Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis looks on as Larry Balchen speaks in opposition to the Downeast Wind project. Balchen showed a wide-angle photo taken from Route 1 to demonstrate how far the towers might be visible on what Balchen called the “last 100 miles of undeveloped land on the eastern seaboard.” Photo by Sarah Craighead Dedmon by Sarah Craighead Dedmon Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner opened a public hearing last week explaining what the hearing was — and was not — for. “I understand the large number of people in this room tonight is because there are some strong feelings on this subject. I want to make it clear that the commissioners are not the committee of jurisdiction for approving or disapproving this project,” said Gardner. “It’s approved or disapproved by the DEP and the LUPC.” The project in question is a 30-turbine wind farm proposed by Apex Clean Energy, to be located in Columbia and unorganized townships 18, 19 and 24. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) are responsible for permitting the project, but the commissioners called the hearing to gauge interest in creating a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) for the portions of the farm which will stand in the unorganized territories. The town of Columbia, where Apex plans to locate eight of its 30 turbines, is considering a TIF, too. Continue reading
Columbia Wind Project Proposed January 8, 2020 by Johanna Billings, The Ellsworth American A Virginia company proposes to build 30 wind turbines on land in Columbia and the Unorganized Territory. APEX CLEAN ENERGY PHOTO COLUMBIA — The wind may be blowing a new source of power into Washington County. Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Va., is developing plans for a wind farm in Columbia and land nearby in the Unorganized Territory, with hopes of completing the project in October 2022, said Paul Williamson, a senior development manager with the company. The project, known as Downeast Wind, is proposed for 22,000 acres in Columbia and townships 18 and 24 in the Unorganized Territory. A total of 30 wind turbines would be spread out over that area on tracts of private land for which Apex has obtained 30-year leases. The turbine hubs will stand 410 feet tall and will be 656 feet total from base to the turbine tip. Approximately eight of the turbines will be in Columbia on land located off Route 1 in the 4 Corners area. “This is a valuable investment opportunity for the area,” said Williamson, a Scarborough resident, as he sat in the company’s Columbia office last week. He said the completed project will create 10 permanent full-time jobs along with many jobs related to construction. “It’s just a huge amount of economic activity.” Continue reading
Machias Valley News Observer: Apex presents plans for $85M windmill project in Columbia, Township 19
Apex presents plans for $85M windmill project in Columbia, Township 19 by Tanya Rucosky, Machias Valley News Observer Apex Clean Energy presented its proposed Downeast Wind Project at the Columbia Town Office on December 19. Apex Energy staff made presentations regarding the environmental and economic impact the proposed turbines will have on the local communities. Senior development manager Paul Williamson explained the 130-megawatt project in Columbia and Township 19 will include 30 wind turbines. He said it will provide enough clean electricity to power 36,000 homes. Williamson gave a general overview of the project’s economic impact on Columbia and the surrounding communities. The 35 landowners who hope to host the windmills will receive over $1 million annual income from the project. Further, the project will support the Unorganized Territory and Columbia with tax revenues of over $11.5 million during the 20-year life of the project. All told, Apex projected over $15 million in taxes and tangible benefits will flow into the community. Another $85 million will come into the county in construction investment. Anticipating concerns about the project’s decommissioning, Williamson explained the project will be bonded from the outset to cover the cost of removal of the windmills when they reach the end of their projected operations. Continue reading
It’s no secret that many Americans live in communities that need new economic development—we saw this play a huge role in the last election. Americans on both sides of the aisle agree that everyone should have an opportunity for economic prosperity. The path to achieving this, though, has been widely debated. Politicians have suggested increasing the minimum wage, instituting a more progressive tax code, and investing in education, to name a few ideas. Yet, most overlook the role of energy. Read more here.
By Ari Shapiro and Matt Ozug Heard on All Things Considered Georgetown, Texas, is a conservative town in a conservative state. So it may come as something of a surprise that it's one of the first cities in America to be entirely powered by renewable energy. Mayor Dale Ross, a staunch Republican who attended President Trump's inauguration, says that decision came down to a love of green energy and "green rectangles" — cash. When Georgetown's old power contract was up in 2012, city managers looked at all their options. They realized wind and solar power are more predictable; the prices don't fluctuate like oil and gas. So, a municipality can sign a contract today and know what the bill is going to be for the next 25 years. That's especially appealing in a place like Georgetown, where a lot of retirees live on fixed incomes. "First and foremost it was a business decision," Ross says. City leaders say the debate over renewables never even mentioned climate change, a wedge issue in Texas politics. Continue reading
March 10th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill A new analysis of the US wind energy sector by Navigant Consulting could see the sector drive up to 248,000 jobs and $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) highlighted the new analysis by Navigant Consulting on Thursday, alongside its own white paper which highlighted the economic benefits the wind sector already delivers to the US economy — specifically, that the US wind industry currently supports more than 100,000 jobs across all 50 states. Navigant Consulting believes that that number will only increase, with 248,000 total jobs by 2020, helping to deliver 35,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity through 2020. Continue reading
Wintering Hills Wind Farm. Photo courtesy of Teck. Project Is Third IKEA Partnership with Apex Apex Clean Energy (Apex) announced today a multi-year contract with IKEA Canada to manage and provide remote operations for the Wintering Hills wind farm located in Alberta, Canada. The 88 MW facility produces enough power to supply approximately 26,000 Canadian homes. IKEA US purchased two U.S. wind farms from Apex: the 165 MW Cameron Wind facility located in Cameron County, Texas, in November 2014; and the 98 MW Hoopeston Wind facility located in Hoopeston, Illinois, in April 2014. Apex operates and maintains both facilities. “This expansion of our Asset Management business sends a strong signal to the market,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex. Apex put more wind energy on the U.S. grid than any other company in 2015. Looking ahead, Apex also has the industry’s largest and most diverse pipeline of projects in active development. The Wintering Hills facility is the eleventh project in the Apex Asset Management fleet, bringing the total generation under management up to 1,729 MW. “Wind asset management is a science, and we’re able to use the science to safely and reliably push the boundaries of performance,” said Andrea Miller, vice president of asset management for Apex. “When it comes to getting maximum power and profit from a wind farm, we measure and analyze the data that others aren't, so we can take action on opportunities and realize gains that others don’t.” The Wintering Hills project consists of 55 General Electric 1.6 MW turbines, each with a hub height of 80 meters and a nominal speed of 16.8 rpm.
Majority of Americans want U.S. focus to be on alternative energy Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Approximately 65 percent of Americans prioritize the development of alternative energy sources compared with 27 percent who would put greater emphasis on expanding U.S. fossil fuel production, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. This marks a slight uptick in preference for alternative energy since December 2014. At that time, the Pew Research Center found that 60 percent of Americans stressed developing alternative energy over developing fossil fuel sources. The study demonstrates increased popular support for alternative energy at a time when President Trump is pledging to boost production from fossil fuel energy sources like coal. Trump's incoming administration was quick to post an energy policy summary on the White House website that calls for "reviving America's coal industry, which has been hurting for too long" (Greenwire, Jan. 20). "There's a perception that we're about to make major changes in energy policy," said Cary Funk, associate director of research on science and society at the Pew Research Center. "So I think these data are particularly important in terms of giving a portrait of where the public sits." Continue reading