ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL OF MAINE


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  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:54 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Hurricane Harvey significantly disrupted the oil and petroleum product supply chains. Inputs to Gulf Coast refineries dropped by 34% between August 21 and September 1, 2017. Texas is home to 31% of the United States' refining capacity, supplying petroleum products to the Gulf Coast, East Coast, Midwest, and international markets. Hurricane Harvey caused many refineries in the region to reduce or shut down production. The Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York Harbor and connects 29 refineries and 267 distribution terminals while carrying 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, was forced to reduce shipping amounts and frequency due to low petroleum supplies. These disruptions caused gasoline drawdowns all along the East Coast and gasoline prices to increase. While gas prices typically rise for travel on Labor Day Weekend, the prices were exacerbated by Hurricane Harvey's impact to the supply chain.




    Two weeks later, the disrupted supply chain hindered people trying to escape Hurricane Irma in Florida. Closed shipping ports led to fuel shortages and high gas prices which prevented many people from being able to smoothly evacuate from Irma's path. Even though the Secretary of Homeland Security waived the Jones Act temporarily allowing foreign-flag vessels to bring fuel from other eatern U.S. ports to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico to reduce fuel shortages. At the height of Hurricane Irma, 59% of Florida customers experienced power outages. 




    How Did Climate Change Play a Role?

    While climate scientists and meteorologists are still running attribution studies to determine the level of impact greenhouse gases had on Hurricane Harvey and Irma, other factors can be assessed more easily. NASA and NOAA were both measuring the ocean temperature across the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico along the hurricane paths. Both bodies of water had surface temperatures of 30ºC/86ºF, which is warm enough to feed a category 5 hurricane. Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a category 4 hurricane, sustaining 130 mph winds, while Hurricane Irma broke the record for longest sustained category 5 winds (over 157mph) as it crossed the Caribbean islands, sustaining 185 mph winds. 

    Hurricane Harvey's maximum storm surge was 12 feet above ground level, while other areas of South Texas experienced 3-6 feet storm surge. Southeast Texas experienced high levels of rain, with some areas getting over 40 inches within 48 hours. The maximum rainfall during Harvey was 51.88 inches, which broke the North American single rainfall event record. 

    Hurricane Irma stretched from the east coast to the west coast of Florida, causing water to recede from the coast on the west, while causing an average 4 feet of storm surge on the southeast coast and seven feet of storm surge on the northeast coast. However, that storm surge is on top of the 10-12 inches of sea level rise along Florida's east coast in the last century, allowing additional areas to be flooded.

    Another record Hurricanes Harvey and Irma created was having two category 4 hurricanes make landfall in the United States in the same year. Only 27 category 4 or stronger hurricanes have been documented in the United States since 1851, including Harvey and Irma. Hurricane season begins June 1 and continues until November 30 each year, so there is still plenty of time for additional devastating hurricanes to hit. Axios is reporting estimates of Hurricane Harvey having caused between $65-$75 billion worth of damage, while Irma is estimated to have caused $50 billion, together totaling around $120 billion in hurricane damages for 2017 so far (this does not include damage estimates for Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands). When adjusted to today's prices, Hurricane Katrina (2005) is still the most expensive hurricane at $160 billion. 

    While climate change may impact each hurricane differently, we can all be sure there will be more storms of Harvey and Irma's magnitude, with more records broken in the future as our climate systems continue to change. We can already see this occurring as Hurricane Maria is causing catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands as a Category 5 hurricane, when just weeks prior they were hit with devastating Hurricane Irma, also a Category 5 hurricane. 2017 is the sixth year on record to have multiple category 5 hurricanes, with additional storms currently gaining strength in the Atlantic.

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:00 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    Maine currently spends only about 1% of its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research and development (R&D), which ranks the State 37th nationally (Measures of Growth 2017). How can Maine increase its R&D support and activity through growth and maintenance of its infrastructure, capacities, and resources? How do we ensure a reliable stream of public and private investment into R&D generally, and "energy" R&D specifically? How can Maine develop, attract, and retain a workforce with skills that match the needs of Maine's current and future employers? And, is there a role for the State Government to play in developing policies and programs that support R&D, demonstration/pilot programs, and commercialization? These are some of the questions the Maine Governor's Energy Office (GEO) and E2Tech are grappling with as they develop a Maine Energy Planning Roadmap.

    The GEO is engaging private, public, and non-profit stakeholders to develop a Roadmap and has convened four Task Forces to help identify technology limitations, market barriers, and political and policy issues; develop action items and strategies to address these issues; and prioritize the most important actions to achieve the State of Maine's energy goals. 

    1. Energy Innovation
    2. Heating
    3. Policy Evaluation
    4. Transportation
    This is the first of a series of articles in Fall 2017 on these issues and potential ways to address challenges and drive solutions. 

    Research, Development, Investment, & Workforce

    In 2017 the Maine Innovation Economy Action Plan (Maine Technology Institute/ Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board) recommended a "three-legged" approach to strengthen its innovation-based economy:
    1. Growing R&D Capacity: Increasing it's R&D activity through growth and maintenance of the State's R&D infrastructure, capacities, and resources;
    2. Increasing Human Capital: Developing, attracting, and retaining a workforce with skills that match the needs of Maine's current and future employers; and
    3. Cultivating a Culture of Entrepreneurship: Continuing to develop and cultivate the education, mentoring, financial, and cultural supports for the successful emergence and growth of entrepreneurial and innovation enterprises. 
    Under the Action Plan, the State will "encourage innovation based on technology, market, and/or business model, as well as encouraging enterprises to build on Maine's unique competitive assets."

    Should the Maine Energy Roadmap incorporate this approach as it pertains to energy policy? Maine's energy market faces challenges. Although relatively large in area, Maine has a small population and lacks large-scale energy customers and investors. As a result, Maine energy and technology companies often individually lack the ability to scale up to meet market needs. Neighboring New Hampshire and Vermont face similar situations. Some companies report that they have poor access to investors. Venture capital investment per capita in Maine is only $5.08 in all sectors - significantly lower that regional peers Vermont ($22.06), New Hampshire ($105.90) and Massachusetts ($430.00).

    Fortunately, for a relatively small, rural state, we have significant energy support organizations that can help implement the recommendations in the final Roadmap:

     Support Area  Resources
    Business Development, Accelerators, and Incubators Maine Accelerates Growth, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Small Business Development Centers
    Economic Development Maine and Company, Maine Economic Growth Council, Maine International Trade Center, Maine Rural Development Authority, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
    Educational Institutions Maine Community College System; University of Maine System; and private colleges such as Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, and Unity
    Energy Efficiency, Environmental, and Renewable Energy Groups Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
    Government Agencies Efficiency Maine Trust, Maine Department of Economic & Community Development, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine PUC, U.S. DOE
    Information & Outreach Resources E2Tech, GreenEnergyMaine.com, Maine Energy Education Program
    Investment Community Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Finance Authority of Maine, Maine Angels, Maine banks and credit unions, Small Enterprise Growth Fund
    Manufacturers, Natural Gas, Construction  Bath Iron Works, Cianbro, Fairchild Semiconductor, LL Bean, Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Reed & Reed, Maine Manufacturers Association, Summit Natural Gas
    Regional Partners InterACTION, Environmental Business Council of New England, Northeast Clean Energy Council
    Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Companies  Energy efficiency contractors, Maine Energy Systems, Ocean Renewable Power Company, Pika Energy, ReVision Energy
    Trade Associations Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Maine Renewable Energy Association, Maine Energy Marketers Association
    Utilities  Emera Maine, Central Maine Power, Maine Natural Gas, Bangor Natural Gas, Unitil, Summit


    Innovation & Market Competitiveness

    The general public in Maine is typically unaware of the economic, environmental, and job creation benefits of energy and technology innovation and of the policies that govern the energy sector. It is often challenging to build political support for the sector (and/or public sector investment). How do we develop a Roadmap that encourages support for energy technology innovation and communicates the benefits of a strong energy production, manufacturing, and service sector, and strategies for policy and public/private partnerships, support, and investment to improve public awareness?

    Maine's forest products industry is often held up as an example of where energy policy can help drive innovation. Maine's competitive advantages in this sector are evident: ample wood resources, a strong forestry sector, patented technologies, a university research center, established manufacturing capacity for biomass and biofuels, and potential ports for export to Europe. As the most forested state in the nation and one with a deep forestry industry, Maine has a natural resource-based competitive advantage in wood-based products for heating and power generation. Maine's well-established forest products industry is ideally prepared for further expansion of biomass and biofuels energy with unmatched infrastructure, equipment, knowledge, management practices, and a trained labor force. The Roadmap may be an opportunity to engage pulp and paper mills, loggers, wood pellet manufacturers, boiler distributors and installers, regional, economic, and development officials, investors, and policymakers to use the Roadmap to develop a policy and promotion strategy for this industry and the companies that serve it. As one of the first tests of the Roadmap and its application to Maine's energy sector, the Roadmap could be applied to the electric and thermal biomass industry to promote Maine and New Englnad as a regional hub for clean energy businesses and technologies, including their development and commercialization, manufacturing facilities and other partner businesses and/or organizations with experience in designing, financing, developing, and constructing biomass energy infrastructure and customer bases that are consistent with the assets in Maine and throughout New England. 

    Maine is perceived to have a regulatory and business environment that is slow to embrace innovation or new approaches. From a policy perspective, regulatory actions move slowly and energy incentives are inconsistent. In addition, an analysis of "2017's Most & Least Energy-Expensive States" by personal finance website WalletHub ranked Maine as the seventh most expensive energy state, including price of electricity, natural gas, motor fuel, and heating oil. The study found that in the United States, energy costs account for between 5% and 22% of families' total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range (Maine is a relatively poor and rural state).

    A 2014 MTI report finds that the alternative energy sector grew nearly 12% since 2007 and is growing faster than the other technology sectors in Maine. Maine's traditional economy is based on forestry, fishing, and agriculture. Manufacturing industries like paper production and textiles thrived until recently. Alternative energy, on the other hand, is an emerging sector of the Maine economy, made up of firms and organizations engaged in activities ranging from renewable energy production and generation to technology system distribution and installation to weatherization and efficient building construction and retrofits. Maine is well positioned to play a key role in developing expertise in the sector. The University of Maine launched the nation's first offshore floating wind turbine. Ocean Renewable Power Company in Eastport is operating the first grid-connected tidal power system in the Northern Hemisphere. Maine has 17 wind farms that can generate 901 MW of power, enough to supply 145,000 homes. These wind farms generated 1,614 thousand MWh in 2016. The State has extensive hydropower capacity that can generate 750 MW of clean energy. In 2016, Maine generated 2,968 thousand MWh of hydroelectric power. Thermal biomass systems take advantage of Maine's significant forestry industry and the use of wood pellet systems can reduce heating bills by an average of 40% while creating jobs and keeping investment dollars in the State. Even Maine's oil industry is increasingly engaged by designing and maintaining boilers with higher energy efficiencies and using less oil to produce more heat!

    The growing demand for energy resource, technologies, products, and services, as well as global efforts to combat climate change, provide opportunities for Maine's knowledge, skills, and capabilities. Understanding how the Maine labor market is changing is an important component of effective public policy decisions and workforce training initiatives. Also, capturing innovation and attracting investments through a coordinated entrepreneurial ecosystem is critical for startups and mature companies alike.

    The case for a new "Energy Innovation Policy" rests not just with the entrepreneurial and startup community. The case for a reliable electricity generation and transmission and distribution system may rest on growth in the innovation sector, specifically incorporating distributed and grid-scale energy storage markets and solutions to the intermittency of wind and solar - what happens when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow? On-site batteries and power control systems, emerging technologies, cost trends, and the rise of a robust electric vehicle and infrastructure market will impact how Maine developers, utilities, and customers develop and operate storage systems for variable generation and microgrids, smart grids, and other innovations. And, electric utilities like CMP and Emera Maine are working to improve reliability of the grid and implementing pilot programs (e.g., heat pumps, voltage optimization). 


  • Monday, September 18, 2017 1:21 PM | Anonymous


    Thursday, November 16 from 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM at University of Southern Maine-Portland

    The third annual E2TECH EXPO will be the premier environmental and energy event of the year! Federal and state agencies, policymakers, energy and environmental companies, and other innovation “enablers” are on tap to advise attendees on strategies for Maine’s economic and business development future. E2Tech Expo 2017 will engage private, public, and non-profit stakeholders to help both startups and established companies access the resources they need to:

    1) Promote their products, services, and technologies;
    2) Accelerate their growth;
    3) Compete in national and global markets; and
    4) Support a robust and innovative state environmental and energy market and workforce and make Maine an innovation hub to start and grow a business.

    Don’t miss out on valuable networking and the chance to learn more about the critical resources available to the energy, environmental, and cleantech sectors. More information will be posted at http://www.e2tech.org/. For information on sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact Jeff Marks at jeffmarks@e2tech.org. 


  • Monday, September 18, 2017 1:20 PM | Anonymous



    Modern Grid Partners is a utility consulting firm that provides business and technology expertise to their customers’ operations, projects, and future grid goals. As a small and focused consulting firm, Modern Grid Partners is a nimble team of utility experts dedicated to successful implementation of Smart Grid technology. Modern Grid Partners was founded in 2015 with the goal of becoming a trusted advisor to their utility partners, with its corporate office located in Portland, Maine. Modern Grid Partners has steadily grown since inception and holds multiple contracts with utilities in the United States and Canada. 

     Modern Grid Partners has supported forward thinking utilities across North America with the successful planning and deployment of Smart Grid and Water related systems and technologies. Based on their team’s expansive experiences, they know the people, processes, and technologies required for successful advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) implementation. This includes a deep understanding of the equipment life cycle, operating costs, operational savings, revenue cash flow impacts, and return on investments.

     Modern Grid Partners is passionate about helping their utility clients and the industry embrace emerging technologies, drive value in renewables integration, and optimize the delivery of AMI solutions. Each of their consultants has more than fifteen years of direct utility expertise. As a trusted advisor and utility partner, they work with their clients to evaluate both the technical and organizational performance of new technologies, processes, and project implementations. Modern Grid Partners is proud of their depth of talent, deep domain utility knowledge, and breadth of experience to lead and integrate AMI from start to finish.

    Modern Grid Partners becomes part of the planning and deployment teams. They work together to deliver results through business case development, infrastructure strategy and design, CIS integration, RFP development, and vendor evaluations. 

    The alignment of business and technology expertise to support a utilities operation, projects, and future goals is a challenge all electric companies face in 2017. By bringing together engineers, business consultants, and project managers, all with smart grid expertise, a more reliable grid can be achieved. Choosing Modern Grid Partners means choosing global expertise, localized knowledge, and a resume full of success with AMI, Telecom, GIS, CIS, OMS, SCADA, and other emerging smart grid solutions. From early stage planning to project closeout, Modern Grid Partners can help align the strategic vision to drive new levels of connectivity and IT/OT convergence that the future grid will be based upon.

    Modern Grid Partners became a founding E2Tech Sustaining Leader in 2017.

    Learn more about our Sustaining Partner Program!


  • Monday, September 18, 2017 1:19 PM | Anonymous


    MTI is holding free TechStart and Seed Grant workshops in early October. These grants are for entrepreneurs and companies who are developing innovative products, processes, or services.  The TechStart Grants (up to $5,000) can be used to conduct market research, develop a business plan, and file for patent protections. The Seed Grants (up to $25,000) can be used to develop a prototype, demonstrate proof of concept, and conduct field trials.  For more information and to register for this free event, visit http://www.mainetechnology.org/workshops.

    Portland Workshop

    Wednesday, October 4 12:00-2:00 PM

    Bangor Workshop

    Thursday, October 5 12:00-2:00 PM

    Webinar

    Wednesday, October 11 2:00-3:30 PM


  • Monday, September 18, 2017 1:19 PM | Anonymous


    On June 13, 2017, a general fund bond issue for investments in research, development, and commercialization was approved by voters in a statewide vote. That bond included $45,000,000 to be distributed by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) “in the form of grants to support infrastructure, equipment, and technology upgrades in the following targeted technology sectors: biotechnology, advanced technologies for forestry and agriculture, information technology, and precision manufacturing technology” (Maine Office of the Secretary of State).

    MTI plans to distribute about half of the bond funds through a series of Lightning Rounds before the end of 2017. Interested applicants must meet all program requirements, including being a Maine organization; providing at least a 1:1 cost share for the project; using the funds for infrastructure (capital construction, improvements, or equipment costs); be associated with research, development, and commercialization innovation; and be within or intersect with one or more of Maine’s seven technology sectors. The application involves registering proposals on MTI’s online portal and submitting a 10-slide project pitch deck. Slide decks will be accepted after October 2, 2017 and will be considered monthly through December 8, 2017.

    For more information on MTI’s Technology Asset Fund program requirements visit: https://www.mainetechnology.org/program/maine-technology-asset-fund-2-0/


  • Monday, August 21, 2017 10:00 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    Maine's first year of a two-year 128th Legislative Session closed in August with a brief government shutdown, dozens of Gubernatorial vetoes, and a slate of energy and environmental bills passed, carried over, or dead!

    The fate of solar "net energy billing" was decided amongst a cluster of constitutional, political, and parliamentary maneuvers. Mining regulations survived after years of dueling advocacy campaigns thrust the issue to the top of environmental and business legislative agendas. Small wins for recycling, clean water, and renewable portfolio standards occurred alongside defeats of bills pertaining to on- and offshore wind projects, building code standards, and plastic bag moratoriums. Biomass, microgrids, large-scale hydro, and arsenic testing live to fight another day in the 2nd half of the legislative session in 2018. 

    The following list highlights the status of a representative list of energy and environmental bills. For more information about bills' status, contact Jeff Marks at jeffmarks@e2tech.org.

    Bills that passed:

    • LD56 "An Act to Include Milliliter and Smaller Liquor Bottles in the Laws Governing Returnable Containers"
    • LD 454 "An Act to Ensure Safe Drinking Water for Maine Families"
    • LD 803 "An Act to Improve Transparency in the Electricity Supply Market"
    • LD 820 "An Act to Protect Maine's Clean Water and Taxpayers from Mining Pollution"
    • LD 1061 "An Act to Increase Investment and Regulatory Stability in the Electric Industry"
    • LD 1151 "An Act to Allow Promotional Allowances by Public Utilities"
    • LD 1313 "An Act to Establish Energy Policy In Maine"
    Bills that died:
    • LD 57 "An Act to Phase Out the Use of Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags" (veto not overridden)
    • LD 529 "An Act to Ensure Resiliency of the Maine Electrical Grid" (veto not overridden)
    • LD 901 "An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Determination of a Wind Energy Development's Effect on the Scenic Character of Maine's Special Places (veto not overridden)
    • LD 1062 "An Act to Expand the Availability of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Maine" (veto not overridden)
    • LD 1262 "An Act to Protect Monhegan Island by Limiting Wind Turbines (unanimous "Ought Not to Pass" report from the Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology)
    • LD 1392 "An Act to Allow Municipalities to Opt Not to Enforce the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code" ("Ought Not to Pass" report was accepted in both the House and Senate)
    • LD 1504 "An Act to Modernize Rates for Small-Scale Distributed Generation" (veto not overridden)
    • LD 1513 "An Act to Provide for Affordable Long-Term Energy Prices in Maine" (unanimous "Ought Not to Pass" report from the Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology)
    Bills to be carried over to the next session:
    • LD 40 "An Act to Strengthen Requirements for Water Testing in Schools"
    • LD 131 "An Act to Protect the Biomass Industry"
    • LD 257 "An Act to Enable Municipalities Working with Utilities to Establish Microgrids"
    • LD 260 "An Act to Create the Maine Energy Office"
    • LD 532 "An Act to Remove the 100-Megawatt Limit on Hydroelectric Generators Under the Renewable Resources Law"
    • LD 656 "An Act to Improve the Ability of Maine Companies to Manufacture and Market Bioplastics
    • LD 1224 "An Act to Allow for Greater Energy Competition in Maine by Amending the Law Governing Electric Generation or Generation-Related Assets by Affiliates"
    • LD 1373 "An Act to Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine"
    • LD 1444 "An Act Regarding Large-Scale Community Solar Procurement"
    • LD 1515 "An Act to Reduce Electric Rates for Maine Businesses by Amending the Laws Governing Spending from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Trust Fund"
    • LD 1632 "An Act to Establish the Manufacturing Jobs Energy Program"
    The 2nd half of the 128th Legislative Session begins in January 2018.

  • Monday, August 21, 2017 9:30 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    Two leaked Federal reports on energy and climate change are generating lively discussions on how the Trump Administration and Congress may tackle these issues in future legislative and executive actions.

    "It is extremely likely [95-100%] that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century" is the conclusion of a nearly 700-page draft Climate Science Special Report.

    And according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Electric Power System, Markets, and Reliability Study, low natural gas prices, higher maintenance costs for aging infrastructure, and reduced electrical demand are the primary causes for coal and nuclear plant retirements, and not the proliferation of new renewable energy generation across the country.

    The U.S. Global Change Research Program's Climate Science Special Report is part of the fourth congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment. A report draft was made available earlier in 2017 for public comment but did not reach most American households until The New York Times reported about it earlier this month. The purpose of the Climate Science Special Report is to document "the state of science relating to climate change and its physical impacts" and does not assess the literature for climate change mitigation, adaptation, economic valuation, societal responses, or policy recommendations. A White House committee of political appointees from thirteen agencies must approve the report in order for the final reports to be released this fall, however, this committee was disbanded on Sunday, August 20. 

    The report discusses the physical drivers of climate change detection and attribution of climate change, climate variability and large-scale circulation, temperature and precipitation changes in the United States, changes in land and sea cover, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and compound extremes and tipping elements. Some of the more concerning findings of the report include: 

    Temperature

    • 16 of the last 17 years are the warmest years on record globally, with 2016 being the hottest year on record.
    • The global annual average temperature from 1901-2016 has increased by 1.8°F/1.0°C. [Very High Confidence]
    • The average annual temperature over the continuous United States is projected to rise about 2.5°F/1.4°C in the next few decades (relative to the average temperature from 1976-2005) in all emission scenario models. [High Confidence]
    • Extreme temperatures are projected to increase even more than average temperatures, and the number of days below freezing is projected to decline while the number of days above 90°F will increase. [Very High Confidence]
    Precipitation & Storm Events
    • Since 1980, the cost for extreme weather events in the United States has surpassed $1.1 trillion.
    • Heavy precipitation events in most of the United States have increased in intensity and frequency since 1901, with the largest increases occurring in the Northeast. [High Confidence]
    • Extreme snowfall years in parts of the northern United States have increased, with winter storm tracks shifting northward since 1950. [Medium Confidence]
    • The Northeast has experienced a 92% increase in the number of 2-day precipitation events that exceed the 5-year recurrence interval from 1958-2016.
    Oceans
    • Oceans have absorbed about 93% of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases since the mid-20th century, causing waters to be warmer and altering global and regional climate feedback loops.
    • Oceans are currently absorbing more than 1/4 of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually from human activities.
    • The oceans are becoming more acidic, with higher latitude systems exhibiting seasonal corrosive conditions sooner than low-latitude systems (higher-latitude systems typically have a lower buffering capacity against changing acidity). [Very High Confidence]
    • The rate of acidification is unparalleled in at least the past 66 million years. [Medium Confidence]
    • In the Gulf of Maine, acidification is regionally greater than the global average as a result of changes in freshwater input. [Medium Confidence]
    • Global mean sea level has risen about 7-8 inches since 1900, with about 3 of those inches occurring since 1993. [Very High Confidence]
    • Nuisance floods (tidal floods) have increased 5- to 10-fold since the 1960s in several U.S. coastal cities and will continue increasing in depth, frequency, and extent before 2100. [Very High Confidence]
    • Sea level rise will increase the frequency and extent of extreme flooding due to coastal storms (e.g. hurricanes and nor'easters). [Very High Confidence]
    Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Global mean atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is over 400 ppm, a level last present over 3 million years ago and combined with significantly higher average global temperature and sea level. [High Confidence]
    "Humanity is conducting an unprecedented experiment with the Earth's climate system through emissions from large-scale fossil fuel combustion, widespread deforestation, and other changes to the atmosphere and landscape" and as with any futuristic modeling, predictions, and scenarios, there are factors and elements that cannot be accurately accounted. The more Earth's climate system is changed, the greater the risk of surprises. There are two types of surprises: critical threshold, where some threshold is crossed within the climate system that results in a large impact, and compound events, where multiple extreme climate events occur either simultaneously or sequentially to create a greater overall impact. Either or both types of surprises could occur within the Earth's climate system in the future, creating unanticipated and difficult or impossible to manage changes.

    Confidence Level Ranking

    Very High: Strong evidence (established theory, multiple sources, consistent results, well documented and accepted methods, etc.), high consensus

    High: Moderate evidence (several sources, some consistency, methods vary and/or documentation limited, etc.), medium consensus

    Medium: Suggestive evidence (a few sources, limited consistency, models incomplete, methods emerging, etc.), competing schools of thought

    Low: Inconclusive evidence (limited sources, extrapolations, inconsistent findings, poor documentation and/or methods not tested, etc.), disagreement or lack of opinions among experts


    The Electric Power System, Markets and Reliability Study was developed by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability per the memorandum issued by Secretary Rick Perry on April 14, 2017. The original study deadline was mid-June, with a DOE spokesperson stating the study draft would be submitted to Secretary Perry in early July with no new release date mentioned. The memo asked the DOE Chief of Staff to focus on three issues: 
    1. The evolution of wholesale electricity markets, including the extent to which federal policy interventions and the changing nature of the electricity fuel mix are challenging the original policy assumptions that shaped the creation of those markets;
    2. Whether wholesale energy and capacity markets are adequately compensating attributes such as on-site fuel supply and other factors that strengthen grid resilience and, if not, the extent to which this could affect grid reliability and resilience in the future; and
    3. The extent to which continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.
    The leaked draft report assessed previous literature on the subject matter and also conducted original research. While some sections of the report were removed or unfinished, the sections that remained confirmed what most in the energy industry already knew. Some key report findings include:
    • Due to advances to the grid, baseload plants are not as necessary for grid reliability and resiliency.
    • Low natural gas prices, higher maintenance costs for aging infrastructure, and reduced electrical demand are the primary causes for coal and nuclear plant retirements.
    • The grid is operating reliably and has not been impacted by baseload plants retiring since more efficient and cheaper natural gas and renewable energy sources are coming online.
    • Energy diversity from renewable energy sources can improve grid reliability and lower electricity costs for customers.
    • Power plant retirements are driven by regional factors, with more retirements concentrated in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic.
    These reports, which effectively remove doubt regarding the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as concerns regarding renewable energy in the electricity grid, will still need to undergo internal political review and polishing. It is vitally important that scientific reports be objective and clear of political influence in order to provide the most accurate data to base future regulatory decisions. These reports provide that opportunity and hopefully remain as this essential source of information unaffected by political agendas.
  • Monday, August 21, 2017 9:15 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)

                     

    Each year, E2Tech gathers thousands of Maine's business movers and shakers, educators, policy makers, and funders together with entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups for information on sharing and networking. We regularly connect environmental and energy innovators with funders, customers, suppliers, mentors, and partners using our diverse and wide network of members and partner organizations.

    Our experience has shown that personal connections, introductions, and references are the most effective way to help entrepreneurs. Without a 'connector' they are isolated in their own silos - geographically and by business sector. They often lack knowledge of potential resources available to grow their business. This connector is crucial for our state.

    Recently, E2Tech contracted with Lewis "Lew" Hinman, a seasoned executive with expertise in complex business environments in industrial, commercial, environmental, and aerospace markets. His work at United Technologies and Pratt & Whitney gives him deep knowledge in strategic business development, technology development, and collaborative business structures with early-stage enterprises, OEMs, and service providers, as well as acquisitions, due diligence, and integration execution. He has broad international experience in Europe, Asia/Pacific, India, and South Africa.

    Cindy Talbot with CJTalbot Services is another startup resource at E2Tech. She has been working with Maine companies to prepare federal and state grant applications for funding to support research, development, and demonstration projects. Cindy has provided support to companies seeking U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and National Science Foundation grants through SBIR/STTR or Broad Agency Announcements resulting in $1.1M in awards.

                       

    To learn more about Lew & Cindy, and how they might be able to help your
    companies, please contact Jeff Marks at jeffmarks@e2tech.org.


  • Monday, August 21, 2017 9:00 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of more than 5,700 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants, and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. As a 100 percent employee-owned firm, each professional brings an ownership mentality to clients' projects. Employees plan, design, permit, construct, and manage facilities all over the world.

    Throughout the past year, Burns & McDonnell has expanded their operations in six Northeastern states: Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. The firm first opened its doors in the Northeast in 2007 and has since grown 700 percent in the region. 

    "Our clients and communities are facing complex infrastructure challenges, creating a great need for quick, all-encompassing engineering, architecture, and construction solutions," says Earle Cianchette, Burns & McDonnell Portland, Maine, Office Manager. "We're focused on immersing ourselves within our communities and continuing to grow our team so we can bring even more sustainable solutions to the table."

    Backed by an international team of more than 5,700, the Northeastern offices work together to design and build the infrastructure that powers the region, military installations, commercial, aviation, and industrial facilities. The offices have successfully managed approximately $13 billion in projects with investor-owned utility, commercial aviation, manufacturing, and municipal clients. Known as a center for excellence in program management, the Burns & McDonnell project approach is all about alleviating complex issues for clients.

    "From concept to completion, we partner with our clients to develop innovative solutions for their specific needs and they reap the benefits of a quick, more seamless approach," says Cianchette. "Our employee-owners supporting Maine and the rest of the Northeast have diverse skill sets and experience, and a strong commitment to clients - elements that make our projects a success."

    Burns & McDonnell is recognized by Engineering News-Record as the No. 1 Firm in Power and ranks among the top five percent of contractors nationwide for safety.

    As the firm grows, its dedication to being a Best Place to Work remains constant. Burns & McDonnell currently ranks No. 16 among Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For and has been recognized by nearly 30 publications as a best place to work across the country. 

    Burns & McDonnell joined E2Tech as a Sustaining Champion in February 2017.

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