Maine Wind & Ocean News Wrap up for Feb-March 2015

Oakfield wind project wins court challenge on environmental concerns

A federal judge has rejected challenges to federal permits for a 50-turbine wind farm in Oakfield that broke ground in September and shipped components to Searsport on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Jon Levy on Monday ruled in favor of the wind project developers, SunEdison, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others, denying motions for summary judgment from environmental groups and people who own camps in the area.
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Permitting appeals board staff recommends OK for Bingham wind power project
Staff of the state’s environmental permitting appeals board have recommended upholding a permit for a proposed western Maine wind farm that would be Maine’s largest wind power project to date.
The Board of Environmental Protection, an appointed citizen oversight panel, will consider the Bingham Wind permit appeal at a March 5 meeting and hear oral arguments before taking up a draft order that would uphold the permit for the 62-turbine wind farm.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection gave a permit to the $398 million project in September. It is led by subsidiaries of the former First Wind, now part of solar energy giant SunEdison after a $2.4 billion sale that closed in January.
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Maine Investing in Smart Energy
A recent meeting between Maine Governor Paul LePage and Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan focused on the state’s energy future. Iberdrola is the corporate parent of Central Maine Power (CMP).
Galan notes, “CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Program is among our largest, most important projects in the United States in recent years. We are pleased with the progress, and we look forward to additional investments to enhance service for our customers and support the development of clean, renewable smart energy resources for Maine and the rest of New England.”
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AG Mills orders wind power opposition group to replace leaders or disband
The statewide wind power opposition group Friends of Maine Mountains will have to shut down if it can’t restructure its five-member board of directors within four months, as part of a settlement with Maine’s attorney general.
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ITAC Maine-made turbine
The Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC), added the Pika T701 turbine to its unified list of wind turbines. The ITAC is a project of the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA). Achieving listing with ITAC is a key milestone for Pika," said president and co-founder, Ben Polito. "Our engineers work hard to design reliable products with innovative safety and monitoring features.”
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Maine Utility Regulators Decide to Reconsider Two Wind Power Projects
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has decided to reconsider proposals for two wind power projects it had previously initially approved.
The commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of reopening negotiations, based on energy costs that are now 20 percent below the rate that existed at the time of the first vote.
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Maine supreme court won’t reconsider Clifton farmers’ appeal of wind farm permit
The state’s highest court on Thursday dealt another blow to a Clifton couple’s attempt to stop the development of a $25 million wind farm near their property.
Shortly after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided that Julie and Peter Beckford had filed their appeal to stop a permitted wind farm on nearby Pisgah Mountain five days too late, the two Rebel Hill Road farmers filed another appeal asking for reconsideration.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court denied the Beckfords’ motion for reconsideration.
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Aroostook County windmill parts driven 100 miles away for storage
Some giant windmill components received an escort Monday from the Maine State Police as they were transported by road 150 miles south from the Canadian border near Houlton to the Mack Point cargo port in Searsport.
The components will winter over in Searsport, according to Jim Therriault of Sprague Energy, the company that owns the Mack Point Marine Intermodal Cargo Terminal.
In early May, the windmill parts will be loaded up again on specialty trailers and hit the highway to return to Aroostook County. Their ultimate destination is Oakfield — less than 20 miles from Houlton.
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Energy subsidies aren’t just for renewables, fossil fuels get the lion’s share
The notion that governments only subsidize renewable energy is nonsense. The federal government gives large tax breaks to oil and gas companies, which are also allowed to drill on federal land and in federal waters for a pittance. Even more expensive, much of our defense spending is about protecting oil and gas supplies.
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