Gov. Mills signs LD 994 today

Heavy sigh. The bill was signed today. Read the article here. It notes, "The Maine Aqua Ventus project had been stalled at the PUC for more than a year, after the panel decided to reopen its power purchase contract." What is not noted is that MAV has been stalling the project by not responding to the PUC....Regardless, the testing site is still deeply problematic. Next thing we'll learn is where the cable is proposed to land... and the various communities and working lobster fishermen that will impact...

Sadly, the bill passed on mostly partisan lines.....

The Senate held the final vote on LD 994 "Resolve to Require the Approval by the Public Utilities Commission of a Proposal for a Long-term Contract for Deep-water Offshore Wind Energy" on Friday, June 14. The bill passed as amended by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee (EUT).  

The legislation will now go to the Governor for signature. If signed, the bill will become law 90 days after the end of the legislative session.

Truly sad.
 

Our recent email to Governor Mills regarding LD 994

Dear Governor Mills:

While I appreciate your clean energy agenda and understand the frustrations recent decisions by the PUC may have caused, I believe the current proposed legislation, LD 994, is not the answer. It will damage our democratic processes, de-fang the PUC indefinitely, and diminish other governmental bodies that may be treated similarly in the future. 

For the sake our institutions' integrity, might you

  • appoint a new PUC Chair

  • task the Chair to work with MAV on an expedited timeline to get the information they need to make their determination

  • evaluate their proposal

  • respond accordingly?

To force a contract that has long-term impacts on the citizens of Maine (CMP rate payers, for example) without an analysis of the costs/benefits is fiscally irresponsible, regardless of the sought after outcomes.

If LD 994 reaches your desk, I sincerely ask that you veto it.  There is too much at stake.

Please urge your representatives to vote "no" on LD 994

Much has happened since we last updated the website. In June of last year, the PUC re-opened the term sheet with Maine Aqua Ventus which has not yet got to contract. Instead of responding to the PUC’s requests for information, legislation has been put forward to force the PUC to go to contract. You can find out more by reading our recent editorial, Proposal to Revive Offshore Wnd Project Does Not Pass the Smell Test, and our recent letter to the editor.

MAV Project Recieves Additional Funding

It is being announced today that the pilot wind project still slated to test off of Monhegan Island has received additional government funding and is still hoping to move forward.  You can find today's Portland Press Herald article by clicking here.

There has been little news of late regarding the Maine Aqua Ventus wind project.  For instance, the MAV website has not been updated since 2014. There has also been no new posting on the Monhegan Energy facebook site since Nov of 2014. Obviously work continues.

According to the article, there are issues with the three currently funded federal projects.  A decision regarding which projects will advance will be made on May 31, 2016.
 

Maine Aqua Ventus Still Hoping for Funding

We hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer.  It has been quite a while since we've had any news on the Maine Aqua Ventus wind project...until yesterday.  While one might question the assumptions made in the Portland Press Herald piece....I think it important that everyone be aware.  You can find the article by clicking here.

It is certainly our hope that as part of the project plan a more suitable test site is also being sought.

Rep. Mick Devin's Position on the Test Site

Following on our meeting the other night, Rep. Devin has issued the following statement:

Given the overwhelming evidence that burning fossil fuels impact our environment, I fully support the development of alternative energies.  The argument against developing alternatives is they are more expensive and less efficient than fossil fuels.  This reminds me of my grandfather telling me about owning the second automobile ever in my hometown in the early 1920s.  Cars nearly a century ago regularly broke down and, due to the lack of paved roads, often got stuck.  My grandfather told me that horses were more dependable transport when he purchased that car.  However, due to research and development investments in the automobile industry and transportation infrastructure, namely roads and the National Highway System, cars became much much more efficient and are now the primary transportation for much of the country.   Similar investments in alternative energy will enable America and the rest of the world to cut our carbon emissions significantly over the next few decades. 

To create dependable, inexpensive, and safe alternative energies, investments must be made.  Experiments need to be conducted.  We need our scientists and engineers to build prototypes and test them.  The projects, like the one proposed for the offshore wind turbines off Monhegan Island, are good ideas and should be carried out.  Maine has a chance to be a leader in this field.  We have the engineering capacity and expertise in related industries such as boat building and composites. 

However, regarding the wind turbine project off Monhegan, the location is problematic. Monhegan fishermen are limited to the Monhegan Lobster Conservation Zone, so any loss of fishing ground in their zone limits their total access.  The cable which will laid and is a vital part of the test, will impact multiple fisheries and fishermen from several towns including Bristol, Bremen, and Friendship.  Other potential effects include impacts to coastal tourism.  The marine environment is the primary economic driver for Monhegan Island and the towns in the vicinity of Monhegan.  The present test site could result in a loss of jobs and revenue for municipalities. 

As important as this wind turbine project is to Maine, its impact to all marine stakeholders must be considered.   Other, more suitable sites, which will have a smaller impact on fishermen and other coastal business, should be sought.

Elected Officials at WPAC Meeting Tonight, Tue Nov 25 7 PM

Tonight (Tuesday) at 7 PM at the Bristol Town Hall, as part of their meeting, the Wind Power Advisory Committee has invited Rep Mick Devin and Sen Chris Johnson in order to learn more as to their current thinking and position given the recent Bristol town vote.

You may recall that at our FOMB meeting this past Spring, both officials said that they would take a stand based on what the voters wanted.  If you have time, please come tonight to see.

Thanks!