Scarborough-based energy company Self-Gen has proposed building an underground natural gas line from central Maine to Rockland to help lower energy costs for midcoast businesses. The plan also includes building local power-generating plants at places like Dragon Cement and Pen Bay Medical Center that company officials say would generate cheaper, more efficient energy.
Self-Gen engineer Paul Aubrey unveiled the proposal at a Rockland City Hall meeting earlier this week to expand a gas line from an existing line in Windsor to Rockland, according to midcoast paper The Free Press. The company wants to build what it calls tri-generation plans that would use natural gas for heating and cooling as well as electricity generation, capturing high-temperature exhaust gases to create steam or hot water. Self-Gen is looking to get agreements from large energy users in the area, such as large retailers and wastewater treatment plans, in order to secure financing, but has already tapped Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield to build the line and the tri-generation plants.
According to the paper, the LePage administration will assist the company in navigating the regulatory process. But the state government's support of natural gas expansion has sparked the opposition of oil dealers, the Bangor Daily News reported. Jamie Py of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, which represents oil dealers, recently spoke out against a bill introduced by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, that would increase the insurance capacity of the Finance Authority of Maine to more than $7 million to help finance natural gas expansion projects. Py said the proposed legislation would give natural gas energy an unfair advantage over other energy sources.