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Wind Power News: Maine


These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.

April 13, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Birding: Looking at bird deaths – from farming to logging to wind turbines

Ryan Zimmerling and colleagues provided estimates of avian mortality because of collisions with wind turbines. Their figures were based on carcass searches at 43 wind farms in Canada. A carcass count, however, will be low because scavengers remove some of the dead birds before a researcher can find them, some carcasses will be overlooked by researchers and some carcasses fall beyond the search area. Applying a correction factor, Zimmerling estimated that on average eight birds per turbine are killed each year. The numbers ranged from zero to 27 birds killed by each turbine, accounting for about 23,000 bird deaths across Canada. Of note: Birds seem to be better at avoiding wind turbines than bats. Reducing bat mortality from turbine collisions is proving more difficult than reducing avian collisions. Zimmerling and colleagues also considered the effect of habitat loss from wind farm construction and maintenance. They estimated that 5,700 nests are lost each year due to this habitat loss. With wind farms predicted to increase tenfold in the next decade, we can expect a tenfold increase in this type of mortality.

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April 12, 2014 • Letters, MainePrint storyE-mail story

We’re helping First Wind destroy our natural resources

I am writing in response to the April 2 article that was in the Sentinel about First Wind looking for $75 million, after the Maine Supreme Court shot down its financial partnership with a Canadian energy company. Mentioned in the article (“With partnership in limbo, First Wind seeks to borrow $75 million”) is that some of the money is needed for ongoing projects in Maine, which are the Bingham project and sites in Hancock and Washington counties. The article also . . .

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April 10, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Searsmont authorizes tax club payment program, addresses ordinance changes

Voters also tackled a handful of ordinance changes and a request to address the construction of wind turbines of a certain size. Article 33 asked residents to approve a one year moratorium on the construction of wind turbines that are taller than 75 feet or more than 10 megawatts. Residents approved the request without discussion.

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April 10, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Maine asks wind developer to provide financial assurances

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection wants wind power developer “First Wind” to prove that it can still finance three of its projects in Maine. Last month, the state’s highest court ruled that the Maine Public Utilities Commission erred when it approved a joint venture between the company and the utility Emera Maine. Emera had pledged to invest $333 million into the venture, which would have given it a nearly 50 percent stake in First Wind’s developments. Jay Field has . . .

Complete story »

April 9, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Bills to give residents of Unorganized Territory more say in wind deals are dead

Two bills that would have given residents of Maine’s vast Unorganized Territory more say in wind development deals that would place tall turbines in their backyards suffered the most unceremonious of legislative fates of the past week — “death between the chambers.” The 2008 Wind Energy Act made grid-scale wind farms a pre-approved development in about one-third of the UT, which was designated as an “expedited permitting area.” Since then, some residents of the Unorganized Territory have decried what they . . .

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April 9, 2014 • Maine, Press releasesPrint storyE-mail story

Statement on First Wind projects from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection

-Following the Law Court’s decision on First Wind and Emera, Maine Department of Environmental Protection reviews Oakfield Wind, Hancock Wind, Bingham Wind and Bowers Wind projects’ financial capacity- AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has reviewed the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s March 4, 2014 decision that vacated the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s approval of the joint venture between First Wind and Emera. This decision affects four wind-energy developments by First Wind in Maine: the Oakfield Wind project in . . .

Complete story »

April 9, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Maine DEP asks First Wind to re-prove its financial capacity

AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is asking First Wind, Maine’s largest wind power developer, to prove that it has enough money to build four major projects that are in different stages of construction and permitting. The request follows a Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling last month that the state’s Public Utilities Commission erred when it approved a joint venture between First Wind and Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia, the energy company that owns two utilities in northern . . .

Complete story »

April 6, 2014 • Maine, OpinionsPrint storyE-mail story

All eyes should be on the First Wind–PUC affair

A few years ago First Wind had a brilliant scheme: form a joint venture with Nova Scotia utility giant Emera, then blitz Maine with an astonishingly aggressive wind power buildout. This was actually Plan B, after an embarrassing failed attempt to go public in 2010. In 2012 they got hitched with Emera even though Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court was still deciding whether the JV was legal. The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had to impose 50 conditions to the law . . .

Complete story »

April 4, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Two bills to give Unorganized Territory more say in wind deals rejected by Senate

AUGUSTA, Maine — Six years after the state fast-tracked the process to build grid-scale wind turbines in large swaths of Maine’s Unorganized Territory, the Senate on Thursday showed it had no intention of pumping the brakes. In two 21-14 votes, Democrat-led majorities rejected two bills aimed at giving residents of the vast, sparsely populated Unorganized Territory, or UT, further input into the development of wind turbines in their communities. The votes sets up a fight between the Senate and House, . . .

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April 3, 2014 • MainePrint storyE-mail story

Maine Department of Environmental Protection challenges judge’s ruling on island wind power noise

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has appealed a Kennebec County judge’s ruling that chastised Commissioner Patricia Aho for her role in responding to complaints by neighbors over noise from Vinalhaven wind turbines. “On behalf of DEP, the attorney general’s office has filed an appeal of the Superior Court’s decision in the Fox Islands Wind case,” DEP communications director Jessamine Logan said. The March 10 ruling by Justice Michaela Murphy came in a court appeal filed by . . .

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