AUGUSTA – The Governor's Energy Office has hired Kleinschmidt Associates to update the state's inventory of existing and potential hydropower resources.
"We received some very strong proposals from firms in Maine and New England, and we are very pleased Kleinschmidt was chosen by our review team to conduct the study," stated Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock. "Their collective experience in all aspects of the hydropower industry in Maine will provide the state with unparalleled expertise on Maine hydropower and hydrokinetic data, policy and regulations. And, they are partnering with Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), experts in marine hydrokinetic technology, and TRC, with decades of experience in hydropower regulatory and policy issues. We couldn't ask for a better combination of knowledge and experience for the study. We are excited for them to get started."
The Kleinschmidt team is equally enthusiastic. “Our firm was founded here in Maine nearly 50 years ago,” stated Gary Liimatainen, Senior Vice President, “and throughout that time, hydropower has been a core element of our business. We are therefore very excited by this opportunity to assist the Governor’s Energy Office in this important investigation. Along with our partners at TRC and ORPC, we bring extensive in-state and national experience that should allow us to evaluate the potential for bringing more Maine hydroelectric power online.” ORPC President Chris Sauer agrees. "ORPC, through its services subsidiary, ORPC Solutions, is excited to work with the Governor’s Energy Office and the project team to evaluate the state’s untapped conventional and hydrokinetic resources.”
The state has not assessed its hydropower resources since the early 1990s, when the vision was still to construct significant new hydro dams. Since that time, new technologies have been developed that could open up new opportunities for additional hydropower production, using unconventional resources. The inventory will identify potential sites for small and micro facilities, untapped potential at existing hydropower sites, and hydrokinetic resources (energy produced from river flows, waves, tides, and currents). The initial assessment will undergo further analysis to identify the most feasible sites for development. Input from stakeholders will be sought as part of this process.
The Kleinschmidt team will also evaluate the existing regulatory environment, identify current obstacles to new investment, and provide recommendations to encourage further development. The study will be included as part of the state's Comprehensive Energy Plan update, due to be released in January.
"We are entering a new era of hydropower generation, one in which smaller, distributed projects, from unconventional resources, could play a significant role," said Woodcock. "It is time to see if we can expand our hydropower resources with new technology, in a way that works for our environment as well as our economy."