October 12, 2010 - New England sets record energy use; wind

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


What do you think sits at the end of this rainbow, seen Friday over the New Meadows River?

New England's regional electric grid operator ISO-NE has announced that the region has set several new records for energy consumption. In July 2010, consumers used 13,385 gigawatt-hours. That just barely beat the previous single-month energy usage of 13,365 GWh, which occurred in July 2006. To explain this high energy usage despite the economic downturn ISO-NE points to the weather: July 2010 was the second-hottest July in New England since 1960. New England also set new heights for peak demand (capacity measured in gigawatts, not energy measured in gigawatt-hours) in May and September 2010.

In wind news: this weekend, while Highland Wind LLC held an open house to promote its wind project in Highland Plantation in Somerset County, Maine, the Friends of the Highland Mountains and other protesters demonstrated their opposition. As originally conceived, the Highland project - backed by former independent Maine Governor Angus King - would entail 48 turbines along the ridgelines of Stewart, Witham and Bald Mountains, plus Briggs and Burnt Hills. The land in question is owned by Bayroot LLC, and has been managed by Wagner Forest Management. Among the protesters' complaints is the proximity of the project to the Bigelow Mountains and the Appalachian Trail.

Google has already made the news for its involvement in energy markets. Now Google is investing in the underwater transmission lines needed to transmit power from offshore wind turbines to the mainland. Specifically, Google is eyeing a 350-mile line from Virginia to New Jersey.

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