July 8, 2010 - a look at the Half Moon Tidal Energy project; news roundup

Quahog shells at New Meadows:

Today, following on my recent posting about FERC marine hydrokinetic projects in Maine, I'm looking at some more specific information about one of the projects: P-12704, the Half Moon Tidal Energy project proposed by Tidewalker Associates for Cobscook Bay.

The brainchild of Dr. Normand Laberge, Tidewalker Associates is exploring several marine energy resources. In April 2007, Tidewalker received a Preliminary Permit for its Half-Moon Cove Tidal Power Project (P-12704). By March 2009, Tidewalker had done enough studies to move forward with a Pre-Application Document (PAD) and Notification of Intent (NOI) seeking authorization from FERC to construct its tidal power project in Half-Moon Cove.

On April 12, 2010, Tidewalker Associates filed a successive preliminary permit application, pursuant to section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), proposing to study the feasibility of the Half-Moon Cove Tidal Power Project. The FERC Notice describes the current proposal:

The proposed project would consist of: (1) a new 1,200-foot-long rock-filled barrage with a crest elevation of approximately 27 feet above mean sea level (msl); (2) a new 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-high filling and empting gated section; (3) the 850-acre Half-Moon Cove with a surface elevation of 13.0 feet above msl; (4) a new powerhouse with four turbine generating units with a total capacity of 9.0 megawatts; and (5) a new 34.5 kilovolt, 7.1-mile-long transmission line. The project would produce an estimated average annual generation of about 45,000 megawatt-hours.

Comments, motions to intervene, competing applications, and notices of intent to file competing applications are all due by mid-July.

Resources:

2007 project presentation on cobscook.org

Other energy news:

Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission took a straw vote on TransCanada Corp.'s request to add 631 acres in Franklin County to the list of locations where industrial wind energy projects benefit from a streamlined permitting process. Result: if they voted today, LURC would deny the request.

New Meadows is in the news, as quahog harvesting continues like wildfire. Unlike most Maine shellfish beds, the New Meadows quahog flats are regulated by the state (instead of towns) because even at low tide, the flats remain covered by water. Combine this lighter (and cheaper) regulation with the reopening of the flats after 5 years of pollution closure, and you get a whole lot of harvesting.

Steve LaFreniere, owner of Eastbrook Timber Corp. of West Enfield, bought the Saunders Brothers mill in Greenwood at auction yesterday for $450,000. The wooden dowel mill closed in May, leaving 55 people out of work. LaFreniere is reported as saying he intends to resume dowel production. The auction was the result of a mortgage foreclosure. There has been a mill at the site since 1819, when Samuel Locke founded the industry at what became known as Locke Mills village.