Maine Ocean and Wind News Wrap-up for December 2015

Maine’s high court puts end to Bowers Mountain wind power plan
 
 A long-embattled, $100 million wind project planned for Penobscot County has lost its final appeal before the state’s highest court, ending a six-year effort by Boston-based First Wind to build wind turbines near Bowers Mountain.
 
In a decision handed down Thursday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the ruling of the state’s Board of Environmental Protection. It was the first such project to be rejected by regulators.
 
 
 
 
Wind power ‘critical’ to combating climate change, advocacy group says 
 
Proponents of wind power in Maine unveiled a reportTuesday at Bangor City Hall touting the growth of wind power over the last decade and its potential to further reduce the harm of climate change.
 
“Our message today is clear: Wind power here in Maine is already growing steadily, reducing pollution and helping to reduce the climate crisis,” said Laura Dorle, a campaign organizer for Environment Maine, a Portland-based environmental advocacy group. “But we need policies to provide steady support for this clean energy resource to maintain our momentum in the fight against global warming.”
 
 
 
OUR OPINION: Loss of Statoil stings as Scotland project advances
 
A familiar name was in the news last week, when Norwegian oil giant Statoil announced that it was going ahead with Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm.
Statoil was the company that was set up to build the original Hywind demonstration project off the coast of Maine in 2013, until the legs were cut out from under the deal by Gov. Paul LePage
 
 
 
 
New $13.8M UMaine wind and wave lab to test turbines, ships

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine on Monday unveiled a $13.8 million laboratory that will allow companies to test designs for offshore wind turbines, underwater turbines and ships against the toughest ocean conditions.

“These will be the only [test facilities] of their kind in Maine with world-class capabilities to educate students and conduct cutting-edge research and development,” said Habib Dagher, director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center on campus. “The [research and development] will support the growth of the ocean economies and shipbuilding sectors in Maine and the nation."
 
 
 
Spurned in Maine, wind farm to float in Scotland
 
A global energy company that abandoned plans two years ago to build a $120 million demonstration wind farm off the Maine coast following opposition from Gov. Paul LePage is moving ahead with a similar project in Scotland.
The decision is inviting an examination of what Maine may be losing in terms of jobs and private investment, as well as its ambitions to become a center of global research in an evolving, clean-energy industry.
 
 
 
 
Maine & New England looking at Canadian hydro
 
Governor LePage will be in Boston later this week to talk about energy with the Premier of Quebec. That meeting will follow a speech by LePage to a New England and Canadian conference about energy issues, and hydropower is expected to be the prime focus.
 
The LePage administration wants less expensive sources of electricity, and the Governor has repeatedly talked about getting cheap hydropower from Quebec or Labrador. The other New England states have also started looking north because several big power plants in Massachusetts and Connecticut will be shutting down. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island recently issued out a joint request for proposals (RFP), to explore the possibility of new, renewable electricity. Patrick Woodcock, director of the Governor's energy office, says the interest in southern New England could have a major impact on what happens in Maine.Link to Full Article
 
European firm pitches huge wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard
 
A major European energy company is proposing what could be North America’s largest offshore wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, outlining its plans less than a year after the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound suffered a stunning financial setback.
 
Denmark-based DONG Energy A/S, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms, Monday said it would build up to 100 giant wind turbines, generating as much as 1,000 megawatts of electricity — more than double the output Cape Wind had proposed for its site off Cape Cod. The Danish company recently acquired one of the leases for a stretch of ocean that the US government has designated for wind farms. It has dubbed the local operation Bay State Wind.
 
 
Tidal power firm awarded $2.25 million federal grant
 
PORTLAND, Maine — Ocean Renewable Power Co. has won a $2.25 million federal grant to build a deployment, anchor and retrieval system for its tidal and river power generation turbines.
The U.S. Department of Energy funding will allow the company to develop ways to lower the costs of deploying, retrieving and anchoring its tidal and river power turbines, making them more commercially competitive, according to a news release issued Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.
Ocean Renewable President and CEO Chris Sauer called the grant award a “big deal,” saying the work to be done with the grant will represent an important advancement in alternative power technology.
 
 
The yeas and nays: How Maine’s congressional representatives voted this week
 
ENERGY BILL: The House has passed the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan. The bill would speed the permitting process for proposed natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure projects, repeal the ban on exports of crude oil, and require the Energy Department to study potential changes to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve program.
Upton said improving the permitting process would make it easier to expand the nation’s energy infrastructure to adapt to changing supply and consumption, without sacrificing environmental and safety concerns.
A bill opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-New Jersey, said it “favors an energy policy that is dominated by fossil fuels and unnecessary energy use, “failing to recognize the danger of climate change and promote the growth of renewable energy.”