Monhegan Island – The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended their search for a thirty-two year old man who they say was swept out to sea near Monhegan Island.
Monhegan — As of Saturday morning, Sept. 10, the U.S. Coast Guard, state and local agencies, and several good Samaritans are still searching the waters off of Monhegan Island for a 32-year-old man who was swept out to sea by a wave, Friday afternoon, Sept. 9.
Monheganers can now contemplate the sort of sound that would accompany an on-island windmill, should one be built on your fair isle. Just listen to a podcast of an hourlong unedited recording of Fox Islands Windmills’ sound on Vinalhaven. Recorded midnight January 1st 2010, when sound meter registered 49-49 dBa. Recorded on porch of a house one half mile from closest windmill. Note the endless warbling “jet-engine” howl. Background “hiss” is wind in nearby tree branches. As reference, note wind chimes at 13 minutes and 30 seconds. For more info about the recording and related issues, go to Fox Island Wind Neighbors website.
At a Maine Wind forum May 20, 2010 at the Rockport Opera House, locations as varied as Ragged Mountain, Vinalhaven, Monhegan and waters 20 to 50 miles offshore were discussed. The key speaker University of Maine’s Habib Dagher, PhD, leader of the DeepCwind Consortium said that the conflicts over the siting and effects of land-based and nearshore windfarming on health, the pursuit of happiness and the natural environment are serious and insoluble sources of social conflict.
Instead, Dagher told his audience, deepwater floating windstations 20 to 50 miles offshore will be much more powerful and reliable, and won’t harass their own consumers & wildlife with flicker, noise and infrasound. The DeepCwind Consortium has received tens of million of dollars to lead the nation in deepwater offshore windpower R&D. Listen to podcasts of he and other speakers and audience participants below.
Other topics at the forum: a plan for a windfarm on the Camden Hills’ Ragged Mountain, Island Institute on midwifing community wind on Vinalhaven and on its efforts to raise enthusiasm for onland windmills on Monhegan, Swans Island and Frenchboro,Des Fitzgerald on his novel deepwater windturbine device and more. A lively Q&A session, too!
Click Here for Part One of the forum (1 hr) Introduction , Senator Chris Rector; Richard Podolsky environmental consultant; Susan Pude, Island Institute/Maine Community Wind
Click Here for Part 2 of the Forum: (45 minutes) Dr Dagher’s presentation on Monhegan and deepwater offshore windpower
Click Here For Part Three of the Forum ( 50 minutes) Des Fitzgerald, Ragged Mountain proposal; Question & Answer session. Scott Dickerson of MCHT -speaking on his own behalf (1 minute) was not pleased by the Ragged Mtn windfarm plan; why not, he asked send the investment and talent toward over-the-horizon offshore windpower.
What all sources agree on is that the state is leapfrogging over state waters to much windier sites ten miles and more offshore for utility size windfarming. It is also noted that the state will not issue a solicitation for windfarms in state waters – other than limited R&D in the three R&D sites – including off Monhegan. Malleable as all laws ultimately may be, everything could change, but right now Dr Dagher and the University of Maine-driven DeepCwind Consortium are in the ascendancy and their plan calls for going over the horizon. Reached April 13th, Willard Harris, director of the submerged lands division of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, confirmed no state waters utility or community scale ocean wind farm applications are anticipated or even likely, beyond the R&Ds.
The bill in its final form is ‘Public Law 615’. html or word or pdf file It is a mishmash of changes to a variety of state statutes. Listen to mp3 recordings of the 3/11/10 public hearing on LD 1810_and its three worksessions. Includes the March 6th ocean windfarm seminar at 2010 Maine Fishermens Forum.
Offshore Wind Wire writer Peter Brennan: “Maine Legislation amended to focus on deepwater wind”
Penobscot Bay Blog on “Wind Liberation “
Dr. Habib Dagher, director of the University of Maine’s offshore wind program, told the legislators at the worksession last thursday that floating offshore wind extraction is the answer.
“Rather then build fixed base units in shallow waters, which take a lot of equipment to build (it’s like like building a boat in the middle of the ocean and affixing it to the bottom of the ocean, thats what the Europeans are doing), we want to build like Bath Ironworks does: build it in a drydock. Float the drydock and tow the whole thing out to deep water.”
“In terms of Maine’s timeline: our goal is build our first demonstration floating turbine, a third-scale turbine about 120 feet above the water – next year and place it in the water the year after in the Monhegan site.” Following that, and shaking the bugs out of it, in 2013 we would build the first 4 or 5 megawatt unit, and place that in the water. Following that in 2014 and 2015, build our first “stepping stone” farm – a 25 megawatt farm. The next phase: development of the large scale 500 to 1,000 megawatt farm. We have at least one developer interested to do that and have it operational in 2020.”
The Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Patrice McCarron responded to Dr Dagher:
“We wholeheartedly support this offshore development. Obviously it passes by the majority of where my stakeholders make their living. So that’s a no-brainer. When I look at the language here, though; because the bill is so comprehensive, and because its laying out the regulatory process to establish this in state waters – which I fully understand can happen anyway, and probably is a blessing in disguise – it scares me.”
“What’s missing for me after taking in all this comment, is the legislative findings of the bill which begin on page 14 and page 15; the sections A-1, 2, 3 and 4. It doesn’t clearly state that this is the state’s goal: to pass over this existing technology in state waters, and really focus where the wind resources are greatest. Those are strictly legislative findings, but for me it really sets the tone for the values and the goals of the state, and I’d like to look at potentially strengthening that and clarifying what the true intention of this is.”
Then again, there’s a little lawsuit pending, which may keep Monhegan’s views and sonic landscapes free of the lash.
On March 18, 2010, Maine Legislature’s Utility and Energy Committee held a 2 hour work session on LD 1810, the bill to implement the recommendations of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force. Scroll down this page to listen to the speakers and legislators at this worksession. Read the Maine Lobstermens Association’s March 15, 2010 letter to the legislature opposing LD 1810.
Because of the complexity of the 38 page bill, (see pdf copy of LD 1810 with state waters parts highlighted) the committee could not get through the entire bill and will meet again on Tuesday.
Nothing final yet, but it sounds like the ocean wind industry is being forced to drop its plans for building commercial wind farms in state waters. This backdown due to unexpectedly powerful opposition by Maine commercial fishermen, joined by ocean resort and sailing interests. None of them can stomach the Department of Conservation leasing their fishing and sailing grounds and their views away to big energy companies out of Boston and New Jersey, which plan to seek 20, 40 and 50 year leases on state waters, if such leasing were allowed by passage of LD1810 in its original form.
Opponents of nearshore wind may find themselves an unexpected ally in the nascent offshore wind energy extraction industry. Unlike the nearshore windpower wannabes, who just want subsides to plunk down fields of foreign made turbine into the state’s nearshore seafloor using off-the-shelf foreign made windpoles and forcing right of ways through mainland property to connect their power cables to the national grid. By comparison, the offshore wind effort is more like NASA: designing and then sending individual giant technological marvels out into the deeps.
Not surprisingly, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association was heavily courted by ocean wind industry and then put on the spot by scallopers, shrimpers & groundfishers before MLAs March 15, 2010 letter opposing DMR’s “Prepare to Share” support for LD 1810. That plan was run up the flagpole by DMR Commissioner George Lapointe (5min mp3) at the Maine Fishermen and Ocean energy seminar at the 2010 Maine Fishermens Forum. Prepare to Share would have fishermen negotiate with energy companies for the right to fish in their home waters. Due to wind industry insurance policy, fishing would be tightly limited and even bannable by the company.
But that’s ancient history… Patrice McCarron of the MLA wrote to legislators earlier this week: (excerpts)
“…Last year, the MLA cautiously supported the development of wind energy test sites in state waters through LD 1465, as we saw the long‐term value for the people of Maine….. We did so with the understanding, as put forth by the State of Maine, that commercialization of offshore wind energy would be truly offshore – in federal waters only…
What’s left? Federal and EEZ waters. While nothing’s final until after the upcoming Tuesday vote, it appears to be
* No commercial windfarms closer to mainland or island than ten miles, in exchange for
* No opposition to offshore windfarms in the outer edge of federal waters and in the EEZ. (wonder what swordboats and offshore lobstermen think of that?
* Monhegan’s R&D site to be only windmills in state waters (if the court upholds the permit. (Damariscove and Boon Island R&D sites, too if some commercial outfits opt to have R&D projects)
The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is working through the weekend on acceptable wording. Doubtless other fisheries as well. They better; Nobody else looking ot for them. The ocean windmill industry is no doubt busy, too, hoping to reinclude permssion to do windpower in state waters in the bill. Then all roads lead to Augusta, where, on March 23rd, the bill revisions will be back before the Utility and Energy Committee for a final bit of legislative sausagery.
Listen to speakers at the March 18, 2010 Hearing
* MDEP’s Nagusky Q&A session 11 minutes
Listen to the legislators and testimony to them by MDEP, DMR, Neptune Energy & other would-be wind industrialists, and opponents and supporters of the same. Lance Burton describes to legislators his life on Monhegan and in Castine and what that makes him think about the bill. LD 1810
Hats off to legislators Leila Percy and Hannah Pingree for insisting on mammoth changes to the bill (2 minute mp3) in response to outrage from theirscalloping shrimping and groundfishing constituents. Specifically, they told the committee to
It is as if a mighty iceberg headed at the Maine inshore fisheries’ Titanic is being successfully turned, by those answering the alarm that now is ringing in desperate peals from Passamaquoddy Bay to f the Piscataqua. For, if diverted a few degrees with relentless pressure, it may harmlessly pass by our waters, an icy white horseman heading for some other apocalyptic encounter.
The word from outer Penobscot groundfishers, shrimpesr and scallopers is to either can the bill or
If you care to be involved – for, against, or neutral – email the Utility& Energy Committee clerk Krisen Gottlieb Kristen.Gottlieb@legislature.maine.gov and the Marine Resources Committee clerk Marianne Macmaster Marianne.MacMaster@legislature.maine.gov and let them know of your opinion or insight; they will get your message to their committees’ members.
“What does Ocean Energy and Wind Power mean for Maine’s Fishermen?” was title of a seminar at the Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport Maine on Saturday March 6, 2010. The discussion included a review of the UM R&D wind site off Monhegan by scientist Neal Pettigrew, a description of the new bill LD 1810 that would open up all of Maine’s territorial sea to windfarm leasing and much more. Here as mp3s is everything that each speaker said at the seminar, in the order they spoke. The Q&A session was brief and I may post it shortly. Read my opinions/observations below the list of speakers’s links if you choose.
Introduction Dierdre Gilbert Maine DMR 2min
Beth Nagusky, MDEP Office of Innovation 13 min
George Lapointe, Department of Marine Resources 5 minutes
Des Fitzgerald, Principle Power 10 Minutes
Peter Hughes, Fishermen’s Energy, New Jersey 12 minutes
Neal Pettigrew, University of Maine on Monhegan R&D site 11 minutes
Addison Ames, Vinalhaven Electric Coop 10 min
Rob Snyder, Island Institute 10 minutes
My biased observations: A roomful of fishermen listened silent but very attentive, as the speakers made their pitches for leasing off Maine’s state waters to the power industry. No questions till all the speakers were done. One unusual thingw as that NOBODY got any applause. Not the govt officials of MDEP or DMR. Not the University of Maine scientist, not the Vinalhaven electric coop official, nor the “Fisherman Wind” guy from New Jersey or the Island Instituter. Just stunned silence, as a succession of maps rolled across the screen showing plans for windfarms the size of Delaware stretching offshore and onshore.
The Q and A was cut short – notably the panel declined to answer repeated requests for an approximate number of windmills they were planning to install in Maine waters. to reach the megawatts the state as set as goals. The industry people talked very happily in describing the kilowatts and megawatts of energy they could pull from Maine state waters ocean winds, but grew vague when asked to come up with a number of poles that would be placed in those waters. But none of the government officials or wind industry people would offer up even a guess.
One suspects that the public hearing on LD 1810 on March 11th in front of the Energy and Utility Committee will be well attended!
These words, of course are my observations and opinions and may have little to do with reality as others perceive it…
A gentleman living on the shore of Lake Michigan ,who loves that great freshwater sea, sent these surrealistic possible futures of Monhegan and Manana, should they becomes a locus of Maine wind generation. After all, if one or two windpoles have ‘no significant impact’, why should 3 or 4? Or…more? Take a look at what could become in a decade or so, “Powerhegan”, supplying juice to all of Knox County. Warning: not for the scenically squeamish
Pleaes print out your favorite or least favorite and give one to those fine people of the DeepCWind Consortium when they come to visit Monhegan tomorrow. Theyll have all sorts of interesting handouts for you on how wonderful and, perhaps, soothing the suss suss sussuration of the great blades could be.
Resolute Marine of Boston hopes to add lunar power energy extractors to the same two square mile area south of Monhegan that the wind industry plans to use to develop giant floating offshore wind turbines, that would be emplaced by the hundreds a few miles east of the test site in federal waters. Now, if the photoelectric people show up, sun, moon and wind could all three be pressed into service making electricity for Monhegankind!
I agree that there’s a serious possibility that alternative energy will impact the quality of natural beauty, not only on Monhegan, but many, many places that alternative energy is introduced.
Living in Vermont, I accept that. We will have to sacrifice some vistas, mountaintops. But for me, cell towers and telephone lines already pollute the visual environment – I try to look beyond that.
Monhegan is different – more unique, more fragile, more incredibly refreshing to the soul. From the little that I know and understand of the community of people living there year-round, it is fragile. Would disturbing the lobster grounds impact the community? Could the change in the aesthetics make some people, living there year-round, choose to leave? Could the change in aesthetics cause a decrease in the number of people drawn to the island in the summer?
My guess is that the economics of Monhegan is somewhat similar to Vermont – the cost of living outpaces the rate of earning. If the fishing and/or tourist-based income earnings drop then – like Vermont -the changes in the community economics threatens the sustainability of the community.So. I think that what I’m trying to say is that the economic and ecological impacts should be carefully studied before embarking on bringing capitol letters TECHNOLOGY to Monhegan.
(1) February 4, 2010), attorney Jeffrey Thaler of Bernstein Shur contacted me to discuss having his two new clients – the University of Maine System and the DeepCwind Consortium – becoming intervenors in my case against the Bureau of Parks and Lands decision to designate, 2 miles south of Monhegan, the Maine Offshore Wind Research Center.
While I have assented to the University of Maine as intervenor, I have also made my misgivings clear to the court about the prospect of the DeepCwind Consortium intervening. Remember: the case is simply: Did the Bureau of Parks and Lands follow the applicable state laws and regulations when it designated the Monhegan Offshore Wind Test Area or not?
The University of Maine was deeply involved in the planning and research; it is sensible for the judge to be informed by them of their role in the designation process. But the DeepCwind Consortium – a forward-looking group of investors, entrepreneurs, engineering & law firms, NGOs, retired politicians and the like, focused on exploitation of the research area AFTER it is designated – played no role in the BPL’s decision. They hence have nothing to offer the court but much irrelevant and after-the-fact sound and bombastic fury. Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm is said to view such water-muddying displays of lawyerly virtuosity with distaste, anyway – so why clutter the record?
But then a copy of Atty Thaler’s February 4, 2010 motion to intervene arrived in the mail asking the judge to indeed let him represent both U Maine and “DeepCwind Consortium” as two intervenors in my case. He asked for an expedited decision, suggesting that I was okay with both entities getting into the case. As I immediately informed the court in my response he was quite mistaken, I noted that the various entities that make up this consortium are, of course free to apply individually to intervene.
(2) Assistant Attorney General Amy Mills is going to represent the interests of the Bureau of Parks and Lands viz this case. She is a veteran attorney on natural resource-related litigation and enforcement. Mills’ and the Bureau of parks and Lands’ first order of business is to “compile and produce the record” on which BPL based its decision, then send a copy to me and a copy to the judge. This could take some time, as, according to another attorney familiar with the Bureau of Parks and lands decision: “\“There’s quite a volume of material” , adding that BPL will likely ask for a time extension to produce its materials.
Fine. Let’s be thorough. A fully informed judge will make a good decision. Stay tuned.
Some here have wondered about what sort of economic benefits Monhegan might gain from becoming “host community” to the University of Maine’s wind turbine research operations. What wergild, if any, would be acceptable?
Today at the Maine Legislature, there was a work session of the Utilities and Energy Committee on LD 1504, which has been renamed and entirely rewritten as “An Act to Provide Predictable Economic Benefits to Maine Communities that Host Wind Power Projects.” (copy not available)
To listen to the Committee discuss the LD 1504 on Feb 2, 2010 with Pete Didisheim of Natural Resources Council of Maine, Click Here (15 minute mp3.)
This bill is a try at establishing a payout system to compensate Maine host communities for wind extraction-related degradation of their scenic and other natural assets by the sonic and visual pollution that is sometimes a byproduct of contemporary wind turbine technology. Compensation is also
being considered for the no-go areas around and above wind farms set up for safety and security purposes.
Highlights of the worksession At the worksession the Utilities and Energy committee’s staff policy analyst Lucia Nixon said that the re-written bill “will specify community benefit agreements that windpower developers be required to have with host communities, and the nature and level of payments under those agreements, provide more specificity in the statutes regarding tangible benefits, and the documentation of those benefits.”
She said the stakeholders (who are they?) were charged a week ago by the Committee to work together. They met last Friday, and the Utilities and Energy Committee staffer has been reviewing these stakes’ drafts by email as late as noon today. (2/2/10)
Pete Didisheim of NRCM spoke at the work session for the selected group of stakeholders who are hammering out the wording of the bill. Pete told the committee that they’d come a long way in the last week but were “not quite there yet“. He said the discussion group expects to be done by Tuesday February 9th and would deliver something “that has the full support of the stakeholders and all the parties, and fully vetted through the agencies, the wind comunity and all the interested parties.”
At present, however, he said there are “still a few issues. So rather than present it in its current form, we’d like to bring you the final product. when we can walk through it carefully and describe exactly what we disagree on.”
One of those issues is who levies such a tax? The affected municipality? The state? Federal government? “There’s quite a bit of concern as you can imagine,” Pete said, “about that potentially being siphoned off to…other areas”
So have Pete and other stakeholders been talking to Monhegan? Are Monheganians feeling “vetted”?
Legal Action. Until new state wind rules are set and enforced during decision making, Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands has no business selecting and designating Maine offshore wind energy test areas. Local media coverage: Herald Gazette and Maine Public Radio News
That’s what conservation activist Ron Huber wants Maine Superior Court to confirm. Huber filed in Knox County Superior Court on January 25, 2010 , asking Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to suspend Bureau of Parks & Lands December 14, 2009 decision approving location of the state’s offshore wind energy test center 2 miles south of Monhegan, until conservation rules based on Maine’s new energy laws are finalized. The new laws, 12 MRSA 1868 “Identification of Offshore Wind test areas and MRSA 35-A, Chapter 34-A: Expedited Permitting of Grid scale Wind Energy Development require close community coordination and a commitment by the Wind Test Center to conduct detailed observation of ongoing scenic and conservation impacts on the land, air and sea in the test area vicinity.
BPL’s Submerged Lands Program is otherwise setting poor precedent: absolving present developers in advance with a vague general permit when it comes to scenic and natural resources of state and national significance; instead of defending the irreplaceable. Let the designers of the energy platforms make the compromises, not Nature. It is R&D the University proposes to practice here; let academics from all disciplines take part, not only the energy engineers.
A deep ecologist, Huber asked Maine Superior Court to grant him standing based on his religious pastoralism , or as he termed it “faith based bay stewardship.” in the practice of which he has helped fend off industrial threats to lobster grounds in lower Penobscot Bay and groundfish nurseries and brackish water diadromous fish staging areas in upper Penobscot Bay
rule on whether Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands Director Willard Harris followed two recently passed staten on December 14, 2009, he authorized the Monhegan test area, one of three in Midcoast and southern Maine waters. Read Ron’s media briefing explaining why he decided to file the case, his relationship with Monhegan – and media reactions to the case so far.
The state university’s R&D team should be as much researching impacts to fish, bird , marine mammal and water quality, in addition to prototyping new windblades for efficiency. Scientists, engineers, biologists and naturalists should be gleaning every bit of social and -biological data out there, before during and after each project, not confining themselves to solving engineering problems, important as they are. Click picture of complaint’s first page for complete 9 pg pdf of legal petition filed January 25th.
Background. Maine’s Legislature and Executive Branch have authorized the University of Maine to occupy a roughly 2 square mile deepwater tract 2 miles “south and seaward” of Monhegan Island to test build two deepwater floating wind turbines: a 100 kilowatt wind tower and a ten kilowatt one. Funding sufficient to get the project underway has been secured. As politicians, agency staffers, academics, entrepeneurs, NGOs and even two high powered public relations firms are already hard at work on this, so too should the interested public be! Information is power. Charge yourself up here: Links to documents, reports, charts, maps, photographs, deadlines, contacts, key personnel involved and other information sufficient to equip the viewer for meaningful involvement in this process, and provide a forum for the sharing and vetting of important information as it arises.
Voices of the Wind Rush. Online audio of speakers at Maine Offshore Energy ’09 11/29/09 , at Energy Ocean 2009 June 15-18 , ’09 at the 2009 ME Fishermen’s Forum Ocean Energy Workshop 3/7/09 and on January 20, 2010: speakers & legislators at hearing on wind energy bill LD 1504 before the Joint Standing Committee on Utilities and Energy