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On Tuesday, the three-member Maine Public Utilities Commission — all appointees of Gov. Paul R. LePage — voted unanimously to reopen the previously approved 2014 terms for a power purchase contract between the Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind pilot project and Central Maine Power. PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy, in an hour-long detailed analysis of why the commission should reconsider terms of the 20-year contract, said there've been enough changes in the past four years to warrant taking another look at the Maine Aqua Ventus term sheet. Among those he cited: Significantly lower wholesale electricity prices than four years ago; the recent emergence of large offshore wind projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that could change the long-term market potential for Maine's still-emerging offshore wind industry; and the replacement of one of Maine Aqua Ventus' original partners, Emera Inc., by a French energy company Naval Energies. Lawyers for the University of Maine-led Aqua Ventus consortium told Mainebiz in late April that reopening the 2014 term sheet could result in the project losing $37 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding, putting at risk the opportunity to prove Aqua Ventus' patented floating hull technology as a viable option for deep-water projects. They also said it would send a strong negative message to both outside and in-state investors that the Maine PUC can't be trusted to stand by its policy decisions.
Do you agree with the PUC’s decision to reopen the terms of the 2014 Maine Aqua Ventus power purchase contract with CMP?
Comments

06/13/18 AT 07:15 PM
If I were Maine Aqua Ventus's lender I would be disturbed. Lenders rely on projections made in good faith and backed up by contracts. I applaud the PUC for trying to save the state money, but this is going to bite us in the backside on other projects. This is a wretched decision.

06/13/18 AT 03:39 PM
The very fact that we as a state have dragged our collective feet for so long as to allow highly contentious plans for wind harnessing in Nantucket Sound and elsewhere to be underway shows that we are obstructionists at heart! We had a head start on this process but now are seriously behind as we fail to move forward quickly in this highly competitive era. This is true in other areas as NIMBYs rule Maine. For example - opposition to oil exploration in the Gulf of Maine while Canada has producing natural gas wells in the greater Gulf and Georges Bank region. Just as we let Canada oppose our development of nuclear while New Brunswick recertifies a large nuke plant on the Bay of Fundy, and opposed LNG shipping to Eastport on Passamaquoddy Bay while shipping same to Saint John on the Bay of Fundy.

06/13/18 AT 02:40 PM
YES. The Department of Energy funding is our tax dollars being misused trying to keep solar and wind project afloat when their economics simply don't and can't support their cost of purchase, installation and maintenance. The Maine Aqua Ventus Project was grossly over budget, with no chance of ever paying for itself without tax dollars being misspent [again] to bolster up a project that never should have been built to begin with. Why should we as Maine residents be locked into paying almost twice what the usual and customary fee would be for electricity that is unreliable and can never be cost effective without government subsidy [our tax dollars being misspent]. There is not one solar or wind project that can pay for itself, so why would anyone want to continue to take money from an already overburdened system to pay for unreliable power at exorbitant rates?

06/13/18 AT 02:26 PM
The LePage energy policy is neolithic and close-minded. It's infuriating (and frankly embarrassing) to see the state of Maine run in this fashion.

06/13/18 AT 01:59 PM
They are just doing the governor's bidding and he has his head in the sand about alternative energy.

06/13/18 AT 01:29 PM
It pulls the rug out from under Aqua Ventus and compromises their federal funding application. It's vintage LePage who pulled the rug out from under Statoil so they took their project, jobs. technology, millions in investment to a more reliable European (Scotland) country/venue.

06/13/18 AT 01:28 PM
Regardless of your views on this specific project, the PUC's reneging on the power purchase agreement is a blow to the whole idea of doing business in Maine. Things change in the dynamic landscape of the power industry. Terms negotiated one year should not be abandoned the next. What company wants to endure such inconsistencies?

06/13/18 AT 01:10 PM
It depends. If any of those three items listed were enumerated in the original contract, then yes, if not, then no. Change in ownership is a no-brainer type of inclusion in contracts, if it's not in there, that falls on the PUC.

06/13/18 AT 12:53 PM
We need to start planning for the future and loosen the death grip of coal, oil and gas on our economy.

06/13/18 AT 12:53 PM
Get on with it. Develop ocean wind power, we need it.
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