An article in the current issue of Marine Technology magazine provides a concise summary of the market and related issues present in the developing wave and tidal renewable energy marketplace. This is of particular interest to us in New England, considering the tidal range in Maine and on-going tidal projects such as the Muskeget Channel installation, contracted to provide power to both Edgartown and Nantucket. The article, entitled “World Wave & Tidal Market,” forecasts capital expenditures of $1.2 billion installing 150MW of wave and tidal stream capacity between 2011 and 2015, a six-fold increase over the previous five years. Tidal projects are expected to be the subject of almost 54% more expenditures than wave projects. Market issues include the need to bring down current high costs, increase access to capital, improve investor confidence and lessen grid connection constraints. The entire issue of Marine Technology, including the article, may be accessed here.
This week in regional energy news …
- By the end of 2011, Maine will have 200 wind turbines generating clean energy. With two more wind development projects under way and another proposed, Maine will soon be at one-fifth of its statutory goal of 2000 megawatts of wind power developed by 2015.
- A new solar credit adopted in Connecticut aims to spur further solar developments in the state.
- In a letter to the governors of New England and the Mid-Atlantic, hundreds of businesses have urged support of and improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The New England Clean Energy Council coordinated the effort.
- With a pending lawsuit by the state of Vermont threatening its future, Vermont Yankee may or may not be purchasing fuel for the reactor this fall.
ISO New England has published its fourth annual Regional Electricity Outlook, Bringing Possibilities Into Focus. Through the Regional Electricity Outlook, ISO-NE hopes to help New England’s energy stakeholders understand the causes and impacts of the challenges facing New England’s evolving electricity landscape. The report identifies challenges in the areas of “Resource Performance and Flexibility,” “Increased Reliance on Natural-Gas-Fired Capacity,” “Generation Retirements,” “Integration of Variable Resources” and “Aligning System Planning and Wholesale Electricity Markets.” It discusses “Advancing Grid Planning and Market Design” and describes the gains made by ISO-NE, market participants, states, and other stakeholders toward securing a more reliable and sustainable electricity future for the New England. Finally, the report provides key facts such as the fact that there has been approximately $4 billion in transmission investment in the region since 2002, with another $5 billion planned.
ISO New England has also published its 2010 Financial Report. That annual report includes a Management Discussion and Analysis that describes last year’s operations and impacts on ISO-NE’s financial position as well as ISO-NE’s audited financial statements. The Regional Energy Outlook and the Financial Report are posted together on ISO-NE’s website.
- The Patrick Administration has asked the Mass. DPU to delay approval of Northeast Utilities’ acquisition of NStar. The companies believe the decision endangers the deal.
- As we reported in a post on Thursday, the Rollins Wind project was officially commissioned this week. The First Wind project is located in Penobscot County and has a capacity of 60 megawatts.
- Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. has formed ORPC Nova Scotia Ltd. According to the company, the opportunity that Nova Scotia’s tidal energy market presents is ten times larger than that of Maine.
- FERC has adopted a transmission planning and cost allocation rule, Order No. 1000. Details on the new rule are available at a specialized FERC Web site.
- In its first expansion in nearly a decade, Irving Oil has purchased a terminal and storage facility in Portland, Maine, from ExxonMobil.
On Wednesday, July 20, First Wind cut the ribbon and celebrated the completion and commercial operation of the Rollins Wind project. The project is expected to generate 60 MW of renewable energy, which is enough to power 23,000 Maine homes per year. Completion of the project involved significant contributions from Verrill Dana attorneys Juliet Browne, Kelly Boden, Tony Calcagni, Gordy Smith and Scott Anderson. First Wind will sell the output of the Rollins Wind project to Bangor Hydro Electric Company and Central Maine Power Company pursuant to long term contracts with each utility.
This week in regional energy news …
- The EPA has granted clean air awards to two New England environmental education programs—one from the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission and another from the Cape Cod Commission in Massachusetts.
- The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a New England Offshore Wind Update, including information on the status of the Cape Wind and Block Island Wind Farm projects. The update also discusses the Offshore Wind Feasibility Study, which UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the DeepCwind Consortium have worked on for four years.
- In a Press Herald opinion piece, Angus King speaks out on the importance of, and economics of, wind power.
- The proposed merger of NStar and Northeast Utilities, which will be the subject of Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities hearings next month, is expected to give the merged entity substantial political influence in New England.
- Four New Hampshire biomass plants could shut down if they are unable to secure power purchase agreements with Public Service of New Hampshire.
- With its conservation incentives, Efficiency Maine has given some Maine businesses an economic advantage, but politics may affect the program’s future.
In a brief but informative interview, ISO New England’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vamsi Chadalavada explains how ISO New England prepares for summer conditions and this summer’s expected peak demand. With forecasts indicating that the New England economy will improve, and improve at a faster clip than the rest of the nation, ISO New England expects peak demand this summer to exceed last year’s actual peak of 27,100 MW. If temperatures hit 90 degrees, ISO New England expects peak demand to be approximately 27,550 MW. If temperatures hit 95 degrees (as they did last summer), ISO New England expects the peak to be approximately 29,600 MW. ISO New England’s preparations include working with generators and transmission owners to complete facility inspections and maintenance before summer and working with state, regional and federal entities to make sure appropriate entities are aware of the readiness of the system and that the communication protocols that will be used in emergencies are understood.