A fracking operation takes place on leased farm land in Dimock, Pennsylvania, where dairy farms used to dominate, on January 31, 2012.

US natural gas stockpile low; price could spike next winter

By Scott DiSavino, Reuters on April 28, 2014, at 8:21 a.m.
NEW YORK — The United States faces a natural gas supply shortfall this year despite the country’s fracking boom, threatening more price spikes as energy companies struggle to replenish stockpiles drained to critically low levels after a brutal winter. As the coldest winter in 30 years thaws across North America, …
Maura McDonald, a nurse practioner and South Portland resident, speaks on Thurs., June 6, 2013, at a rally organized by the Concerned Citizens of South Portland against the prospect of pumping oil sand crude, also known as tar sands, from Montreal to South Portland harbor.

South Portland adds 6 months to tar sands moratorium

By Shelby Carignan, The Forecaster on April 24, 2014, at 11:40 a.m.
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The South Portland City Council on Wednesday extended a moratorium on tar sands and approved a transfer of $15,000 additional funds to the city property tax assistance program. Councilors also authorized a $10,000 business loan for a start-up consignment shop in the Mill Creek-Knightville neighborhood, and …
A color-coded map of Falmouth shows where Summit Natural Gas plans to install gas distribution lines over the next four years.

Towns just north of Portland prep for $42 million natural gas ‘backbone’ project

By Ben McCanna on April 23, 2014, at 2:33 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — The first phase of a $42 million natural gas distribution project is imminent, but it’s still unknown when residents will be able to begin using the fuel in their homes. That was the takeaway from an informational meeting held Thursday, April 17, at Town Hall by Summit …
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud speaks at an Earth Day press conference on Yarmouth waterfront on Tuesday. He blasted Gov. LePage's stance on renewable energy.

On Earth Day, Michaud takes digs at LePage’s environmental, energy record

By Mario Moretto on April 22, 2014, at 6:33 p.m.
YARMOUTH, Maine — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud on Tuesday took several shots at Republican Gov. Paul LePage regarding the incumbent’s record on energy and environmental issues. Speaking during an Earth Day event organized by the Sierra Club of Maine at the Yarmouth Town Landing, Michaud said LePage has stood …
Eric Wilkinson (from left), external affairs representative for ISO-New England; Steve Hinchman, general counsel and senior vice president with GridSolar; Dan Kelley, vice president of Woodard and Curran'’s energy and power engineering group; and John Carroll, spokesman for CMP parent company Iberdrola USA discuss the future of electricity delivery in Maine during an E2Tech program Thursday at the Wishcamper Center at the University of Southern Maine.

CMP and solar energy advocates clash over what’s the smartest grid for Maine

By Darren Fishell on April 18, 2014, at 3:28 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Central Maine Power Co. says it needs to change a rate structure that no longer reflects its costs for delivering electricity. But some of the utility’s largest customers have countered that the proposed rate structure change would penalize them for generating their own power, using solar panels …
Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Forest Products Industry adviser Rosaire Pelletier (far left) and DECD Commissioner George Gervais listen to Cate Street Capital officials during a Finance Authority of Maine meeting on April 17.

FAME reduces bond for Millinocket pellet mill project to $16 million

By Nick Sambides Jr. on April 17, 2014, at 1:33 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Finance Authority of Maine’s board of directors voted 8-5 on Thursday to approve a $16 million bond to build a $140 million wood pellet plant in Millinocket. The board’s action marked a $9 million reduction in the state-backed bond board members approved for a similar project …
A hydrogen nozzle is plugged into a Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media briefing in Tokyo in this October 10, 2013 file photo. Toyota Motor Corp will in 2015 launch a hydrogen-powered car in the United States, Japan and Europe.

Toyota will launch hydrogen-powered car in 2015

By Norihiko Shirouzu, Paul Lienert and Yoko Kubota, Reuters on April 17, 2014, at 8:07 a.m.
TOYOTA CITY, Japan/IRVINE, Calif. — In 1997, Toyota caught its competitors by surprise with the revolutionary Prius, the first commercially successful gasoline-electric hybrid car. Now, the Japanese firm is trying to do the same with a technology that seems straight out of science fiction. Toyota Motor Corp will next year …
The wreckage of a train is pictured after an explosion in Lac-Megantic, in this file picture taken July 6, 2013.

After ‘end of the world’ explosion, Quebec town tries to find hope

By Marina Villeneuve, Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting on April 17, 2014, at 6:48 a.m.
Second of two parts LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — Eight months ago, the people of Lac-Megantic thought the world was ending. A runaway 72-car train carrying a volatile variety of crude oil derailed and exploded in this community of 6,000, killing 47 people and destroying the town center. On a rare sunny …
The East Millinocket paper mill.

Restart of East Millinocket mill delayed as firms clash on electricity agreement

By Nick Sambides Jr. on April 16, 2014, at 6:33 p.m.
EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Negotiations between two companies over electricity sales that would help restart a local paper mill have devolved into finger-pointing and delayed indefinitely the mill’s resumption of production, officials said Wednesday. Brookfield Asset Management’s attorney said that Great Northern Paper Co. LLC officials have refused to divulge …

‘I don’t see the point of waiting’: Belfast councilors discuss weaning city from fossil fuels

By Abigail Curtis on April 16, 2014, at 4:10 p.m.
BELFAST, Maine — A month after the Belfast City Council voted to ask the state retirement system to divest from fossil fuel-related investments, City Councilor Mike Hurley asked if his fellow councilors would put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. He asked at Tuesday night’s regular council …
State Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, speaks in the Maine House of Representatives Monday urging his colleagues to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that boosts a solar and heat-pump rebate program by adding a surcharge on all those who purchase electricity in Maine. The House voted 105 -41, in favor of overriding LePage's veto. The state Senate must also vote on the issue.

Maine House overrides LePage veto of solar power rebate bill

By Scott Thistle on April 14, 2014, at 3:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives voted Monday to override a Gov. Paul LePage veto of a bill would fund a solar and heat pump rebate program by adding a 0.011 cents per kilowatt-hour tax on residential and commercial electric bills. The new fee will cost the average homeowner …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage vetoes solar energy bill, two others

By Christopher Cousins on April 11, 2014, at 8:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage vetoed three more bills Friday evening, including a solar energy concept he has been railing against for weeks. LePage said he vetoed LD 1252, An Act to Improve Maine’s Economy and Energy Security with Solar and Wind Energy, because it establishes a new tax …

Central Maine Power starting annual transmission line inspections

By Ryan McLaughlin on April 10, 2014, at 2:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Central Maine Power’s annual spring inspections of transmission lines are underway, and the company is using a helicopter to perform them. The flights are a part of the company’s inspection program to ensure safe, reliable delivery of power to residences and businesses throughout its service area. The …

South Portland Planning Board votes to extend tar sands moratorium

By Shelby Carignan, The Forecaster on April 09, 2014, at 1:15 p.m.
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The South Portland Planning Board on Tuesday endorsed a 180-day extension of the moratorium on tar sands developments, which is set to expire May 5. The board approved the extension 4-0, with Rob Schreiber and Erick Giles absent. The City Council sent the extension to the …
Leigh Saufley

CMP kept $2.6 million too much in customer deposit money, court rules

By Seth Koenig on April 08, 2014, at 5:49 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Tuesday that Central Maine Power Co. kept $2.6 million more in deposit payments than it should have, a move state regulators say threatened to inflate customers’ rates. In a ruling written by Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, the state’s highest court …
Gov. Paul LePage (second from left) shakes hands with employees at Great Northern Paper company in East-Millinocket after a press conference in Oct. 2011.

LePage signs bill to help restart East Millinocket mill

By Nick Sambides Jr. on April 08, 2014, at 2:08 p.m.
EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill that would allow electricity sales to restore at least 200 jobs and re-energize a local paper mill, his spokeswoman said Tuesday. “This is a step in the right direction so that both parties can come to an …
A trash truck driver prepares to dump his load of municipal solid waste at Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington in 2009.

From dumps to wattage: Maine’s changing waste landscape

By Matthew Stone on April 04, 2014, at 9:08 a.m.
A confluence of forces having to do with contracts, electricity prices and landfill space — all coming to a head in 2018 — are at play in the effort by a group representing 187 Maine towns and cities to devise an entirely new scheme for disposing municipal solid waste. This …
From the community

Distributed Generation and Microgrids

By Brianna Courneya on April 02, 2014, at 1:05 p.m.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 7:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Location: Lee Auditorium, Wishcamper Center, USM Campus, 34 Bedford St., Portland, Portland, Maine For more information: Jeff Marks at 207-956-1970; Following up on E2Tech’s successful forum on the needs of and issues with the regional electricity grid – the “macrogrid” …
Rep. Larry Dunphy, R-Embden

House advances bill to give Unorganized Territory more say in wind development

By Mario Moretto on March 31, 2014, at 7:24 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After a floor debate featuring soaring rhetoric about democracy and self-determination, the House on Monday advanced a bill aimed at giving residents of Maine’s vast Unorganized Territory a new way to slow down wind development. Since 2008, about one-third of the Unorganized Territory has been categorized as …
The scene of the fatal rail explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July.

Oil sector withholding data on rail cargoes, says US regulator

By Patrick Rucker, Reuters on March 29, 2014, at 3:41 p.m.
WASHINGTON — U.S. transport regulators on Friday scolded the oil industry for not sharing important information on the kinds of rail shipments that have been involved in a number of fiery train derailments. The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group that represents oil industry companies, disputed the accusations. In letters …
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