PPH - Energy efficiency remains the improbable dream

Politicians like to envision a shiny future of solar and wind and electric cars...........................

Maine has roughly 500,000 homes. And while some are newer and energy-efficient, most aren’t. Upgrading them will take time and money – and at the current pace, many decades.

That timetable could be accelerated, if weatherization becomes a priority for the new Maine Climate Council, which has just begun meeting. It’s charged by the Legislature with developing a detailed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent below 1990 levels within 10 years, and by at least 80 percent by 2050. Additionally, Mills is asking for a plan to make Maine carbon-neutral by 2045.

One way to measure progress on the housing front is to look at how many weatherization projects receive money each year through Efficiency Maine, which uses a surcharge on utility bills and other sources to offer energy rebates, and through MaineHousing, the state housing authority, which funnels money to regional low-income assistance agencies.

Efficiency Maine issued rebates totaling nearly $1.5 million to 2,391 home projects in 2018, in which homeowners contributed $2.9 million. Each home can qualify for up to $3,500 in rebates for air sealing and insulation................................

The full article my be read here:

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/10/27/maine-ill-equipped-to-reach-...

Scientists are rallying behind a low-cost plan to lock millions of tons of carbon back into an overlooked and over-exploited resource: the soil.

......The sum is not to fund green technologies or finance a moonshot solution to emissions, but to use simple, age-old practices to lock millions of tons of carbon back into an overlooked and over-exploited resource: the soil.

“We have lost the biological function of soils. We have got to reverse that,” said Barron J. Orr, lead scientist for the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification. “If we do it, we are turning the land into the big part of the solution for climate change.”

Rene Castro Salazar, an assistant director general at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said that of the 2 billion hectares of land around the world that has been degraded by misuse, overgrazing, deforestation and other largely human factors, 900 million hectares (almost 5 billion acres) could be restored.........

The full article my be read here:

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/10/26/how-to-halt-global-warming-f...

CMP Proposes Millions In Improvements To Lines To Defend Against Storm Outages

Central Maine Power is proposing a multimillion-dollar effort to improve the resilience of its electricity distribution system in Maine. And the company will make some early investments in northwestern Maine after a complaint was filed by customers in the area.

As part of a request to state regulators for a new, five-year rate plan, CMP is proposing an aggressive “ground-to-sky” tree-trimming program along its 12 worst-performing circuits. It’s also proposing other investments to “harden” those lines, such as stronger poles, coated wires, and additional feeder circuits to hedge against failures related to storms.

The Public Utilities Commission has yet to weigh in on the merits of that plan, and a budget. But this week, the commission did approve a sort of down payment on the program — some $7 million for five years of worth of work between Jackman, Caratunk and Dover-Foxcroft.......................

The full article my be read here:

https://www.mainepublic.org/post/cmp-proposes-millions-improvements...

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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