Maine’s largest-ever procurement of renewable-power contracts was hailed in September as a historic step on a path to reaching ambitious climate change goals. But today, those contracts are under fire from two dissatisfied developers.
The developers question whether the selection process was flawed, whether customers will get the lowest possible rates and whether some of the winning projects could be delayed or never built.
Boston-based Longroad Energy is asking the Maine Public Utilities Commission, which granted the awards after an eight-month evaluation process, to confirm that the selected projects have the wherewithal to proceed, and to require winners to set aside funds, presumably to be paid to the state, if they fail to achieve commercial operation........................Longroad is a major renewable-energy developer that, through former companies, developed most of Maine’s large-scale wind power projects........................................The second developer, Clearway Renew LLC, is challenging how the PUC scored the projects. It maintains that its entry, called County Wind, had a superior price and climate impact and should have won a contract. Clearway also has filed a broad Freedom of Access Act request in an effort to see confidential pricing information and learn how projects were scored, among other things.
Clearway wants to build what would be New England’s largest wind project and have a value of roughly $1 billion. Rated at 400 megawatts of capacity, it would be located on commercial forestland around Sherman, in southern Aroostook County.
Three Rivers said it disagreed with the arguments made by Longroad and Clearway, and it encouraged the commission to finalize the contracts and help the state meet its renewable energy goals.
The PUC is set to take up the matter Tuesday.
The request for reconsideration, as it is called, has gained the support of the state Office of Public Advocate, which represents consumers in utility matters........................................... More than 70 renewable-energy developers from across the country presented proposals to the PUC, which drew up a short list. In the end, 17 projects were selected, most of them solar. Wind, biomass and hydroelectric bidders each won one project. A second round of bids is expected to be submitted for additional contracts in January.
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