Maine Wind & Ocean News Wrap up for Aug-Sept '14

Bingham wind energy project wins preliminary approval from Maine environmental regulators

State regulators are prepared to give final approval for a 62-turbine wind farm in Bingham, which would be the largest so far approved in the state.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday issued a draft order approving the project, proposed by a subsidiary of the Boston-based firm First Wind. That order will be subject to public comment and further review before final approval can be granted for the proposed $398 million project by Blue Sky West LLC and Blue Sky West II LLC.
 
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Skowhegan State Fair runs on wind energy
Two wind advocacy groups, seeking to promote the use of wind energy, donated enough electricity to run the 10-day fair.
 
“The Skowhegan State Fair is a historic icon,” said Paul Williamson, director and industry coordinator at the Maine Ocean and Wind Energy Initiative. “It represents Maine’s rural economy, which is something that wind energy has become a part of, and so we wanted to make sure wind was represented at the fair.”
 
Wind also had a visible presence at the fair this year: large posters advertising wind energy,create your own wind blade contest on Friday, and the use of wind energy itself.
 
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State report: Alternative energy a top bet for job growth
The findings have the potential to recast the investment strategies of the Maine agency that directs seed money and development loans to promising startups.
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Maine PUC request comments for Pisgah Mt extension
The Maine PUC requests comments for the Pisgah Mt wind project on extension of certification in the renewable energy pilot program. The project has been delayed on construction for three years due to legal appeals. Pisgah M hast LLC been successful in all seven town votes and all other necessary permits are finished and fully executed. 
 
to read the full request for comments (due by September 5, 2014)
 
Limited appeal of Canton wind project allowed
A Massachusetts wind power developer has until Sept. 17 to respond to an administrative appeal filed with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection last month by a Carthage woman, a state official ruled Thursday. On July 17, Alice McKay Barnett, a wind power opponent, submitted seven documents of supplemental evidence that mostly concern turbine noise adversely affecting health.
 
Robert A. Foley, chairman of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection in Augusta, made the decision. Foley accepted the developer's argument and rejected all seven attachments by not admitting them into the record.
 
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UMaine’s wind turbine lab tests largest blade yet
A 180-foot wind turbine blade has been delivered to the University of Maine for strength testing. It’s the biggest structure the center has put through the ringer in its six years of evaluating turbine components. Under the terms of its contract with the manufacturer, the name of the company that produced the turbine is confidential.
The U-Maine facility is one of just two sites in the nation capable of handling a blade this large. The blade would go on a turbine with a 400-foot rotation diameter, or about four stories tall, not including the tower.
 
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First Wind to utilize GE technology for Maine wind farm
GE’s (NYSE: GE) Digital Energy business will supply its synchronous condenser technology to First Wind’s Oakfield wind farm in northern Maine to connect wind power to the grid.
Synchronous condensers increase the grids strength and improve the voltage stability, allowing a wind turbine to operate in an otherwise weak grid.
The Oakfield wind farm is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2015.
 
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Tidal power company seeks support for Washington County venture
Halcyon Tidal Power’s plan is the latest project proposed for the Cobscook Bay area, where huge tides draw interest from energy developers     
An Augusta-based company that wants to develop a $125 million tidal energy project in Cobscook Bay will hold meetings this week meant to advance its venture with state officials, local residents and investors.
 
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First Wind to Host Reception Honoring Maine Students That Received Scholarships Through 2014 Program
First Wind will host a special recognition dinner at River Driver’s Restaurant in Millinocket to celebrate Maine students that were selected as scholarship recipients through the 2014 First Wind Scholars program. Five of the seventeen students selected to receive a scholarship are Maine residents, representing the largest number of any state. As part of the 2014 program, First Wind distributed a total of $15,000 in scholarship dollars to Maine students through one-time $3,000 grants.
 Winners of the 2014 scholarships include:
    Brayden Beardsley, Ellsworth High School
    Mataya Hartin, Southern Aroostook Community School
    Courtney Jurson, Hodgdon High School
    Trysten Pelkey, Mattanawcook Academy
    Hunter Turner, Easton Jr./Sr. High School
 
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Dixfield puts temporary moratorium on wind energy projects
The six-month pause will give selectmen time to finish revisions to a wind energy ordinance.
Quincy, Massachusetts, firm Patriot Renewables LLC asked Dixfield officials three years ago about building 13 wind turbines on a mountain ridge. The town’s selectmen approved a Wind Energy Facility Ordinance in 2012 and began revising it in January 2013.
The six-month moratorium is to allow selectmen to finish the revisions. Residents voted 89-7 in favor of the moratorium Thursday.
 
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