneva Wood Fuels, LLC, in Strong, has received a payment in the amount of $13,374 to produce wood pellets.
- Corinth Wood Pellets, LLC, has received a payment of $3,081 to produce wood pellets.
- Northeast Pellets, LLC, in Ashland, has received a payment in the amount of $2,384 to produce wood pellets.
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