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

ORPC’s RivGen® Power System Demonstration Project a Major Success

Affordable, Locally Produced, Clean Energy for Remote River Communities Moves Closer to Reality.
ORPC is pleased to announce it has concluded its highly successful RivGen® Power System demonstration project in the Kvichak River at the remote river village of Igiugig, Alaska, 275 miles southwest of Anchorage. ORPC’s RivGen® Power System is a 25 kilowatt system designed to reduce and stabilize the cost of power in remote communities located near rivers and tidal estuaries that currently use diesel fuel for power generation.
 
Energy Department Awards $4.5 Million for Innovative Wind Power R&D Projects
The Energy Department today announced $4.5 million for four projects to help increase deployment of innovative wind power technologies by optimizing the operation, boosting efficiency, and improving the environmental performance of wind energy systems. The research and development (R&D) projects, located in Maine, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Texas, contribute to the Energy Department’s effort to advance innovative technologies that reduce carbon emissions and support the President’s goal to double renewable energy again by 2020.
Biodiversity Research Institute of Gorham, Maine, will receive $1.1 million to develop a stereo-optic camera system to detect and document bird and bat flight behavior in the vicinity of wind turbines. This system will use near-infrared cameras and specialized software to detect animal movements throughout the day and night, and will work to automate the identification of different species of birds and bats. The project will help researchers better understand potential environmental impacts of wind turbines.
 
 
Maine environmental agency OKs permit for state’s largest wind farm in Bingham
A subsidiary of Boston-based First Wind gained final approval Monday to build the largest wind farm yet approved by state regulators.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was expected to grant the permit for the company’s proposed wind farm in Bingham after it issued a draft order approving the 62-turbine, 186-megawatt project on Aug. 27 to the $398 million project by Blue Sky West LLC and Blue Sky West II LLC
 
Frankfort will see wind farm’s benefits, but so will the rest of Maine
In the coming months, the residents of Frankfort will learn more about an exciting emission-free, clean energy project proposed for their town. Waldo Community Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Eolian Renewable Energy LLC, is pursuing the development of a modest six-turbine wind farm on private land in Frankfort — enough electricity for about 6,500 average Maine homes.
As we saw this winter, our overreliance on natural gas leaves us dangerously exposed to violent price swings that lead to sticker shock when our monthly utility bills arrive. One opportunity to shield ourselves from the future unknown costs of natural gas is to embrace and cultivate local renewable sources of energy with no fuel cost.
 
Construction underway on new wave-wind basin at U-Maine
Work is in progress on an addition to UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC), a facility that specializes in material sciences, manufacturing and engineering research and design.
W2, a unique wave-wind basin that began construction in July 2014, will allow UMaine researchers to test offshore structures under differing wave and wind environments. The addition will be completed in May 2015.
 
UMaine Clinches $3.8 Million Federal Offshore Wind Grant
The University of Maine (UMaine)-led consortium behind the planned 12 MW Aqua Ventus offshore wind pilot project has finalized a $3.8 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Aqua Ventus was one of seven U.S. offshore wind projects to receive $4 million in DOE funding in 2012, but the department did not choose the pilot as one of three projects to win a $47 million follow-up grant in May. The DOE did, however, say it would issue UMaine a smaller cooperative research grant to continue the design and engineering work of the 6 MW VolturnUS floating turbine.
 
First Wind celebrates groundbreaking at largest wind project in Maine
First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, was joined Wednesday at a ceremony by community and industry leaders to commemorate construction of the company’s 148MW Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, Maine. Representing First Wind’s sixth project in Maine and the company’s largest in New England, the Oakfield Wind project will provide $27 million in tax and community benefit payments to the town of Oakfield and the surrounding community over the next 20 years.
 
Hancock County approves latest financial agreements with First Wind
Hancock County commissioners voted Friday to approve financial agreements with a First Wind subsidiary expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the county.
By 2-1 votes, the commission approved the creation of a tax increment financing district, a resulting property tax payment agreement and a separate community benefit agreement connected with a planned commercial wind farm in townships 16 and 22 in eastern Hancock County. In each vote, Commissioner Antonio Blasi opposed the approval while commissioners Steve Joy and Percy “Joe” Brown voted in favor of it.
 
Marine Highway Momentum from Maine Port Authority
The more than 25,000 miles of navigable Great Lakes, rivers, and waterways that make up America’s Marine Highway System are – and will remain – a key economic asset. Our nation’s marine highway routes and the tugs and barges that ply those marine highways help alleviate land-side congestion; accommodate future freight growth; and provide reliable, competitive alternatives for freight shippers.