This week in regional energy news …
- The Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee is considering an omnibus energy bill negotiated by a group of stakeholders, including the PUC, Efficiency Maine, industrial consumer groups, legislators, and others. According to the BDN, “The bill includes an overarching focus on reducing energy costs while directing more funding to the Efficiency Maine Trust over the next two years for programs that would help industrial facilities cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.” The BDN editorial board questioned the wisdom of a provision of the bill giving the PUC authority to procure natural gas pipeline capacity outside of Maine.
- In a FERC-approved settlement, ISO New England agreed to cut its spending by $3 million and end a pension plan. Officials in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island had intervened in the FERC proceeding to argue that ISO-NE’s spending was excessive and harming ratepayers in those states.
- Maine Governor Paul LePage is seeking to remove goals for wind energy capacity from Maine’s 2008 Wind Energy Act. The Act contains a goal of 2,000 megawatts of wind-based generation capacity by 2015. Currently, Maine’s wind capacity is 435 MW.
- The Cities of Gardiner and Augusta continue to review natural gas distribution service proposals by Maine Natural Gas and Summit Natural Gas to serve the area.
- Verso Paper Corp. announced that its natural gas costs in Q1 2013 increased by $22 million over the previous year.
- At a Boston energy conference hosted by NYISO and ISO-NE, Gordon van Welie, ISO-NE’s chief executive, discussed the need for a more diverse energy portfolio and additional pipeline and transmission capacity in New England.
- Duke Energy Renewables and Integrys Energy Services recently completed construction of their joint venture’s first solar installation in New England. The project, in Sterling Mass., consists of 9,968 solar panels that generate 2 MW of energy.