Monhegan Energy Task Force Meeting Minutes – May 4, 2016

Monhegan Energy Task Force Meeting

Meeting Minutes

May 4, 2016

Present: Travis Dow, Angela Iannicelli, Jim Balano, Matt Weber, Ben Algeo, Mary Weber, Chris Smith, Tara Hire, Jackie Boegel, Billy Boynton, Norma Kaplis, Stew Way, Melanie Greatorex, Mott Feibusch, Barbara Hitchcock, Kathie Iannicelli, Marian Chioffi.  Via zoom: Glenn Burdick, Bob Smith, Penny Smith, Laura Singer

Review Laura’s report – METF had no questions on the Community View Report by Laura.

Answers we’ve received – Jake Ward sent answers to some of the questions posed in survey #2 and at the April community meeting.  Tara and Marian have both spoken to Jake to ask for more thorough and informative answers to some of the questions.  Tara sited the bird study data and Jake has provided more information on bird migration studies and is looking for more references to better answer the question.  Billy Boynton pointed out that more depth would be more helpful.

Marian spoke with Jerry Crouter at Drummond/Woodsum out of Portland . A key question has been what rights would Monhegan be giving up by signing any kind of community benefit with MAV.  Jerry said the benefit agreement would stipulate what, if any, future rights Monhegan would waive by signing.

Glenn asked if Jerry cold tell us what would the option be for Monhegan if the community decides neither cable nor money and just says “no” to the project? What legal recourse does Monhegan have against the impacts?  Marian will ask Jerry these questions.

Glenn also noted that Jake’s answer to how the $200k figure came about was interesting since it differs from his recollection.  Glenn, and others in the room, believe that number came about by dividing the stated cost of the cable (stated at a previous community meeting with MAV) $4m divided by the 20 year life of the project.  Glenn asked that we look back through the records to see that number is what is on the table and not the formula that Jake refers to in his recent response.  He also noted that the imputed rate would be $350k (base on a 4% return)

When asked if Monhegan could stop this project, Jerry said no – this test site is legislated to UMaine.  The legislation would need to be changed in the legislature.

Jerry also said that MAV cannot lay cable on Monhegan via eminent domain.

When asked how unforeseen impacts may be compensated if all funds were already used, Jerry suggested Monhegan might want to negotiate for a fund that would cover unforeseen impacts. For example, the community benefit amount is X plus another amount Y put aside for unforeseen impacts.

Travis asked what information we have missed because the MOU was never signed? Marian clarified that the MOU with MAV is not signed, but the MAV has followed the agreed upon communication guidelines.  All the dates established in the MOU have passed so it is moot.

Discussion turned to the report MAV recently submitted to the DOE and if METF could ask for a copy.  Marian suggested that it is a 1000 page report and probably has a lot of proprietary information.  It is not likely we would get the full report.  Marian will ask Jake about getting a copy.

Marian noted that Governor Christie has vetoed the New Jersey wind project again.

Kathie asked if there was any time when Monhegan, in any official capacity, gave a nod of approval to support the project? Did any representative sign anything prior to the legislation being signed designating Monhegan?  No.  MAV did have a meeting on the island prior to 2009, but the belief was that the project was small turbines and platforms to be in the site only in the summer months; the legislation spelled out a much larger project.  When residents found out what legislation had been passed, they did respond with comments – to METF and to the MPUC.

METF was formed as a response to MAV’s filing with the PUC in September of 2013.  METF filed an official response to MAV’s filing and asked members of the community to send individual statements.  As directed by both Monhegan’s Board of Assessors and the Board of Trustees of the Power Company, METF’s mission is to keep open lines of communication with MAV so that the Monhegan Community can stay informed about the project.  Jim stated that MAV wants our good will and so they have continued to engage in conversations with us although not legally required to do so.

METF asked MAV to bring experts to Monhegan throughout the summer of 2014.  A different expert came every 2 weeks (birds, for example).  These meetings were not well attended.  Marian talked to Jake about bringing those experts back for the community meeting we are planning for June.  Barbara suggested that we resend the links to the studies before the meeting so that people had time to review them.  Possible dates are June 20-1 and June 23-4.  Marian will ask Jake to line up the experts for one of those options.  We should post the meeting – a save the date – as soon as we know from Jake which date works best.  Besides posting on island we should put it on Facebook and our website.  Someone suggested that we invite Jerry and our legislators to come and speak with us.  Jim thought maybe we could get an engineer to explain how this all works – basically an explanation of electricity.  Chris thought Andy Perkins (a retired engineer) might be able to answer some of our questions.

After the community meeting in June another survey should go out with the following questions (rough wording):

  • Are you in favor or not in favor of the MAV project?
  • If the project moves forward, do you want
    • Cable
    • Annual payment
    • Nothing at all
    • To fight it

Norma suggested that if MAV is being reviewed by the DOE, we should go to the DOE because the original project that was presented to Monhegan is not what is happening now.  She stated that we need to question if the science justifies the project.  She believes we should call to question the science. She believes that raising a question at the funding source will slow things down for MAV.  She stated that Monhegan should ask that the whole thing be reviewed from the beginning.

Travis stated that no matter what happens he believes that we, as a community, should look at the legislation.  There are no height restrictions in it.  He stated that as it is written now there is no way for the community to protect itself.

Marian gave a brief summary of the Energy Plan that she and the Planning Committee [Marian Chioffi, Winnie Murdock, Jim Balano, Jack Partridge, Ben Algeo] have been working on.  The energy plan brings together fact sheets about the possible options for renewable energy that have been discussed on the island.  The facts sheets give pros, cons risks and actions for each renewable energy source.  She and Ben explained that NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab) which is a department of the DOE has offered to help with some of the technical calculations needed to move the plan forward.  They are offering the same help to Isle au Haut.  Their take away from this will be to implement the lessons they learn from this process in other small communities.  Laura has put a link on our website so people can look at this draft plan.

Next meeting is Tuesday, May 24th at 5:30pm at the Library.

Notes taken by Laura Singer and Marian Chioffi