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  • 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.

  • Monday, August 21, 2017 8:45 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    The Governor's Energy Office (Maine GEO) and E2Tech are developing a new Maine Energy Roadmap through a Department of Energy State Energy Program grant. The objectives include achieving energy and cost savings in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors; reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; supporting the growth of a robust state and regional energy market and workforce; and facilitating stakeholder and inter-agency discussions. There are three phases of the Roadmap: Phase I - Baseline Development, Phase II - Expert Task Force Meetings,  and Phase III - Action/Implementation Plan.

    In the next few months, the GEO and E2Tech will be hosting forums, task force meetings, workshops, and stakeholder meetings all over the state, and we value your participation.

    Upcoming Events (for more information, visit our events page):

    E2Tech Forum: Regional & State Energy Policy
    Thursday, September 7
    8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    USM, Portland

    Public Input Stakeholder Meeting
    Friday, October 13
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    UMPI, Presque Isle

    E2Tech Forum: Maine's Heating & Transportation Oil Dependence
    Thursday, October 19
    8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Maple Hill Farm, Hallowell

    Public Input Stakeholder Meeting
    Friday, October 20
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Bangor/Orono (TBD)

    Public Input Stakeholder Meeting
    Friday, October 27
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    USM, Portland

    E2Tech Expo 2017
    Thursday, November 16
    8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    USM, Portland


    For more information and to get involved, please contact E2Tech's Executive Director,
    Jeff Marks, at jeffmarks@e2tech.org or (207) 956-1970.

  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:58 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    “For those concerned, don’t panic! For those excited, don’t get too euphoric.”

    These were the words spoken by Washington, DC lobbyist and Republican insider Darrell Henry at the November 2016 E2Tech Expo, less than two weeks after a historic national election that catapulted real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump into the role of Leader of the Free World.

    We are approaching the halfway point of President Trump’s first year in office.  Where are we now?

    Henry, a partner at a Capitol Hill lobby shop, was making the point that global market forces will continue to drive energy and environmental activities, and any changes to environmental and energy policy will be gradual and measured. In other words, “there will be no return to ‘Drill, baby, drill,’ a reference to a 2008 Republican campaign slogan popularized by then Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. Here are some of the main energy and environmental changes made by the current administration in its first 180 days:

    Executive Orders:

    President Trump has issued six energy and environmental Executive Orders addressing agency regulations, expediting environmental reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects, offshore energy, national monument designations, energy independence and economic growth, and reviewing the "Waters of the United States." He has also issued two Presidential Memoranda on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

    Climate Change:

    The United States became one of only three countries to not participate in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Green Climate Fund and Global Climate Change Initiative programs are both facing elimination in the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development FY 2018 presidential budget.



    The Trump Budget:

    President Trump announced his fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, with all agencies except the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Veteran Affairs experiencing funding cuts.
    • Proposed Department of Energy (DOE) program eliminations include the Office of Weatherization & Intergovernmental Programs, the U.S. State Energy Program (which is currently funding the development of Maine’s Energy Roadmap through the Governor’s Energy Office and E2Tech), and the Weatherization Assistance Program.  

    • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helped heat 37,192 households in Maine in 2015, is facing elimination within the Department of Health and Human Services. 

    • The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed budget includes defunding multiple federal grant programs, including Beaches Protection, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Underground Storage Tanks, Water Quality Research and Support Grants, and Pollution Prevention, along with the Beach/Fish Programs, the Endocrine Disruptors Program, the Environmental Education Program, the Environmental Justice Program, the Marine Pollution Program, the National Estuary Program/Coastal Waterways, the Pollution Prevention Program, the RCRA: Waste Minimization & Recycling Program, the Science Policy and Biotechnology Program, and the Lead Risk Reduction Program.  Multiple projects within the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (Energy Star, Combined Heat & Power Partnership, Responsible Appliance Disposal Program, etc.) are facing elimination, along with the Global Change Research program, and the Surface Water Protection program.  The Brownfields grant program has a proposed 30% decrease in funding which is currently funding the redevelopment of several Maine industrial and paper mill sites. 

    • The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration is facing, among others, the elimination of the Coastal Zone Management Grants Program, the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Grants, the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, the National Sea Grant College Program, the Marine Aquaculture Program, and the Office of Education.  These NOAA programs provide federal funding for Maine departments, projects, programs, and industries.

    • Within the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed program cuts for every division except Energy and Minerals Management, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has proposed cuts to regulations, while the U.S. Geological Survey receives an overall 13% cut, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receives an overall 5% cut, and the National Park Service receives an overall 5% cut, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has a proposed 45% increase and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has a proposed 5% increase.  These budget changes reflect the administration’s goals to increase resource extraction on public lands and offshore energy production to become “energy-dominant”.
    Energy Week? 

    The Trump Administration highlighted their energy-dominance plan during June 26-30 "Energy Week." Plans include increasing fossil fuel production through pipelines and harvesting on public lands to become a net exporter in fossil fuels, creating electricity with "clean" coal, increasing nuclear power, reducing energy regulations, and creating an "all of the above" energy portfolio. Read the full Energy Week message from Secretary Perry, Secretary Zinke, and Administrator Pruitt here.

    Trump's Major Energy & Environmental Appointees

     Department  Director  President's Budget
     Environmental Protection Agency
     Confirmed: Scott Pruit   -31%
     Department of Energy  Confirmed: Rick Perry  -6%
     Department of Interior  Confirmed: Ryan Zinke  -12%
     Department of Commerce  Confirmed: Wilbur Ross  -16%
     Department of Agriculture  Confirmed: George Perdue  -21%
     National Aeronautics & Space Administration  Acting: Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr.  -0.8%
     National Science Foundation  France Cordova (on year 3 of 6 year appointment)  -11%

    Executive Orders:

    Memorandums:
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:37 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    The 2017 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index - a data-based comparison of all 50 states among 80 technology, capital, and policy indicators - finds that Maine improved its overall ranking from 18th to 16th since 2016, and surged ahead 13 places since 2014. Data is included on clean electricity and transportation; energy intelligence and green buildings, government regulations, mandates, and incentives; and financial, human, and intellectual capital. Findings for Maine across indicators show the following: 

    • Overall: In 2016, Maine was ranked 18th; in 2017, Maine is ranked 16th (improved 2 spots).
    • Technology: In 2016, Maine was ranked 9th; in 2017, Maine is still ranked 9th (no change).
    • Policy: In 2016, Maine was ranked 19th; in 2017, Maine is ranked 20th (declined 1 spot).
    • Capital: In 2016, Maine was ranked 25th; in 2017, Maine is ranked 18th (improved 7 spots).

    According to the Index, in the technology category, “Arizona, Maine, and Massachusetts started from the middle of the pack and have steadily evolved into category leaders over the last eight years…” Maine also shows great improvement in the capital category this year. The full report can be downloaded here.

    According to E2Tech Executive Director Jeff Marks, “Maine has tremendous assets in its renewable resources. Over half of Maine's net electricity generation comes from wind, hydro, and biomass. Land-based wind turbines are providing power throughout New England and nearly 150 gigawatts of offshore wind potential exist off our coast, enough to power the State 70 times over. Maine is a global leader in tidal energy and is densely forested with 90% of its land covered with trees and a ready export market for woody biomass. States like Maine are making incremental cleantech progress through local development of energy resources and technologies, while also creating expertise and services that are exportable on a global scale.”

    Marks credited leading Maine businesses and technologies, like Ocean Renewable Power Company’s tidal and river energy systems, Pika Energy’s clean power electronics, Rapport’s sustainability software, and Surge Hydro’s innovative dam facilities for enabling the growth of the sector but cautioned that “Maine must retain its leadership position through continued policy support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental initiatives, even in the face of political and policy headwinds from Washington DC. Certainty in the policy framework, as well as smart business and economic development planning, helps steer private investment to innovation in the cleantech sector. But, for now, we’re thrilled that our progress in the cleantech sector is once again being recognized on a national scale!”


  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:35 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    The U.S. Department of Commerce has been working to expand opportunities with the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission to Canada that takes place from October 30 - November 2, 2017.

    The mission is designed for U.S. companies who are active in the Canadian market with a focus on increasing operations, and new companies ready to launch their business interests. The mission will include market briefings, one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, industry leaders, and joint venture partners; meetings with national, provincial, regional and municipal governments; and networking events. Participating in an official U.S. industry delegation, rather than traveling on their own, will enhance attending companies' ability to identify opportunities and act on available opportunities in Canada.

    As Canada plans to boost its installed generating capacity by 35GW to 170GW by 2035, strong opportunities are developing for U.S. exporters - aided policies promoting adoption of better energy management in commercial and residential buildings. 

    Developing opportunities include: 

    • Solar, wind, and hydro power generation
    • Grid modernization and smart grid deployment
    • Storage solutions for utility-scale and distributed energy
    Applications for U.S. business participants are being accepted through July 28, 2017. All U.S. Companies are encouraged to apply, as there are no obligations (financial or otherwise) for applying. CLICK HERE to apply.

    For more information, visit the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission to Canada page.

    For any questions, please contact Ethel Glen, Ethel.Glen@trade.gov
    or Michael Marangell, Michael.Marangell@trade.gov
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:26 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    Funding Opportunities Coming Soon
    : A $50 million Research & Development bond issue passed the statewide referendum on June 13 with 62% support. Of that $50 million, $45 million will go into the Maine Technology Institute managed Maine Technology Asset Fund, while $5 million will go to the Maine Venture Fund. The funds are to be used for infrastructure, equipment, and technology upgrades that enable organizations to gain and hold market share, to increase revenues, and to expand employment or preserve jobs for Maine people. Maine currently spends only about 1 percent of its total Gross Domestic Product on R&D, which ranks the State 37th nationally.

    Project Update: The Governor's Energy Office and E2Tech want to engage with you to develop an Energy Planning Roadmap that advances the state of Maine's energy, economic development, and environmental goals. In the next few months, E2Tech will be hosting forums, taskforce, workshop, and stakeholder meetings all over the state. For more information and to get involved, please contact E2Tech's Executive Director, Jeff Marks, at jeffmarks@e2tech.org or (207) 956-1970.

    Networking: E2Tech had its Summer Networking Reception at the Verrill Dana Courtyard on June 28. Participants enjoyed delicious food and drinks, live music, and connecting with Maine businesses, government, and non-profit leaders. E2Tech, the Maine International Trade Center, and the University of Maine had the pleasure of welcoming prominent African leaders to Maine through the Mandela Washington Fellowship program. We would like to thank Verrill Dana for hosting this wonderful reception.

    Look for a review of the 128th Legislative Session's first year in our August newsletter!

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