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Entries in Renewables (80)


Maine Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal of Rollins Wind Power Project

In the first case of its kind to reach the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, a lawsuit challenging a permit issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the construction of the Rollins Wind Power Project was dismissed on all counts on March 11, 2010.

The order affirmed a decision by the Board of Environmental Protection to deny an appeal filed by the Friends of Lincoln Lakes (“FOLL”) and several individuals challenging the Rollins Project permit.  The Board of Environmental Protection had unanimously rejected the FOLL appeal on the basis that the DEP had found that the Project would not have an undue adverse impact on the environment, specifically with respect to sound, health and wildlife. 

The Court noted that “FOLL essentially conceded at oral argument that the Board’s findings were supported by substantial evidence in the record.”

The Law Court also found that FOLL’s right to equal protection was not infringed by wind development laws that prevent the BEP from assuming original jurisdiction over applications for expedited wind energy projects and that allow for direct appeal of Department and Board decisions to the Maine Supreme Court.

The ruling was a victory for First Wind, which is developing the 60-megawatt Rollins Project in Lincoln, Maine, and surrounding towns.  Verrill Dana attorneys Juliet Browne, Scott Anderson, and Gordon Smith represented First Wind in the appeal. 

A copy of the decision, Friends of Lincoln Lakes v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2010 ME 18, — A.2d —, may be found here.


Kibby Wind Power Project Goes On-Line Today

The Kibby Wind Power Project, located along the western ridges of Kibby Mountain in Franklin County, Maine, goes on-line today. TransCanada’s Kibby Project is a 44-turbine, 132-megawatt wind development.

Under Juliet Browne’s direction, Verrill Dana’s Energy Practice Group obtained the licenses for the Kibby wind development from Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission. The development was supported by several nonprofits, including Maine Audubon, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Juliet Browne, chair of the firm’s environmental law department, has managed the legal work for the first several wind projects in Maine, including Mars Hill, Stetson II, and Rollins. 


N.H. and Mass. Generator Facilities Qualify for Maine Renewable Portfolio Standard, Says Maine PUC

In a pair of decisions issued September 1, 2009, the Maine PUC ruled that out-of-state generation facilities may be counted toward Maine’s renewable portfolio standard.

Chapter 311 of the PUC’s rules permits the Commission to certify generating facilities as eligible to satisfy Maine’s new renewable resource portfolio requirements.  Pursuant to that rule, the PUC certified the University of New Hampshire’s 7.9-MW combined heat and power plant, which is located in Durham, N.H. (Docket No. 2009-184).  The PUC also certified Richey Properties’ 600-kW wind turbine generator, located in Newburyport, Mass. (Docket No. 2009-197). 

For the PUC, the two requests “raise[d] the issue of whether behind-the-meter generation that is located outside of Maine (and therefore does not service Maine customers) is eligible to be used to satisfy Maine’s portfolio requirement.”  The PUC approved the requests, concluding that the facilities serve the needs of Maine customers that would otherwise be served by the New England market.  Therefore, the impact is the same as if the facilities sold energy into and purchased from the New England market.

UNH’s cogeneration plant has burned 89% landfill gas and 11% natural gas and diesel oil since May 2009.  Landfill gas is an eligible fuel under Maine’s renewable portfolio law.  Although the plant is a dual-fuel facility that uses natural gas and diesel, which are ineligible, the PUC explained that the statute does not exclude dual-fuel facilities and that such facilities are consistent with the standards because the “primary fuel is eligible.”  The order did not define “primary fuel” for these purposes.

Energy that Richey’s wind turbine generates is either used by Mark Richey Woodworking in its business operations in Newburyport or sold to National Grid’s Massachusetts Electric Co.  The turbine has been in operation since February 2009.

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