Maine Wind and Ocean Energy News Wrap-up for April - May 2012

Maine regulators pave way for US tidal power

The first long-term power purchase agreements for tidal energy in the United States has been announced in Maine. The Maine Public Utilities Commission set terms for a contract that would be in place for 20 years. The regulators also directed the three utilities to negotiate with Ocean Renewable Power Co. to put electricity onto the grid this summer.
 
Maine regulators on Tuesday put three utilities on the path to distribute electricity harnessed from tides at the nation's eastern tip, a key milestone in a bid to turn the natural rise and fall of ocean levels into power.
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Wind Blade and Storm Challenge draw nearly 400 students and spectators
The Maine Wind Blade Challenge and Wind Storm Challenge drew the largest crowd of competitors as middle and high school students competed to design the most effective wind blades using advanced composite materials, and floating wind platforms.
85 teams from Maine schools competed in both competitions.
The top three teams for Wind Blade Challenge were: 1st, Easton; 2nd, Presque Isle Team 3; and 3rd, Mt Blue High School (Farmington).
The top three teams for Wind Storm Challenge were: 1st, Madison Area Memorial High School Team 1; 2nd, Madison Area Memorial High School 2; and 3rd, Boothbay Region High School.
 
A link to all the following related stories with event details can be found at:
·         Mt. Blue students reinvent the windmill, win recognition for it
·         Students Infuse Wind Blades at Custom Composites
·         Easton Wins Wind Blade Challenge
·         Foster Technology Center takes third place in Wind Blade Challenge
·         USA: Maine Students Compete in Offshore Wind Technology
·         Over 250 Students compete in the 4th annual Maine Wind Blade and Storm Challenges
·         Students Team Up With Manufacturers to Design Wind Turbine Blades, Floating Structures
·         Students Compete in Windstorm and Wind Blade Challenges
·         Students compete at University of Maine in Wind Blade Challenge, Windstorm Challenge
 
 
 
First Wind Secures 76 Million in Financing
TOWNSHIP 16 — First Wind last week announced it has secured $76 million in financing to build Bull Hill Wind and that the 34-megawatt facility will be operational by the end of the year.
 
Construction will include the installation this summer of 19 Vestas 1.8-megawatt wind turbines on Bull Hill and Heifer Hill ridges in Township 16, which borders Eastbrook.
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Regulators approve First Wind-Emera deal
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has approved a proposal by First Wind and Canadian utility Emera to partner with a third energy company to build and operate energy projects in the Northeast.
 
The PUC approved Massachusetts-based First Wind and Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Emera to partner with Ontario-based Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp.
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BEP upholds permitting of 50-turbine Oakfield wind farm
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection voted Wednesday to uphold state regulators’ decision to grant a permit for a 50-turbine wind farm in Oakfield that would be the largest single wind energy project built in Maine to date.
 
By unanimous vote, the BEP rejected opponents’ requests to essentially rescind the permit issued in January by the Department of Environmental Protection and instead hold public hearings on several issues.
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Sierra Club, Sewall and Greenleaf Advisors Launch SmartSiting Project in Great Lakes
First-of-its-kind regional web-based GIS will help identify wind project sites
The Sierra Club, Maine Based James W. Sewall Company, and Greenleaf Advisors are building a team of stakeholders to develop a regional web-based GIS for siting wind energy projects in the Great Lakes. The proposed online system, the first wind siting tool of its kind in the US, will provide developers, regulators, government officials, NGOs, landowners and other organizations with high-value environmental and ecospatial information for use in identifying offshore project sites and evaluating the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of development in the region.
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Federal tax changes and a volatile natural gas market buffet wind development
Is Maine's wind power industry thriving or dying? While the question might seem hyperbolic, there's plenty of evidence for either proposition in what has been an unusually turbulent period for the state's first new, commercially viable source of electricity since the nuclear industry was in its heyday.
 
The Natural Resources Council of Maine lists 19 industrial-scale wind projects statewide that are operating, being permitted or in development — an impressive number, given that the first completed wind farm, in Mars Hill, began operating just five years ago. To date, well over $1 billion has been invested, leading some economists to describe wind as the biggest new industry to arrive in rural Maine since the paper industry took root.
 
Three of the leading developers, First Wind of Boston, Patriot Renewables of Quincy, Mass., and Independence Wind of Portland have collectively invested $765 million in operating farms, with another $431 million in permitted projects.
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Maine radar site may be used to produce energy
MOSCOW — A former Air Force radar station in western Maine has been purchased by three companies that intend to generate energy, most likely from wind turbines.
Maine-based Cianbro and Massachusetts-based Conroy Development Corp. and Jay Cashman Inc. announced Monday that they purchased the 1,300-acre site.
 
The Sun Journal quotes Cianbro CEO Peter Vigue as saying wind power could be generated at the location without disturbing local residents. The companies said they hope to utilize the existing infrastructure like roads, power lines, substations and buildings.
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Discontinuous Unidirectional DiscoTape™ Shows Promise as Formable Reinforcement
Pepin Associates, Inc. has developed a discontinuous, unidirectional preimpregnated reinforcement tape (unitape) which has the ability to stretch up to 30% to form complex shapes. The material, called DiscoTape™ (subject of provisional patent), has shown promise in the formation of composite parts with complex curvatures normally precluding the use of unitape without cutting and darting. The material can be made with glass or carbon fiber prepregged with epoxy resins or thermoplastics. Variations of fiber lengths and segmentation patterns have been investigated to optimize DiscoTape for a variety of applications. DiscoTape has the potential to be used on many other structures ranging from wind blades to structures for aircraft and rotorcraft. 
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Mass Town employs Maine wind power for energy needs
There may not be any windmills in Rowley, but the town is certainly taking advantage of the benefits of the power produced by this energy source. The Rowley Municipal Light Plant recently signed a purchase power agreement with a wind farm in Woodstock, Maine, which will provide 3 percent of the town's electricity needs.
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