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Verrill Dana Receives Top-Tier Rankings for Energy Law and Administrative/Regulatory Law

U.S. News and Best Lawyers ranks Verrill Dana’s Energy Law and Administrative/Regulatory Law practices in “Tier 1” of Top Law Firms Rankings.  The rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.  Overall, Verrill Dana received top-tier rankings in 27 practice areas.  The full rankings for Verrill Dana are available here.


Opponents Appeal Saddleback Ridge Wind Project

Opponents of the proposed Saddleback Ridge Wind project have appealed the project’s Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit.  The appeal was filed today with the state’s Board of Environmental Protection, challenging the DEP’s conclusions regarding the project’s compliance with visual and noise standards.  The appellants also claim that the DEP’s regulations regarding noise and visual impact are unconstitutional for a variety of reasons.   The appeal was filed on behalf of Friends of Maine’s Mountains, Friends of Saddleback Mountain and several individuals.  The Board of Environmental Protection has heard and denied four similar appeals of DEP permits for wind power projects in the past two years.  Those appeals were ultimately taken to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which affirmed the validity of the permits to build the wind power projects in question.  Verrill Dana, which successfully represented the wind power developers in all of those proceedings, is representing Saddleback Ridge Wind in the opponents’ latest appeal to the Board.



Spruce Mountain Enters Final Stages of Construction

The Spruce Mountain Wind project in Woodstock, Maine is in the final stages of construction.  Five of the project’s 10 Gamesa G-909 2.0-MW turbines have been erected and the remainder of the turbines will be installed within the next two weeks.  The project’s developer Patriot Renewables (represented by Verrill Dana) expects Spruce Mountain Wind to be generating electricity by mid-November.  Here are some photos of project construction:     




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.



Saddleback Wind Project Approved: New Blades Will Reduce Sound

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has issued its approval to Patriot Renewables to construct the Saddleback Ridge Wind project in and around Carthage, Maine.  The project’s twelve 2.75-103 General Electric turbines will generate a total nameplate capacity of 29.4 megawatts.  The GE 2.75-103 turbines are manufactured with a new modified blade design engineered to reduce the turbine’s noise output.  More information on the turbine design is here.  The project’s DEP permit was signed and issued on October 6.  Verrill Dana attorneys assisted Patriot Renewables with the permitting for the Saddleback Ridge Wind project.


Maine Public Utilities Commission Approves Transmission Reinforcement in Western Maine


The MPUC granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Central Maine Power Company’s proposed Somerset County Reinforcement Project, a 115 kV, 39-mile transmission line in western Maine.  Although the line was initially proposed as part of CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Program, this particular component of the project was not initially approved by the MPUC when the MPUC approved the MPRP in June 2010.  After further proceedings, the Commission approved a stipulation in which several parties agreed that there was a need for the line, but others contested the need for the proposed transmission solution on various grounds.  The Commission found that although a re-rate of an existing line is an option that could address the demonstrated reliability need, the new line would provide several additional benefits.  Among the additional benefits, the Commission found that the new line would advance Maine’s policy of promoting cost-effective development of renewable generation.  It will enable the development of wind generation in western Maine.



Energy News Roundup: August 20-August 26

This week in regional energy news …