Maine IGCC plant voted down!!!

November 7th, 2007

Another proposed IGCC plant down in flames. The Wiscasset Maine voters said a loud NO!!! to “Question 2” that would have given the coal gasification a variance for a higher stack. There were three other issues on the ballot that would have helped the plant, and those were voted down too. How many IGCC plants are down the toilet now?

Here are two stories, this first one from the Boston Globe:

Wiscasset voters close door on $1.5 billion coal gasification

November 6, 2007

WISCASSET, Maine –Wiscasset voters have rejected ballot questions necessary for a $1.5 billion coal gasification plant on the site of the former Maine Yankee plant.

Town Clerk Sandra Johnson says the pivotal vote was 868-707 against Question 2, which would have allowed the Twin River Energy Center to exceed the zone’s height limit.

Twin River isn’t throwing in the towel, however. A spokesman says further studies are warranted because the vote was so close.

Supporters say the proposed Twin River Energy Center would use gasification technology to transform coal and wood biomass into up to 700 megawatts of electricity and up to 9,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel.


This one from the Portland Press Herald:

Wiscasset turns down energy project
Election 2007: The developer of the proposed plant calls the vote
‘close’ and plans to soldier on.



And another, from the Times Record News:


Energy Plant Zoning Rejected




WISCASSET — The canary in Twin River Energy’s coal mine stopped chirping Tuesday night, but rumors of its demise might be premature, developers say.

Almost half the registered voters here went to the polls Tuesday to defeat zoning ordinance changes that would have paved the way for construction of Twin River’s proposed coal gasification plant on land formerly owned by Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant. Despite that rebuke by residents of the town that would be home to the plant, Twin River Energy officials say they haven’t given up completely.

The vote on Question 2, which changed the limits on building heights, was defeated by a 161-vote margin — 707 “yes” votes to 868 “no” votes.

The vote represents a victory for the opponents of the proposed plant, which included the Conservation Law Foundation, the Back River Alliance, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Lower Kennebec River Land Trust and state Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay, who has submitted a bill that would prevent construction of any new coal power plant that does not capture 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions.

Woolwich resident Willy Ritch, spokesman for the Back River Alliance, said Tuesday night that his group worked hard to defeat the proposal because it wasn’t right for the area.

“This proposal is wrong for Wiscasset, wrong for the Mid-coast and it’s wrong for Maine,” he said. “It has become clear over the past few months that there is a tremendous amount of opposition to this proposal, not just in this area but all over the state.”

Steve Hinchman, of the Conservation Law Foundation, said the key issue for his group was the lack of regulations and the threat to Maine’s attempt to control its carbon dioxide emissions, which experts believe contribute to global climate change.

“Until we require developers to control their carbon dioxide emissions, we will continue to see ill-conceived projects like Twin River,” Hinchman said. “Our future is with energy efficiency and renewable energy sources like wind, not coal.”

Opposition to the plant coalesced quickly after the proposal was dropped in the laps of selectmen in July. Issues raised by opponents included anticipated traffic problems caused by the daily delivery of 7,000 tons of coal — by barge and/or rail — and the increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite the defeat, Scott Houldin, project director of Twin River Energy Center, said his group was not totally giving up its efforts.

“Considering how close the vote was,” Houldin said in a prepared statement, “it is obvious that Wiscasset residents want the economic development opportunity, but need to learn more about the details before giving the green light.”

To achieve that, Houldin said he would commission “several important studies” focusing on final determination of water sources and details of barge or rail transportation.

Hinchman didn’t see the need for further studies.

“This wasn’t a matter of the residents not knowing enough,” he said this morning. “It’s a matter of credibility. We saw through this from the start. Given the recent 10th cancellation of a similar plant in Colorado, it’s obvious the economics don’t match up.”

The zoning ordinances on the ballot would have allowed an extension of the building height limit on the specific site of the proposed plant, but the permitting process itself would have taken two years, according to Houldin.

The proposed plant would have brought more than 200 high-paying jobs to the area and contributed up to 80 percent of the town’s property tax, according to Houldin. But opponents contended those benefits would have come at too high a price.


One Response to “Maine IGCC plant voted down!!!”

  1. Harry Jaeger Says:

    If the Twin Rivers project will co-gasify 10% biomass, and the appropriate credit is taken for the CO2 absorption via photo synthesis during the growing of the biomass, the IGCC plant can be shown to have the same net GHG footprint as a combined cycle plant burning imported LNG – which will be the default fuel as more and more coal plants are canceled.

    If the plan already includes biomass co-gasification, then the developers should be making this part of their carbon management plan more clear.

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