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Entries in hydropower (5)


The Future of the Kennebunk Dams

On Thursday July 20th, the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Kennebunk held a workshop to gather information regarding the Town’s potential role in the future of three dams along the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine.  The Board workshop was centered around a presentation prepared by Verrill Dana attorneys Scott Anderson and Jim Cohen.  During the meeting, Anderson presented four options for the future of the dams, including whether or not to conduct an independent “peer review” of the economics of retaining or abandoning the dams.

Click to read more ...


Energy News Roundup: June 15-June 21

This week in regional energy news …


A River Restoration Riddle...

Question:  When does the removal of a hydropower dam result in increased energy generation?

Answer:   When the Penobscot River Restoration Trust removes the dam.

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a collaboration between environmental groups, state and federal resource agencies, the Penobscot Indian Nation, and PPL Corporation, has struck a deal to restore 1,000 miles of Atlantic Salmon (and other species) habitat on the Penobscot River by removing two dams formerly owned by PPL (Veazie and Great Works) and constructing a fish bypass around a third (Howland).  Verrill Dana has been there from the start, helping the Trust with contracting, permitting and strategic planning (read more about it on our website)

“Well,” you say, “that’s great for the fish, what about the energy?”  With bombs falling overseas, don’t we need to keep all of our home-grown electrons?

The Trust and PPL thought so—so they structured this deal to allow PPL or its successor (now Black Bear Hydro) to increase generation at other facilities in the Penobscot River watershed.  The result—happy fish- AND the river system will maintain its generating capacity (maybe even eke out a little more than it did before).

It can be done.  We’re doing it in Maine.



New Life Breathed into Woodland Mill

In September 2010, International Grand Investment Corporation (IGIC) purchased the Woodland pulp mill in Washington County from Domtar Maine LLC.  Prior to the sale, the mill, now owned by IGIC subsidiary Woodland Pulp LLC, was not part of Domtar’s core business, and its future was uncertain.  Under IGIC’s ownership, the mill has a much more optimistic future.  Governor Baldacci recently visited the mill and met with the mill’s Director, Bert Martin.   

The mill currently employs approximately 300 people and expects to hire 10 more in early 2011. The mill is currently producing 1,200 metric tons of pulp a day, but Martin would like to ramp-up production to 1,400 metric tons per day.  The mill is looking at alternative products and investing in energy efficiency with state and federal funding.  According to Baldacci, the mill is the largest employer north of Bangor and the “lifeblood” Washington County.  In addition to the pulp production, there are significant hydroelectric generating assets associated with the mill, which supply power for the mill.  Surplus power is sold to New Brunswick Power.

Verrill Dana served as local counsel to IGIC in the purchase of the mill, with a team spearheaded by Mark Googins and Jim Palmer.  Verrill Dana attorneys Scott Anderson, Johanna Babb, Charlie Bacall, Kelly Boden, Molly Callaghan, Doug Currier, Katie Gray, Bill Harwood, Nora Healy, John Krampf, Christopher McLoon, Suzanne Meeker, and Al Raymond assisted Mark and Jim. Verrill Dana will continue to serve as counsel to IGIC with respect to the mill, including representation of the mill in ongoing FERC matters.


Penobscot River Restoration Trust Purchases Three Maine Dams, Significantly Improving Fish Passage

Today, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust announced that it has closed on the purchase of three dams on the Penobscot River, the Great Works, Howland and Veazie dams, from PPL Corporation for the price of roughly $24 million.  The Trust plans to remove the Veazie and Great Works dams and install fish passage around the Howland dam.  These efforts will significantly improve access to approximately 1,000 miles of river habitat for eleven species of sea-run fish, including Atlantic salmon, sturgeon and river herring. 

The purchase is part of a public-private collaborative effort to restore natural fish runs, involving the Trust, PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, federal and state agencies and several conservation groups.

In addition to the fish passage benefits resulting from the deal, it is excepted that hydropower generation on the Penobscot River will be maintained at current levels, and could even increase once the project is complete.

Verrill Dana attorneys represented the Trust in this matter, including lead counsel, Scott Anderson, with support from Johanna Babb, Molly Callaghan, Mark Googins, Tony Calcagni, and Nora Healy.